Ben Yakov (Kalmen Zingman). In Edenia, a City of the Future [Translated from Yiddish by Khane-Faygl Turtletaub, with an introduction by Oleksandra Uralova]

Ben Yakov (Kalmen Zingman). In Edenia, a City of the Future

Translated from Yiddish by Khane-Faygl Turtletaub

[The Yiddish Forward]

With an introduction by Oleksandra Uralova

[National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy]

Source: Judaica Ukrainica 6 (2017)

Publication date: December 1, 2017

Publication type: source publication

Language: English

Full text:



In the wake of the 1917 Revolution, Kalmen Zingman (born near Kovno) established the first Yiddish printing press in Kharkiv where he published his utopian technocratic novel In der tsukunft-shtot Edenya (In Edenia, а City of the Future, 1918; under the pen name Ben Yakov). Zingman’s novel argued against Theodor Herzl’s vision of the Jewish future expressed in his utopian novel Altneuland (Leipzig, 1903), particularly against the Herzlian negation of diaspora revivalism and the centrality of Yiddish. On the contrary, argued Zingman, in the distant future (his utopian Edenia is dated around the mid-1940s) Jewish life would be centered in the diaspora cities such as Kharkiv, where Jews would celebrate their participation in communal and technological development, their traditional yet secularized values, and their Yiddish culture. Particularly important for Zingman were the blurred boundaries between the two peoples, Jews and Ukrainians, and their conflict-free coexistence in urban space. This is the first English translation of Zingman’s utopian novel, commissioned by artist and curator Yevgeniy Fiks for the exhibition “In Edenia, a City of the Future”, and first published, with an original introduction, in Judaica Ukrainica.

Keywords: Ben Yakov, Kalmen Zingman, Edenia, Yiddish luterature



Estraikh, Gennadiy. “Utopias and Cities of Kalman Zingman, an Uprooted Yiddishist Dreamer.ˮ East European Jewish Affairs 36, no. 1 (2006): 31–42.



DOI 10.14653/ju.2017.09