Jake Schneider


Essays, Mentions, Interviews

Essays and Guest Columns

The Austrian Riveter: “A Shelving Problem” (Essay about Galician Jewish literature, 2023)

“The disconnect between nations as we imagine them and people, in their messy distribution across the planet, is one reason why, without a more sophisticated and inclusive shelving system, so many important books and authors are left without a home.”

Westopia Festival catalog: “Sprachraum versus Doikayt: Berlin and the Case for Multilingual (Post)national literature” (Essay in English with German translation, 2022)

“We as linguistic minorities need to acknowledge that these challenges will never be easy and that the only way to achieve a world that celebrates all the little worlds inside it, for all their diversity and all their languages, is to keep creating and publishing, no matter what happens, and to stop apologizing for who and where we are. We’re all in the right country.”

Stadtsprachen Magazine: “Head Ropes: A Life in Translation (Essay, 2021)

“The agent from the Vienna office of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company was confirming the details of my great-grandmother Irma’s reservation. To emigrate from the hyphen of the disintegrating Austro-Hungarian Empire to the United States, one-way, for life.”

SAND: “A Journal from Vietnam (Travel journal, 2017)

“The subtitles and competing languages on screen made up a kind of motion-picture Talmud, with Chinese and Korean going down the sides, English and Vietnamese on the bottom, Portuguese interludes, the occasional centered quote, and sometimes languages like Thai and Georgian, even Schwäbisch, thrown in.”

Epitext: “International Berlin’s ‘Language Spaces’ in Conversation and Literature (Essay, 2017)

“Monolingualism is the historical exception, not the rule. Speakers of different languages have always coexisted, often in the same brain, and they haven’t always been sorted into neat national boxes. Although linguistic uniformity does create larger communities of communication, this flatness is always forced.”

News Mentions

Forward: “A Yiddish Weekend in the English Countryside (Article in Yiddish by Osian Evans Sharma about the UK Yiddish Sof-Vokh retreat, 2023)  

“A lecture about ‘Queer Yiddish’ sparked surprise and laughter when the presenter [Jake Schneider] demonstrated that a scene from the well-known film The Dybbuk also has a queer subtext.”

Afn Shvel: “Only the Melody Remained: Scheunenviertel, Berlin’s Jewish Neighborhood” (Article in Yiddish by Sheva Zucker, Winter 2022–23 issue)

Our tour guide Jake Schneider … had warned us that on this tour we would need … to imagine the unseen for ourselves. And indeed with his well-researched narration, with pictures and with music, he brought that neighborhood and that era to life for us.”


Proste Yiddish Podcast: “Shmues & Vayn in Berlin mit Jake Schneider” (Interview in Yiddish, 2023)

“You can do whatever you like [at Shmues un Vayn gatherings]. As I see it, it should be almost exactly the same as if you were going to a bar with friends and speaking your native language, except if you speak Yiddish as a second language, you can try to come twice a month and hang out with us – in Yiddish!” (Yiddish transcript here)

Berliner Tagesspiegel: “No Fear” (Interview in German, 2022)

“As a member of Yiddish.Berlin, I organize a conversation group that meets twice a month. We chat and sing and shoot the breeze in Yiddish. That is one of the many treasures of Jewish culture that people in Germany don’t get a chance to hear or see because so much of the attention centers on antisemitism, the Holocaust, and Israel.”

LOLA: “The Evolution and Philosophy of SAND(Interview, 2020)

Simply by publishing in our native English, we find ourselves heir to a dark legacy of British and US cultural imperialism. Resisting that legacy, we try to use our platform – and our language’s huge audience – to amplify voices that publishers and curators have often erased or marginalized.

Exberliner: “German Lit That’s Not German(Interview, 2019)

“The language barrier makes it harder to integrate into the community of an artform that is still very national. Every country holds up its national poet or playwright, and when you’re publishing in one language and ordering coffee in another, this disconnectedness kind of violates people’s ideas of who literature belongs to.”

Lambda Literary: “Publishing Queer and International Voices in Berlin(Interview, 2018)

“As queer people, unlike religious or ethnic minorities, we generally start out alone and discover we’re part of a community later. Call it our ‘You’re a wizard, Harry’ moment. And that community is very international. Sadly internationalism, like queerness, is viewed with suspicion everywhere. The best cure for suspicion is empathy, and the best source of empathy is literature.”