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Narrator: Michael Wex

Author of Born to Kvetch, bon vivant and raconteur, Michael Wex has been called “a Yiddish national treasure;” Born to Kvetch, the bestselling book ever written about Yiddish, was hailed by The New York Times as “wise, witty and altogether wonderful.” His other books, among them Just Say Nu and How To Be A Mentsh (and Not A Shmuck) were described as "great for the Jews" by The Literary Review of Canada. His novel, Shlepping the Exile, originally published in 1993, was reissued by St. Martin's Press earlier this year.


A native of Lethbridge, Alberta, Wex has worked in virtually every area of contemporary Yiddish. Some of his songs have been recorded by such klezmer bands as Sukke, The Flying Bulgars, and the Grammy-winning Klezmatics. He has been a columnist for New York's Jewish Week and a commentator on the Yiddish radio show sponsored by The Forward.


Wex's teaching and lecture activities--a unique combination of learning, stand-up comedy and probing investigation into the nature of Yiddish and Yiddishkayt--have taken him from Toronto to Budapest, and to many points in between. His approach is so unique and appealing that his annual series of classes at Klezkamp (a yearly Yiddish cultural event in upstate New York) has been renamed Wexology--and not at Wex's instigation.


Michael Wex's Yiddish translation has been called “the finest around,” and runs the gamut from Mendele Moykher Sforim’s The Wishing Ring to Sholem Aleykhem Classic Yiddish Stories), Itsik Manger, testimony for projected war crimes trials and countless family documents, letters, and unpublished autobiographies. Wex is also an accomplished translator into Yiddish. He has done the only such translation of The Threepenny Opera authorized by the authors’ estates, and has also translated songs by such artists as Holly Near, Gloria Gaynor, Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, Bob Dylan and scores of others. His uncredited work lies at the heart of Mandy Patinkin’s Mamaloshen CD.