Marie Syrkin

Marie Syrkin

About Marie Syrkin

Marie Syrkin (March 23, 1899 – February 2, 1989) was an American writer, translator, educator, and Zionist activist. Syrkin's first book, Your School, Your Children, published in 1944, was an influential study of the American school system, in which she argued that schools should actively foster democratic values. In her eightieth year, she published a volume of poetry called Gleanings: A Diary in Verse (1979), which brought together the public aspects of her career—her commitment to Israel, her social commentary, and her devotion to literature—with profoundly moving expressions of intimate emotions, private struggles, and personal sorrows.
In 1930, Syrkin married the poet Charles Reznikoff, whom she had first met in 1927. She visited Palestine for the first time in 1933. In this period she also began to publish English translations of Yiddish poetry. In 1934, she was a co-founder and joined the editorial staff of the New York-based Labor Zionist journal Jewish Frontier.
In 1950, at age fifty-one, Marie Syrkin began a new career. She became the first female professor of an academic subject at the newly established Brandeis University, where she was appointed to the English faculty. Here, she developed the first university course in the literature of the Holocaust and in American Jewish fiction. During her sixteen years at Brandeis, Syrkin wrote a memoir of her father and a biography of her close friend Golda Meir, edited an anthology of the writings of Hayim Greenberg, edited the Jewish Frontier, served on the editorial board of Midstream, and was editor of the Herzl Press.

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