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Tue, Jun 22
01:00PM
Tue, Jun 22
01:00PM

symposium

Jewish Children's Literature in Russian and Yiddish

Join scholars, archivists, and curators to explore the rich world of Jewish children’s literature in pre-WWII Europe. This webinar outlines the contours of this body of work and discusses its features through the collections of the Bodleian Library and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

Scholar Miriam Udel (Emory) speaks about children's literature written in Yiddish which flourished in the early 20th century as a variety of new Yiddish language school systems educated a generation of Jewish children in Yiddish. Scholar Catriona Kelly (Oxford) presents work by important Russian Jewish authors and illustrators in the Bodleian Library’s Opie Collection, including Samuil Marshak, Natalia Sats, Nina Simonovich-Efimova, and David Shterenberg. YIVO's Director of Archives Stefanie Halpern and the Bodleian's Curator César Merchan-Hamann will close the program by showing colorful and handsomely illustrated examples from the two collections.

Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/Jewish-Childrens-Literatures for a Zoom link


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symposium

Tue, Jun 22
01:00PM
Tue, Jun 22
01:00PM

conversation

Queer Healing

Gregg Drinkwater and Rabbi Jane Litman will discuss the history and practice of how gay and lesbian Jewish leaders and their synagogues helped reshape the relationship to healing, spirituality, and personal prayer among American Jews.

Dr. Gregg Drinkwater’s research focuses on sexuality, gender, and Judaism in the modern United States. His work has appeared in the journals Jewish Social Studies and American Jewish History, as well as the Journal of Modern Jewish Studies. He is currently working on a book on the history of gay and lesbian synagogues and their role in incubating queer Jewish space. For the 2021-2022 academic year, he will be a visiting professor in Jewish History at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he completed his PhD in U.S. history in 2020. Prior to entering academic life, Drinkwater worked for 10 years as a researcher and advocate for LGBTQ inclusion and social justice in the Jewish community through the organizations Jewish Mosaic and Keshet. He is the co-editor of the book Torah Queeries: Weekly Commentaries on the Hebrew Bible (NYU Press, 2009).

Rabbi Jane Rachel Litman supervises the Jewish Roundtable at the Pacific School of Religion’s Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies (CLGS), which sponsors cutting edge speakers on queer and Jewish issues, and convenes conferences and strategic summits for groups such as trans Jews, LGBTQ rabbis, and Jewish queerspawn. Jane works closely with Pacific Asian, African American and Latinx colleagues addressing interfaith issues such as Religious Liberty and Trans Inclusivity using an intersectional approach. Widely published in the fields of Jewish women's history, queer theory and contemporary theology, Jane’ss book, Lifecycles 2: Jewish Women on Scriptural Themes in Contemporary Life, co-edited with Rabbi Debra Orenstein, won prestigious academic and community awards.  Jane’s most recent work includes Krovai Elohim: All in God’s Family for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the essay on Judaism in the anthology Struggling in Good Faith. Jane is currently working on Transkeit: Expanding Jewish Gender Diversity with Reverend Jakob Hero-Shaw.

Ticket Info: Free; register at forms.office.com for a Zoom link


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conversation

Tue, Jun 22
04:00PM
Tue, Jun 22
04:00PM

book talk

FamilyAffairsemEastWestStreetemandemTheRatlineemwithPhilippeSands

In the fifth and final program in the series, Philippe Sands, distinguished international lawyer and professor of law and author of East West Street and The Ratline: Love, Lies and Justice on the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive, will discuss with Natalia Aleksiun the family links that launched his quests in both books, and how personal, professional, and family interests intersected in his research and writing. Weaving together family, legal, social, and political history, Sands offers two complementary yet diverging perspectives, of Jewish intellectual crossroads in Lwow and the Nazi officeholders who came to destroy Jewish Lwow. The underlying motive of the legal conceptualization of genocide and crimes against humanity follow the discussion of the legal traditions forged in Lwow. The more surprising search for the fate of the Nazi governor of Lwow, his family, and the changing realities of the postwar years offers an unusual angle for a familial quest.

Ticket Info: Pay what you wish; registration required at /tickets/family-affairs-2021-06-22 to receive a link to the Zoom webinar


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book talk

Wed, Jun 23
12:00PM
Wed, Jun 23
12:00PM

lecture

New Works Wednesdays – Garden of Eden: Plants of the Hebrew Bible

Join us for New Works Wednesdays with Gloria Abella Ballen as she discusses her book Garden of Eden: Plants of the Hebrew Bible.

Historically the plants of the Bible have been of great interest for botanical studies, for their medicinal qualities, for cooking, for building gardens, for inspiration, and as metaphors for teaching.

The Bible often provides both social and symbolic meanings for plants, but sometimes the ambiguity of language means that the species mentioned cannot be specifically identified. The Bible was written in Aramaic and Hebrew, it was first translated into Greek in the second century B.C.E., into Latin in the fourth century C.E., and later into the many languages of the world. As we will see, the story of those translations has affected our understanding of the plants.

In this book I include the Hebrew name and the Latin scientific name for each of the plants, as well as the common name in English. Along with the images, I include a biblical reference to the plant with my interpretation of the verse, focusing on the five most mentioned plants: fig, grape vine, olive, date palm and pomegranate.


About the Speaker:

Gloria Abella Ballen is an artist and author creating award-winning art books such as The Power of the Hebrew Alphabet and The New World Haggadah, the latter with Ilan Stavans. Both titles won Best Book Awards with The Power of the Hebrew Alphabet winning multiple awards. Abella Ballen has graduate degrees in art from SUNY-Buffalo and the National University in Mexico City and has done specialized studies on studio art and theory with Larry Rivers and John Cage. She has exhibited in individual and group shows in the US, Israel, Japan, Latin America, and Europe, and has received a number of awards, including the UNESCO prize in painting, the Latin American Graphics Biennial, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Pan American Graphics Portfolio Award among others. Abella Ballen currently lives in Santa Fe, NM.

Ticket Info: $6; register at us02web.zoom.us for a Zoom link


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lecture

Wed, Jun 23
04:00PM
Wed, Jun 23
04:00PM

book talk

TheDaringLifeandDangerousTimesofEveAdams

Eve Adams was a rebel. Born Chawa Zloczewer into a Jewish family in Poland, Adams emigrated to the United States in 1912. The young woman took a new name, befriended anarchists, sold radical publications, and ran lesbian- and-gay-friendly speakeasies in Chicago and New York. Then, in 1925, Adams risked all to write and publish a book titled Lesbian Love. In a repressive era, long before today’s gay liberation movement, when American women had just gained the right to vote, Adams’s association with notorious anarchists caught the attention of the young J. Edgar Hoover and the US Bureau of Investigation, leading to her surveillance and arrest. In a case that pitted immigration officials, the New York City police, and a biased informer against her, Adams was convicted of publishing an obscene book and of attempted sex with a policewoman sent to entrap her. Adams was jailed and then deported back to Europe and experienced the Nazis’ reign of terror.

In The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams, acclaimed historian Jonathan Ned Katz has recovered the extraordinary story of an early, daring activist. Drawing on startling evidence, carefully distinguishing fact from fiction, Katz presents the first biography of Adams, and the publisher reprints the long-lost text of Adams’s rare, unique book Lesbian Love.

Program registrants will receive a code for 30% off (print only) valid June 1-July 31.

This program is funded, in part, by a Humanities New York CARES Grant, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the federal CARES Act, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Ticket Info: Pay what you wish; register at programs.cjh.org/tickets/life-of-eve-2021-06-23 for a Zoom link


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book talk

Thu, Jun 24
02:00PM
Thu, Jun 24
02:00PM

conversation

Heinrich Heine: Revolution and Music

In Heinrich Heine, Writing the Revolution, a vividly imagined exploration of Heinrich Heine’s life and work for the Yale Jewish Live Series, author George Prochnik contextualizes Heine’s biography within the different revolutionary political, literary, and philosophical movements of his age. He also explores the insights Heine offers contemporary readers into issues of social justice, exile, and the role of art in nurturing a more equitable society.

Prochnik is also the author of a forthcoming essay on Heine and his relationship to Karl Marx for LBI's Shared History Project. In it, he explores the productive tension between Heine's political commitment to the cause of human freedom and his belief in the paramount importance of aesthetic self-expression.

Alex Ross, author of a recent essay on Heine for the New Yorker will engage Prochnik in a conversation about Heine's revolutionary aesthetics and politics with a special focus the musical settings of the poet's verse that became enduring landmarks of German-language culture.

About the Panelists
George Prochnik
 is the author of Stranger in a Strange Land: Searching for Gershom Scholem and Jerusalem. His previous book, The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World, received the 2014 National Jewish Book Award for Biography/Memoir.

Alex Ross has been the music critic of The New Yorker since 1996. He is the author of The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century (2007), Listen to This (2010), and Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music (2020). In 2008 he was named a MacArthur Fellow.

Ticket Info: Free; register at lbi.org/events/heinrich-heine-poetry-revolution-and-music/ for a Zoom link


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conversation

Thu, Jun 24
04:30PM
Thu, Jun 24
04:30PM

lecture

Under the Tenement Rooftops: Immigrant and Migrant Families in New York

Annie Polland | Delivered in English.

The Tenement Museum preserves and interprets the personal stories of residents of two buildings on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Ninety-seven Orchard Street opened in 1863 and housed a succession of European immigrants until the double blow of the Great Depression and the impact of the 1924 Johnson Reed Act forced the landlord to evict the tenants. Down the block,103 Orchard, built in 1888, kept its doors open throughout the twentieth century, hosting Jewish and Italian immigrants in its early years, and Holocaust refugees, Puerto Rican migrants and Chinese immigrants in its later years. This program traces how immigration law impacted the residents of these buildings, and how they carved out new lives once they arrived. Census records, newspaper articles and oral histories—with a focus on YIVO primary sources—will be used to bring the families’ situations to life and situate them in their contexts.


About the Speaker:

Annie Polland is a public historian, author and President of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, where she served as Vice President for Programs & Education from 2009 to 2017. Prior to her return to the Tenement Museum she served as Executive Director of the American Jewish Historical Society. She is the co-author, with Daniel Soyer, of Emerging Metropolis: New York Jews in the Age of Immigration, winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award. She received her Ph.D. in History from Columbia University, and served as Vice President of Education at the Museum at Eldridge Street, where she wrote Landmark of the Spirit (Yale University). Polland has taught at New York University and serves as an educator for the Bronfman Fellowship. She grew up in Milwaukee, WI and lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.

Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/YCLS2021-Polland for a Zoom link


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lecture

Mon, Jun 28
02:00PM
Mon, Jun 28
02:00PM

lecture

FamilyHistoryTodayResearchingyourHistoricalLGBTQRelatives

You may have heard family rumors about the “bachelor uncle” or the aunt and her “roommate.” Perhaps, you identify as LGBTQ+ and want to know if there were others like you in your family tree. Professional genealogist Janice Sellers will show you how to pursue this avenue of family history research. In addition, she will discuss ethical concerns you should consider, and why an understanding of gay history is critical to finding and understanding information about your LGBTQ+ forebears.

This program is sponsored by the Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute at the Center for Jewish History. It is funded, in part, by a Humanities New York CARES Grant, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the federal CARES Act, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Ticket Info: Pay what you wish; register at programs.cjh.org/tickets/family-history-today-2021-06-28 for a Zoom link


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lecture

Mon, Jun 28
04:30PM
Mon, Jun 28
04:30PM

lecture

The Ashkenazi Jews of Mexico

Adina Cimet | Delivered in Yiddish.

The Ashkenazi Jews of Mexico are a relatively small community through which one can observe the Jewish ideological battles of the 20th and 21st centuries. This talk will feature a description of the birth of the Jewish Ashkenazi community in Mexico in the 20th century; a discussion of the community’s structural development and expansion; and an exploration of the ideological variety, richness, and effervescence of its communal life. The lecture will include a particular focus on Jewish-educational efforts within the community as well as the Yiddish language as a marker of identity and communal affiliation.


About the Speaker:

Adina Cimet was born in Mexico City to Eastern European parents. Cimet grew up in a Yiddish speaking home and attended Jewish Day school receiving a trilingual education in Yiddish, Hebrew, and Spanish. Cimet has degrees in Sociology from UNAM University in Mexico City, the London School of Economics, and Columbia University. Cimet has written a variety of academic articles on power differentials, language fights, cultural asymmetries, and political tensions. She is the author of Ashkenazi Jews in Mexico; Ideologies in the Structuring of a Community (SUNY Press) and Jewish Lublin, A Cultural Monograph (Marie-Curie Sklodowska University Press). Cimet has also served as a docent for The Jewish Museum in New York, Director of the EPYC (Educational Program of Yiddish Culture) for YIVO, Director of web page  "When these streets heard Yiddish", for YIVO, and Director Consultant (temporary) for Yiddish Pop. Cimet has lectured at UNAM Mexico, Drexel University, and served as an instructor at Columbia University for their Contemporary Civilization Course.

Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/YCLS2021-Cimet for a Zoom link


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lecture

Wed, Jun 30
12:00PM
Wed, Jun 30
12:00PM

lecture

Original Ladino Music with Nani Noam Vazana

Nani Noam Vazana is the world’s first original Ladino artist. She will be discussing her new Ladino album on Zoom and Facebook Live!

During the pandemic, Nani decided to do a resurrection project of a very old language called Ladino, a Jewish-Spanish dialect from the middle ages that her grandmother used to speak. One of her 1st and best memories is of her and her grandmother together in the kitchen, speaking Ladino & singing songs about aubergine recipes.

Nani represented the NL at the EU Music Festival VN, performed at the Kennedy Center USA, Jodhpur RIFF festival IN, Jazzahead DE, North Sea Jazz NL, Roccella Jazz IT, TEDx NL & hosted 3 WOMEX panels. The Dutch NPO network released a mini documentary about her musical work in 2018. Nani also composed music for BBC4 and NPO documentaries. Nani is a professor at the London Performing Academy of Music, she chairs of the Amsterdam Artist Collective and founded Why DIY Music and Nova Productions.

For more about Nani: https://nanimusic.com/home/

Ticket Info: Free; register at us02web.zoom.us for a Zoom link


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lecture

Thu, Jul 01
04:30PM
Thu, Jul 01
04:30PM

lecture

The Yiddish Folk Song: A Survey

Mark Slobin | Delivered in English.

This talk will situate the “Yiddish folksong” in the context of the general European folksong world as well as the world of the performed expressive culture of ‘Yiddishland’, from prayer through popular song. The lecture will then consider the stability of the song tradition, despite the widespread mobility, dislocation, and destruction of the singers and their communities, down to today’s resurgence of new Yiddish singer-songwriters.


About the Speaker:

Mark Slobin is the Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music Emeritus at Wesleyan University and the author or editor of many books, on Afghanistan and Central Asia, eastern European Jewish music, film music, and ethnomusicology theory, two of which have received the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award: Fiddler on the Move: Exploring the Klezmer World and Tenement Songs: Popular Music of the Jewish Immigrants. His current project is on the musical life of Detroit, 1940s-60s. He has been President of the Society for Ethnomusicology and the Society for Asian Music.

Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/YCLS2021-Slobin for a Zoom link


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lecture

Thu, Jul 08
04:30PM
Thu, Jul 08
04:30PM

lecture

Yiddish Ethnography and An-ski

Gabriella Safran | Delivered in English.

Sh. An-ski (Shloyme-Zanvl Rappoport, 1863-1920), was a writer in Russian and Yiddish, a revolutionary, a wartime relief worker, and an ethnographer who studied the Jews of the Russian empire. During his 1911-1914 expeditions to shtetls in Ukraine, he would report, he and his co-workers took 1000 photographs, recorded 1000 Yiddish songs and 1500 stories, and purchased 400 objects for a Jewish museum. The expedition also inspired An-ski to write his signature play, The Dybbuk. Although East European Jews used ethnographic tools to study themselves both before and after An-ski’s expeditions, he retains an outsize status in the field of Yiddish ethnography, strongly tied to the success of his play. This talk explores the connections between An-ski’s ethnographic work, his play, and the Russian politics of his era.


About the Speaker:

Gabriella Safran, the Eva Chernov Lokey Professor in Jewish Studies at Stanford University, teaches in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. She is the author and editor of prize-winning books on how Russian novels describe Jewish assimilation and on the relation between Jewish literature and anthropology; her biography of a pioneering Russian-Jewish writer, ethnographer, and revolutionary, Wandering Soul: The Dybbuk’s Creator, S. An-sky, came out with Harvard University Press in 2010. Safran is now finishing a book on listening, transcription, and verbal imitation across class lines in the mid-19th-century Russian Empire, and beginning another book about the international pre-history of the Jewish joke.

Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/YCLS2021-Safran for a Zoom link


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lecture

Mon, Jul 12
04:00PM
Mon, Jul 12
04:00PM

lecture

OutoftheBoxSnapshotsofaLife-LiveonZoom

David Ludwig Bloch was a deaf Jewish artist from Bavaria who found refuge in Shanghai following his flight from Nazi Europe in 1940. There he joined a population of 20,000 other German and Austrian Jewish refugees, who found themselves living in relative safety in a place they had only imagined. A painter, illustrator, and lithographer, Bloch captured the daily life of Shanghai in the 1940s, a thriving metropolis of rich and poor, city natives, European exiles, and a vast population of Chinese refugees fleeing the Japanese invasion and chronic civil war. Through Bloch’s work, we meet the everyday people of Shanghai—the rickshaw drivers, small business owners, the homeless, and the street beggars—as well as an artist who made a new life for himself in China and then, finally, in the United States.

Michael Simonson, archivist at the Leo Baeck Institute, will be joined by Nancy Berliner, Wu Tung Senior Curator of Chinese Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, who will provide an analysis of the work in the context of Chinese art history, including Chinese art contemporary to Bloch's time in Shanghai.

About the Series
At the Center for Jewish History, there are tens of thousands of boxes in our partners’ archival collections. Boxes filled with photographs, journals, letters, and documents. We take these treasures Out of the Box in our series. Join us!

Ticket Info: Pay what you wish; register at programs.cjh.org/tickets/out-of-the-box-2021-07-12 for a Zoom link


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lecture

Mon, Jul 12
04:30PM
Mon, Jul 12
04:30PM

lecture

Yiddish Women Writers (Part 1)

Avraham Novershtern | Delivered in Yiddish.

Any analysis of Yiddish poetry by women must take into consideration the interrelationship of many cultural factors: on the one hand, the difficulties met by women who chose to leave the traditional Jewish world and embrace modern secular culture; on the other hand, the structure of modern Yiddish culture in its manifold expressions — theater, press, literature.

The exposure of Jewish women in Eastern Europe to secular culture at the turn of the 20th century demanded the knowledge of non-Jewish languages, mainly Russian, Polish, or German. Jewish writers and cultural activists watched this phenomenon with concern. They embraced enthusiastically the beginnings of Yiddish literature written by women as a very welcome phenomenon of women returning to the fold of the Jewish cultural realm and taking part in the shaping of a Jewish cultural renaissance.

Yiddish women writers became prominent after World War I, mainly through poetry, the main dynamic factor in Yiddish literature in those days. But the 'target audience' of these works, the Yiddish literary establishment, was almost completely male. They expected women’s poetry to be 'soft', intimate', to deal with love, and to a certain extant with sex. Did Yiddish women poets accept or reject this view? One of the main features of Yiddish poetry by women is indeed its stubborn and dramatic struggle, whether open or tacit, with these expectations.


About the Speaker:

Avraham Novershtern is professor emeritus from the Yiddish Program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has taught at the Uriel Weinreich Summer Program for many years. He currently serves as the director of Beit Sholem Aleichem in Tel Aviv, a cultural center devoted to Yiddish and the Eastern European Jewish Heritage.

Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/YCLS2021-Novershtern1 for a Zoom link


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lecture

Thu, Jul 15
12:30PM
Thu, Jul 15
12:30PM

conversation

At Lunch with Mara Wilson

Author and journalist Julie Salamon (Wall Street Journal and NY Times) sits down with writer and actor Mara Wilson. Mara, known for her childhood roles in Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda, is a writer and actor living in Los Angeles. Recently, she has appeared on Welcome to Night Vale, Broad City and Bojack Horseman. Her writing has appeared on Elle.com, McSweeney’s, Reductress, and Cracked. She also publishes a newsletter of her writing with Substack, 'Shan't We Call the Vicar?' her first book, Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame is available from Penguin Random House.

Ticket Info: Free; register at forms.office.com for a Zoom link


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conversation

Thu, Jul 15
04:30PM
Thu, Jul 15
04:30PM

lecture

Yiddish and Zionism

Rachel Rojanski | Delivered in English.

The Hebrew language has always been the Jewel in the Crown of the Zionist movement, with its revival and development one of the movement’s fundamental goals, especially in pre-state Palestine and the state of Israel. However, Jews in Eastern Europe (and, in fact, the vast majority of the Jews in the world) during the first half of the 20th century not only spoke Yiddish, but viewed it as a Jewish national language. Yiddish became, then, not only an ideological mainstay of Jewish national movements that opposed Zionism, but also the language of a vibrant and trans-national Jewish culture. For that reason, the Zionists themselves not only used Yiddish but also supported its development. This lecture will focus on the dialectical tensions between the Hebrew ideology of Zionism and the reality that forced it to play a significant role in the development of Yiddish culture. In particular, it will ask how the Zionist movement negotiated these tensions in Eastern Europe, in the US, in pre-state Palestine and, briefly even in the State of Israel.


About the Speaker:

Rachel Rojanski is Associate Professor of Judaic Studies at Brown University. She is a cultural and political historian of the east European Yiddish-speaking Jewish diaspora from the late 19th century to the end of the 20th century, with a special interest in  American Jewish history, Zionism, and Israel Studies. Her research also encompasses Jewish Socialism, Gender studies, and the history of Yiddish. Her publications include: Conflicting Identities: Labor Zionism in North America 1905-1931 (Hebrew, Ben-Gurion University Press, 2004); Yiddish in Israel: A History (Indiana University Press, 2020) as well as numerous articles on Jewish Socialism, the Yiddish press, and Jewish gender. Her current book project focuses on Holocaust survivor, historian, Yiddish writer and public activist, Rachel Auerbach.

Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/YCLS2021-Rojanski for a Zoom link


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lecture

Mon, Jul 19
04:30PM
Mon, Jul 19
04:30PM

lecture

Yiddish Women Writers (Part 2)

Avraham Novershtern | Delivered in Yiddish.

Any analysis of Yiddish poetry by women must take into consideration the interrelationship of many cultural factors: on the one hand, the difficulties met by women who chose to leave the traditional Jewish world and embrace modern secular culture; on the other hand, the structure of modern Yiddish culture in its manifold expressions — theater, press, literature.

The exposure of Jewish women in Eastern Europe to secular culture at the turn of the 20th century demanded the knowledge of non-Jewish languages, mainly Russian, Polish, or German. Jewish writers and cultural activists watched this phenomenon with concern. They embraced enthusiastically the beginnings of Yiddish literature written by women as a very welcome phenomenon of women returning to the fold of the Jewish cultural realm and taking part in the shaping of a Jewish cultural renaissance.

Yiddish women writers became prominent after World War I, mainly through poetry, the main dynamic factor in Yiddish literature in those days. But the 'target audience' of these works, the Yiddish literary establishment, was almost completely male. They expected women’s poetry to be 'soft', intimate', to deal with love, and to a certain extant with sex. Did Yiddish women poets accept or reject this view? One of the main features of Yiddish poetry by women is indeed its stubborn and dramatic struggle, whether open or tacit, with these expectations.


About the Speaker:

Avraham Novershtern is professor emeritus from the Yiddish Program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has taught at the Uriel Weinreich Summer Program for many years. He currently serves as the director of Beit Sholem Aleichem in Tel Aviv, a cultural center devoted to Yiddish and the Eastern European Jewish Heritage.

Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/YCLS2021-Novershtern2 for a Zoom link


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lecture

Thu, Jul 22
04:00PM
Thu, Jul 22
04:00PM

book talk

AmericanBabyAMotheraChildandtheShadowHistoryofAdoption

During the Baby Boom in 1960s America, women were encouraged to stay home and raise large families, but sex and childbirth were taboo subjects. Premarital sex was common, but birth control was hard to get, and abortion was illegal. In 1961, Margaret Erle, a 16-year-old daughter of German-Jewish immigrants in Washington Heights, became pregnant after her first sexual encounter with her high school sweetheart. Her scandalized family sent her away to a maternity home run by Louise Wise Services, a prominent Jewish adoption agency in New York City, which was tasked with placing Jewish adoptees. After she gave birth, Margaret wasn't allowed to hold her own son, and social workers threatened her with jail until she signed away her parental rights. Though Margaret went on to marry and raise a large family with the baby’s father, she never stopped longing for and worrying about her firstborn. Adopted by Holocaust survivors, the child spent his early life mere blocks from his biological parents, later became a renowned cantor, and finally found his birth mother mere months before his own death from cancer.

Claiming to be acting in the best interests of all, the adoption business was founded on secrecy and deception. Louise Wise and the other agencies that purported to help pregnant women struck unethical deals with doctors and researchers for pseudoscientific "assessments," and shamed millions of young women into surrendering their children. In American Baby: A Mother, a Child, and the Shadow History of Adoption, author Gabrielle Glaser dramatically demonstrates the power of the expectations and institutions that Margaret faced. Gabrielle and Margaret will discuss this story of loss, love, and the search for identity.

Ticket Info: Pay what you wish; register at programs.cjh.org/tickets/american-baby-2021-07-22 for a Zoom link


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book talk

Thu, Jul 22
04:30PM
Thu, Jul 22
04:30PM

lecture

"My Heart Is in the East" - How Yiddish Speakers Moved to the East

Shaul Stampfer | Delivered in English.

The question of origins is often difficult to study because originators do not always leave a paper trail. Therefore, uncovering origins can be challenging – and the story of the background of Yiddish-speaking Jews in Eastern Europe is no exception. It is complicated by the fact that in the recent past the Jewish population of the area was in the millions and it is not obvious where they came from. It is tempting for some to see them as having come from the Rhineland in search of safety and security but there are many reasons to be dubious about this. What is much more likely, as we shall see, is that the basis for the Yiddish-speaking Jewish population of Eastern Europe was the Jewish population of what is now the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria. They came in dribs and drabs because of economic pressures. We will examine various pieces of evidence that support this picture. While not dramatic, it was pragmatic and successful. Economic changes in the Polish-Lithuanian lands offered new opportunities to Jews and this in turn, led to conditions of rapid population growth – rapid enough to create a massive population within several centuries.


About the Speaker:

Shaul Stampfer is Rabbi Edward Sandrow Professor of Soviet and East European Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (emeritus).

Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/YCLS2021-Stampfer for a Zoom link


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lecture

Mon, Jul 26
04:30PM
Mon, Jul 26
04:30PM

lecture

Standardization in Contemporary Yiddish: Case Studies From Hasidic Jews and Yiddishists

Isaac Bleaman | Delivered in Yiddish.

Although Hasidic Jews and Yiddishists share a commitment to Yiddish as a living language, the two communities differ in their stance toward standardization: Hasidim promote the use of Yiddish as a community vernacular, but without the standards of "correctness" that have come to be associated with Yiddishists. This talk explores standardization in contemporary Yiddish, through two case studies in quantitative (variationist) sociolinguistics. The first case study, drawing on interviews with Hasidim and Yiddishists in the New York area, finds that Yiddishists have significantly higher rates of number agreement than Hasidim do. This difference in their spoken Yiddish is also reflected in their responses to a text-editing task, showing that Yiddishists are likelier than Hasidim to correct number agreement "errors" in a written text, and to concur with one another in their corrections. The second case study, analyzing data from the Hasidic discussion forum KaveShtiebel.com, demonstrates that language standards can still spread implicitly among Hasidic writers.


About the Speaker:

Isaac L. Bleaman is Assistant Professor of Linguistics at UC Berkeley. His research interests include sociolinguistic variation, multilingualism, language maintenance, and language change. He addresses these broad areas by analyzing how individuals and communities speak and write in Yiddish. Bleaman is also an experienced language teacher, having taught Yiddish at the YIVO Summer Program, the Yiddish Farm, and the Worker's Circle/Arbeter-Ring in New York. He holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Linguistics from New York University, an M.St. in Yiddish Studies from the University of Oxford, and a B.A. in Linguistics and Comparative Literature from Stanford University.

Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/YCLS2021-Bleaman for a Zoom link


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lecture

Tue, Jul 27
02:00PM
Tue, Jul 27
02:00PM

lecture

Enroll Your Children in a Secular Jewish School! The New Jewish School and Its Role in Educating a New Generation of Jews in Poland

This lecture will be delivered in Yiddish.

One hundred years ago, the Central Jewish School Organization (TSYSHO) was established in Warsaw, uniting a number of secular Jewish schools and using Yiddish as its language of instruction. A compromise made between different school and community activists associated with various political parties, mostly the Bund, the Left Poale Zion, the Folkspartei and the supporters of democratic school, they shared the same dream – to create a unified, secular school where children from the Yidishe gas, or the Jewish Street, would receive instruction in their native language. The creation of TSYSHO was only the beginning. But the new school organization lacked everything it needed: educated teachers, premises, textbooks and pedagogical literature, even the educational vocabulary required to teach particular subjects in Yiddish. It also had no money and did not even have the right to exist. All of the above had to be fought for, and this was the role of TsYSHO, and precisely what the party's activists did during the nearly twenty years of its existence in Poland.

Only a small percentage of Jewish children in Poland attended the TSYSHO schools. But should one believe the numbers? Many children in eastern Poland were students at a secular Jewish school and described it as their second home. It was there that they first became acquainted with secular subjects, secular literature and culture, Jewish history and the natural environment surrounding them. They learned to discuss all manner of things and make decisions on their own. They also discovered and developed their skills and abilities, for example, by preparing exhibits for three large school exhibitions devoted to the life and work of Mendele-Moykher Sforim (1936), Sholem Aleykhem (1937) and Jews in Poland (1939).

What was so special about TSYSHO schools and what impact did they have on their students? During this lecture, we will look for answers to these questions based on the activity of the secular school in Pruzhany, which was described by both the teacher Noach Tsukerman in his letters to Abraham Golomb, the director of the Jewish Teachers' Seminary in Vilna, and his student Velvel Kaplanski, who wrote about it in his autobiography submitted to the YIVO competition.


About the Speaker:

Anna Szyba has studied both Cultural Studies and Yiddish Studies and worked in the Center for Yiddish Culture in Warsaw. Currently she is a PhD candidate in the Institute for East European Studies at the Free University of Berlin, where she conducts a research about pedagogical methods used in schools of the Central Yiddish School Organization (TSYSHO).

Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/The-New-Jewish-School for a Zoom link


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lecture

Thu, Jul 29
02:00PM
Thu, Jul 29
02:00PM

book club

LBI Book Club, Vol. XII: Job by Joseph Roth

Job: The Story of a Simple Man was published in 1930. The novel tells the story of an orthodox Jew shoe faith is challenged after a series of misfortunes that result in him immigrating from Tsarist Russia to New York City's Lower East Side. Harriet Porter of The Guardian reviewed the book in 2000: "Roth captures essential truths about faith, hope and despair within his reworking of a Biblical story. His writing is rich without being dense, and has a fable-like directness."

Joseph Roth is one of the best-known of European Jewish novelists. Originally from Brody in Austrian Galicia, he lived in Vienna, Berlin, and Paris working largely as a newspaper columnist and correspondent.  His work Radetzky March is considered by many to be a classic of 20th century literature. A common theme in his work is the passing of the "old world" and the danger of the political and social forces that emerge following the First World War. In 1933 he moved to Paris as a refugee from the Nazi regime.  Roth died in Paris of poor health related to alcoholism six years later, in 1939. The Leo Baeck Institute is pleased to hold a large body of original, handwritten manuscripts and personal photographs kept by the author, now found in our archives.

Guest
Joining us for this session is Keiron Pim, British journalist and author, whose much-anticipated biography of Joseph Roth will be published by Granta books in 2022. A writer on a wide-variety of subjects, from pop culture history to medieval Hebrew Poetry, his book Jumpin Jack Flash: David Litvinoff and the RocknRoll Underworld, was named the best debut biography of 2016 in the Guardian. You can learn more about Keiron Pim and his other work on his website here.

Where to Purchase the Book
You can purchase the book here. You may read whichever translation works best/most accessible to you.

You can prepare in advance by listening to Keiron Pim discussing Roth’s novel Job: the Story of a Simple Man and other Roth works in an online panel discussion here.

Ticket Info: Free; register at eventbrite.com for a Zoom link


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book club

Wed, Aug 04
07:00PM
Wed, Aug 04
07:00PM

book talk

When We Were Slaves

Author Laura Arnold Leibman discusses her new book with Gender and Jewish Studies Professor Samira K. Mehta.

An obsessive genealogist and descendent of one of the most prominent Jewish families since the American Revolution, Blanche Moses firmly believed her maternal ancestors were Sephardic grandees. Yet she found herself at a dead end when it came to her grandmother's maternal line. Using family heirlooms to unlock the mystery of Moses's ancestors, Once We Were Slaves overturns the reclusive heiress's assumptions about her family history to reveal that her grandmother and great-uncle, Sarah and Isaac Brandon, actually began their lives as poor Christian slaves in Barbados. Tracing the siblings' extraordinary journey throughout the Atlantic World, Leibman examines artifacts they left behind in Barbados, Suriname, London, Philadelphia, and, finally, New York, to show how Sarah and Isaac were able to transform themselves and their lives, becoming free, wealthy, Jewish, and--at times--white. While their affluence made them unusual, their story mirrors that of the largely forgotten population of mixed African and Jewish ancestry that constituted as much as ten percent of the Jewish communities in which the siblings lived, and sheds new light on the fluidity of race--as well as on the role of religion in racial shift--in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Ticket Info: Free; register at forms.office.com for a Zoom link


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book talk