College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Full Title of Thesis or Dissertation

Leave in Yiddish

Graduation Date


Document Type


Department/Program Conferring Degree

Writing & Publishing


fiction, novel, intergenerational relationships, LGBTQ, trans, epistolary


The Lieberman Family has disjoints and disconnection at multiple generation points. Miriam Lieberman, a transmasculine person from Town, MI, got pregnant even though they thought such a basely female process was impossible after his years on testosterone. The pregnancy was viable, and so Miriam kept their baby Maya. Miriam's pregnancy and audacious disregard for gender norms set the Townsenites on edge. When Maya turned 19, she learned that a secret was kept from her regarding her parentage, and so, feeling betrayed and lost, she runs away to Chicago. Thirty years later, Maya has staked out a life of her own in the city of big shoulders: a successful art gallery, and her own child, Luel. These two have been at odds since Luel came out as non-binary. The estrangements and entanglements of the Lieberman family come to a head in 2023 when Luel is viciously attacked on a southbound Red Line train. That same week, Maya's beloved Aunt Daryl (best friend and confidante to both of her parents Miriam and Tommy) died in her sleep. Upon her death, and the reveal of an ornately hand-carved box holding family secrets sealed into unopened letters from Miriam to Maya in the summer of 1989, Miriam runs away and Tommy is left to pick up the pieces. He is at a complete loss, and so for the first time in thirty years reaches out to Maya. The ornate box is addressed to her, after all. The ornate box springs open and sends Maya and Luel to Portland, OR. Old wounds reopen in time to heal more recent estrangements, and chains of intergenerational pain are broken, but the question remains: will Miriam be wrangled back to Town in time for a traditional shivah for Daryl? Or, will the Lieberman family just keep leaving?

Available for download on Sunday, July 10, 2033