Liana Finck’s "A Bintel Brief: Love and Longing in Old New York"

Resource Kit by
Tahneer Oksman

Module Content



Cartoonist Liana Finck’s A Bintel Brief: Love and Longing in Old New York (2014) is a graphic novel about a young woman who finds an old notebook filled with clippings from the Yiddish-language advice column, A Bintel Brief. Translated as “bundle of letters,” this popular feature of the Forverts (also known as The Jewish Daily Forward in English) appeared in the socialist Yiddish newspaper for the first time in 1906, nine years after Abraham Cahan founded the paper. Readers would send letters to the editor asking for advice on everything from love to the challenges of immigration and assimilation. Finck’s graphic novel intersperses a fantastical story about this narrator, who lives in current-day Manhattan and converses with the ghost of Cahan, with eleven letters from the original Bintel Brief, translated from Yiddish to English and from prose to comics.

This resource kit provides original letters to the editor and newspaper clippings, video clips, photographs, and an excerpt from another graphic novel to help students think about the history, context, and structure that frames Finck’s powerful work of visual and verbal translation.