Mazel Tov to Former Los Altos Resident for Handmade, Award-Winning 'Yiddish Alphabet' Book

Work of Frederica Postman, 84, of Palo Alto, is featured in special exhibit at Addison-Penzak JCC of Silicon Valley .

A look inside the handmade artist’s book, The Yiddish Alphabet by Moldaw resident Frederica Postman,
A look inside the handmade artist’s book, The Yiddish Alphabet by Moldaw resident Frederica Postman,
Submitted by Gabrielle W

The Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center of Silicon Valley is featuring the award-winning bookThe Yiddish Alphabet, by Frederica Postman, an 84-year-old author and former Los Altos resident, who now lives at Moldaw Residences in Palo Alto. 

The exhibit “Remembering the Yiddish Alphabet” is a meaningful and combined celebration of the handmade limited edition publication’s 35th anniversary and Postman’s 85th birthday, which will be later this year. 

Currently, the books, created by Postman and her illustrator Bonnie Stone, can be found in collections at The Whitney Museum in New York and the Art Institute in Chicago. 

At the end of this year, they will be donating the original drawings from The Yiddish Alphabet Book to Stanford University’s Special Collections

This exhibit at the community center lasts through April 29. It is a tremendous opportunity for the public to enjoy with free admission.

“It's exciting for me to remember that time 35 years ago when we did The Yiddish Alphabet Book, and how much I've done since then,” said Postman. “It is wonderful for me to know that the book is still admired and there is now new interest in it.”

Postman was a successful letter press printer for 50 years, and working solely with Stone as the illustrator for these pieces, they began making books together in this unique way. 

The two of them joined forces to make the books by hand, publish them in limited editions and see them appreciated as works of art. They are books, but not the kind you can pick up off the shelf and read at a library. These are displayed as visual art pieces.

“It was a first for both of us to collaborate with anyone on a project,” recalls Postman. “Mostly, Bonnie worked alone in her studio painting and drawing, and I printed my own writing. But we were both open to collaborating, so Bonnie wanted to try a multiple, a work that was produced in quantity rather than as a single image. Our first attempt was a linoleum block Bonnie cut and I printed. It was successful, and we enjoyed working together, so we wanted to try again.”

The Yiddish Alphabet Book started as a suggestion by Stone to do Yiddish as the subject. Postman chose an alphabet book and designed the format used. They did three other artists’ books after this, each one in a smaller edition.

“We had a wonderful time working together, and I am proud of the work I did and the books we produced,” said Postman. 

“Seeing your work completed is like seeing your child grow. We may look at it and critique it, but there’s tremendous satisfaction and pride overall. It’s work, but it’s also great pleasure.” 


Moldaw Residences is an innovative senior living community located at the 8.5 acre Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life, adjacent to the 130,000 square foot Oshman Family Jewish Community Center. As a continuing care retirement community (CCRC), Moldaw Residences enables older adults to age in place by providing independent living, assisted living and memory support. Opened in 2009, Moldaw Residences offers 193 maintenance free, spacious apartment homes and extensive social and cultural amenities. Affiliated with the Jewish Senior Living Group, it is open to all faiths, ethnicities, and racial background. 

For more information about Moldaw Residences of Palo Alto, visitwww.moldaw.org or call (800) 873-9614.

To learn more about the Teitelbaum Family Center for the Arts at the APJCC, follow this link.

Jenny Green March 25, 2014 at 03:22 PM
Nice story! Beautiful art exhibit at the JCC.


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