Accession consists of textual records documenting the literary career and communal involvement of Shirley Kumove. The bulk of the accession includes correspondence, contracts, newspaper clippings and flyers relating to the publishing, marketing and promotion of Kumove’s various books. Also included is working content for Shirley’s unpublished book, Yet More Words, an unannotated manuscript for Kumove’s published book, Drunk From the Bitter Truth, and various book reviews written by Shirley. Of note are rejection letters Shirley received from publishers while trying to publish, Words Like Arrows, as well as correspondence with author Roger Greenwald in which he attached an original short story manuscript entitled, Conversations With Scott.
Accession also includes, ALTA conference material, issues of Paken Trager, and brochures for the National Yiddish Book Centre, the Canadian Jewish Book Awards, and Yiddish Studies at the University of Toronto. Finally accession also includes minutes, flyers, and planning material for the Habonim Reunion Organizing Committee (1983). Of note is a document containing personal memories of Habonim activities and its history (author unknown).
Joel is the son of Shirley Kumove. He provided the OJA with the material while he was cleaning out Shirley's house to put it up for sale.
Shirley Kumove is a Toronto-based writer and translator of Yiddish literature and folklore who has published articles and books relating to folklore, literature and the art of Yiddish translation. She was born in 1931, the first of two children of Harry (Hersh Meyer) Recht and Rifka Lessman. Kumove received her education at Toronto's Borochov School and, less formally, in her parents' home where Yiddish was the language spoken. She then attended New York University and the University of Toronto. During her career she has worked as a teacher of Judaic Studies and a public relations and special projects consultant; then in the 1980s, she served as Executive Director of The United Synagogue of America, Ontario Region, and Executive Director of JIAS. From 1997 to 2003, she was also a columnist for Paken Trager (The Book Peddler), the journal of the National Yiddish Book Centre in Massachusetts. Through the years she also undertook short-term translating projects on contract.
Kumove is the author of two books on Yiddish folksayings, Words Like Arrows: A Collection of Yiddish Folk Sayings (1984) and More Words, More Arrows (1999). A third volume is yet unpublished. She was a contributing editor of Found Treasures: Stories by Yiddish Women Writers (1994), and her most recent books are Drunk From the Bitter Truth: The Poems of Anna Margolin (2005), and a translated novel, Ordinary Jews (2009). She also worked for a time on a translation of the memoirs of Puah Rakovsky, "a Jewish revolutionary," but this work was not completed or published. In addition to her writing, Kumove has travelled extensively throughout North America giving lectures to Jewish Studies students, community groups and at conferences.
Kumove is a member of the American Literary Translators Association (ATLA) and has served on the boards of several organizations including chairing the Jewish Affairs committee of the National Council of Jewish Women. Shirley is married to Leon Kumove and they have three sons, Martin (Moishe), Aaron and Joel, as well as many grandchildren.
Shirley Kumove is the recipient of awards from the federal Multicultural Department and the Ontario Arts Council, and she won the 2007 Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Award for Yiddish Translation for Drunk from the Bitter Truth.