VIEW ALL EVENTS
Tue, Jun 28
02:00PM ET
Tue, Jun 28
02:00PM ET

lecture

Did the Yivo Linguists Disregard Hasidic Yiddish?

Yiddish Civilization Lecture Series | Speaker: Leyzer Burko Delivered in Yiddish

Today most native Yiddish speakers are Hasidim who speak dialects which are quite different from the Standard Yiddish that was codified by the YIVO linguists and is taught in most classes around the world. What led to the significant discrepancy between these two varieties? As Litvaks and secularists, did the YIVO linguists deliberately disregard Hasidic Yiddish out of anti-religious or anti-Hasidic prejudice? Did they design Standard Yiddish to conform with their own Litvak dialect?

This talk will attempt to answer these questions by contrasting the separate development of Standard Yiddish and Hasidic Yiddish both in Europe and America. Like most secular Jews, the YIVO linguists were generally estranged from Hasidim, but there were moments of contact between the two groups. In particular, Uriel Weinreich was interested in the Yiddish of the Transcarpathian region, the area most post-war Yiddish speaking Hasidim came from, and he encountered many ultra-Orthodox speakers in the course of his dialect interviews. To a degree, he even foresaw the current set of circumstances.

About the Speaker
Leyzer Burko is a Yiddishist from New York with a doctorate in Modern Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary. His research interests include the history of the Yiddish language, Yiddish dialectology, Hasidic Yiddish and Yiddish lexicography. In his spare time, he works on a Yiddish Dialect Dictionary.

Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/YCLS2022-Burko for a Zoom link


Reserve Tickets


Presented by:

lecture

Wed, Jun 29
12:00PM ET
Wed, Jun 29
12:00PM ET

book talk

New Works Wednesdays: Anthology of Religious Poetry from the Mexican Inquisition Trials of 16th-Century CryptoJews

A century after being expelled from Portugal, cryptoJews in Mexico, false converts to Christianity, could not speak of their beliefs for fear of becoming embroiled in the imprisonment, torture, and death in flames that characterized the Inquisition. Without written texts, the Jewish liturgy lost, clans of cryptoJews created a unique body of religious poetry, connecting them to the Laws of Moses, seeking redemption from sin, or hoping for an escape from their embittered lives. The Carvajal clan was led by Luis el Mozo, an alumbrado, a mystic, and his Judaizing sisters. Once discovered to be secretly practicing Judaism, years of suffering at the hands of the Inquisitors were meticulously recorded in the transcripts of their long demeaning trials. The Carvajal's friends, spouses, children and grandchildren were implicated as Judaizers, with many being reconciled by the Church to secular authorities to be burned alive at massive public ceremonies. The burning of Luis and his sisters was the main attraction for cheering crowds at the auto de fé of 1596 in Mexico City. The cruelty of the Inquisitors was matched by their attention to legal detail and testimonies made at trial. Buried within thousands of pages of transcripts, hiding in library special collections of rare books around the world are the only remnants of the religious poetry that sustained cryptoJews hiding in Mexico. Anthology uncovers these hidden treasures!

About the Author
Mark A. Schneegurt is an author, educator, scientist, and entrepreneur. His books range from scholarly works on science, religion, and literature to popular books on The Beatles. He has authored 80+ publications and has made 200+ public presentations of his works.

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


Reserve Tickets


Presented by:

book talk

Thu, Jun 30
02:00PM ET
Thu, Jun 30
02:00PM ET

lecture

Displacement & Creative Resilience in the Modern Jewish Age

Yiddish Civilization Lecture Series | Speaker: Barry Trachtenberg Delivered in English

This talk introduces the Ashkenazic Jewish experience of exile and displacement that began in the late 19th century and which continued through the khurbn years and beyond. It begins with a discussion of Sholem Yankev Abramovich's (Mendele the Bookseller) 1890 short story "Shem & Japheth on the Train” as a harbinger of the unsettled times to come and of the necessity to identify new strategies for Jewish continuity. It focuses specifically on how Yiddish writers/activists/intellectuals contended with the mass migrations and the (economic, political, cultural, social) transformations of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It then discusses—with references to Di Algemeyne Entsiklopedye—how Yiddishists embarked upon efforts to identify ways to ensure Jewish continuity in an age of endless rupture, all the while redefining and reconsidering what comprises Jewish peoplehood.

About the Speaker
Barry Trachtenberg is the Rubin Presidential Chair of Jewish History at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. He is the author of The Revolutionary Roots of Modern Yiddish, 1903-1917 (2008, Syracuse); The United States and the Nazi Holocaust: Race, Refuge, and Remembrance (2018, Bloomsbury); and the recently published The Holocaust & the Exile of Yiddish: A History of the Algemeyne Entsiklopedye (Rutgers, 2022).

Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/YCLS2022-Trachtenberg for a Zoom link


Reserve Tickets


Presented by:

lecture

Tue, Jul 05
02:00PM ET
Tue, Jul 05
02:00PM ET

lecture

Kyiv and Kharkiv – Two Centers of Yiddish Culture, 1917-1941

Yiddish Civilization Lecture Series | Speaker: Gennady Estraikh Delivered in Yiddish

After the 1917 revolution, Kyiv became the capital city of independent Ukraine and appeared as the most significant center of Yiddish culture in the Sovietized areas of the former Russian Empire. The Yiddish Kultur-Lige (Culture League), established in post-revolutionary Kyiv, had scores of branches in Ukraine and was replicated in several other countries. Its aim was to promote the development of all spheres of contemporary Yiddish culture, including education, literature, theater, art, and music.

In 1919, the Soviet regime punished Kyiv for serving as independent Ukraine’s capital, establishing Kharkiv as its capital instead. Kharkiv served as Soviet Ukraine’s capital until 1934. Kyiv’s loss of capital status caused outmigration of activists of Yiddish culture to Kharkiv. Kharkiv’s newly-established periodicals and publishing houses provided openings in journalism and other writing jobs for the Yiddish activists. The city’s 80,000 Jews, mostly recent in-migrants, made up about a fifth of the city’s population, turning Kharkiv into a vibrant population and cultural center of Jewish life.

Still, not a few activists had chosen to stay in Kyiv, whose 140,000 Jews formed over a quarter of the resident population in the mid-1920s. In Kyiv, several components of the Kultur-Lige had been regimented by the state and as such continued to function, including the publishing house Kultur-Lige, which produced the highest number of Yiddish books in the Soviet Union of the 1920s.

The lecture will discuss the overall creation of Yiddish culture during this time and the “division of labor” between the two major Ukrainian cities.

About the Speaker
Born in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, Gennady Estraikh later lived in Moscow, where he turned to writing in Yiddish and worked as Managing Editor of the Yiddish literary journal Sovetish Heymland (Soviet Homeland) from 1988 to 1991. In 1991-2002, he lived in England, where he worked at the Oxford-based Institute of Yiddish Studies and the London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies. In 1996, he received his doctorate from the University of Oxford. His fields of expertise are Jewish intellectual history, Yiddish language and literature, and Soviet Jewish history. His publications include Intensive Yiddish (Oxford, 1996), Soviet Yiddish: Language Planning and Linguistic Development (Oxford, 1999), In Harness: Yiddish Writers’ Romance with Communism (Syracuse University Press, 2005), Yiddish in the Cold War (Oxford: Legenda, 2008), Yiddish Literary Life in Moscow, 1917-1991 (St. Petersburg: European University Press, 2016, in Russian), Yiddish Culture in Ukraine (Kyiv: Dukh i Litera, 2016, in Ukrainian), Transatlantic Russian Jewishness: Ideological Voyages of the Yiddish Daily Forverts in the First Half of the Twentieth Century (Boston, 2020), fifteen co-edited scholarly volumes, and several books in Yiddish.

Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/YCLS2022-Estraikh for a Zoom link


Reserve Tickets


Presented by:

lecture

Wed, Jul 06
12:00PM ET
Wed, Jul 06
12:00PM ET

book talk

New Works Wednesdays: Zahara and the Lost Books of Light

Seattle journalist Alienor Crespo travels to Spain to claim the promise of citizenship offered to the descendants of Jews expelled from Spain in 1492. As she relives history through her vijitas (visits) with her ancestors, Alienor also confronts modern-day extremism and commits herself to protecting an endangered “Library of Light” – a hidden treasure trove of medieval Hebrew and Arabic books, saved from the fires of the Inquisition.

About the Author
The author of five novels, Joyce Yarrow was born in the SE Bronx, escaped to Manhattan as a teenager, and today does most of her traveling through her writing. Joyce has worked as a screenwriter, singer-songwriter, multimedia performance artist, and member of the world music vocal ensemble, Abráce.She is a Pushcart nominee, whose stories and poems have been widely published. She considers the setting of her books to be characters in their own right and teaches workshops on "The Place of Place in Suspense Writing."

For more about the book: amazon.com

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


Reserve Tickets


Presented by:

book talk

Thu, Jul 07
02:00PM ET
Thu, Jul 07
02:00PM ET

lecture

Women on the Immigrant Yiddish Stage: Paths to Stardom

Yiddish Civilization Lecture Series | Speaker: Nina Warnke Delivered in English

Yiddish theater was one of the most dynamic cultural institutions of East European Jewish immigrants in New York during the decades around the turn of the twentieth century. It was also the only one that included women in significant numbers. However, for decades the leadership of some of the most successful companies were groups of men, including the male star, playwright, manager, or director. Female stars, or actresses with star ambitions were usually dependent on the male star-managers for roles. By the late 1890s, some women began seeking opportunities that would allow them more control of their repertoire and give them full star status, a trend that accelerated after 1900 and led to more instances of female stars headlining productions and several female-led theaters around World War I.

While traditionally historians of Yiddish theater have tended to look at its development through the lens of the two foundational playwrights Avrom Goldfaden and Jacob Gordin, and the actors (male and female) who supported their missions, this lecture will outline a reading of these decades through the prism of several female actors whose star ambitions led them to careers rarely described in historiographical accounts. Following the careers of these women illuminates shifting attitudes within society and the profession regarding gender and illustrates the significance of theatrical activity well beyond the flagship theaters on the Lower East Side.

About the Speaker
Nina Warnke is a scholar of Yiddish literature and culture with a focus on theater. Her research has concentrated on the intersection of immigrant Yiddish theater, cultural politics and the press, Yiddish reimaginations of Shylock on stage and in literature, Yiddish theater in a transnational context, and the role of gender in the Yiddish theater. Her most recent article, “New York Yiddish Star Actresses and their Self-Enactment in Memoirs” is forthcoming in Women on the Yiddish Stage, edited by Alyssa Quint and Amanda Seigel. Among her other scholarly publications are “Yiddish Shylocks in Theater and Literature,” (co-authored with Jeffrey Shandler), “Patriotn and Their Stars: Male Youth Culture in the Galleries of the New York Yiddish Theatre,” and “Going East: The Impact of American Yiddish Plays and Players on the Yiddish Stage in Czarist Russia, 1895-1914.

Nina has been teaching Yiddish language, literature, and culture at various universities around the US and is currently teaching at Gratz College and YIVO.

Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/YCLS2022-Warnke for a Zoom link


Reserve Tickets


Presented by:

lecture

Tue, Jul 12
02:00PM ET
Tue, Jul 12
02:00PM ET

lecture

The Theater of Aaron Zeitlin

Yiddish Civilization Lecture Series | Yitskhok Niborski | Delivered in Yiddish

Aaron Zeitlin (1898-1973) was 30 years old when he began to write plays for the theater. Up until then he primarily wrote poetry in long and short form, mostly inspired by Kabbalah. Through theater he sought to affect a broader audience with his mystical themes. In Warsaw from 1928-1938 he authored nearly a dozen works: dramas, comedies, and grotesque plays. In these works the abstract ideas are presented in the garb of concrete historical or contemporary circumstances.

Jacob Jacobson, a "grotesque play in four acts" (1931), depicts an imagined second world war in which the whole world is destroyed. Contrary to the materialistic perspective of the era when it was believed that the natural trajectory of history was perforce to give birth to a just world, this play indicates that in the absence of spirituality, the push behind history is in fact senseless bloodlust, and that Jews have no place in such a world.

About the Speaker
Yitskhok Niborski is a Vice President of the Paris Yiddish Center, and a beloved teacher to numerous students from all over the world. His extensive Yiddish teaching experiences includes courses in Buenos Aires and Paris, where he lives. In the Paris Yiddish Center, Niborski created the Summer University of Yiddish Language and Literature, which has become one of the most important Yiddish learning centers in Europe. He is known throughout the world for his Dictionary of Yiddish words of Hebrew and Aramaic origin. Niborski has also translated Spanish works into Yiddish and writes original poetry in Yiddish.

Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/YCLS2022-Niborski for a Zoom link


Reserve Tickets


Presented by:

lecture

Thu, Jul 14
02:00PM ET
Thu, Jul 14
02:00PM ET

lecture

Tea Arciszewska’s 'miryeml' (1958) and Yiddish Plays by Women

Yiddish Civilization Lecture Series | Speaker: Sonia Gollance Delivered in English

Tea Arcizewska’s play Miryeml is a modernist work that deftly integrates twentieth-century history and Jewish folklore into a narrative about children’s response to the Holocaust. Although the playwright (1890-1962) herself is largely forgotten today, she was very involved in Yiddish cultural production in Warsaw in the 1910s and 1920s. After surviving World War II, she moved to Paris and finished her play Miryeml, which she had begun before the war. In 1954, Miryeml received the Alexander Shapiro Prize for best Yiddish drama from the World Jewish Culture Congress. 

In this talk, Sonia Gollance will discuss her translation-in-progress of Miryeml and selected texts about Arciszewska by contemporaries such as Y. Y. Trunk, Yosef Opatoshu, and Melech Ravitch. This talk will also address Gollance’s broader project as Managing Editor of Plotting Yiddish Drama (the Digital Yiddish Theatre Project’s database of English-language synopses of Yiddish plays) to locate and include works by women.

About the Speaker
Sonia Gollance is Lecturer in Yiddish (Assistant Professor) at University College London. Her research interests include Yiddish studies, German-Jewish literature, gender studies and performance studies. She has taught previously at the University of Vienna, The Ohio State University, and the University of Göttingen. Her book, It Could Lead to Dancing: Mixed-Sex Dancing and Jewish Modernity (Stanford University Press, 2021) was a National Jewish Book Award finalist. Her ongoing translation of Tea Arciszewska's play Miryeml was supported by a Translation Fellowship from the Yiddish Book Center. She is currently developing a project on women who wrote plays in Yiddish. In addition to her scholarship, she is also a Yiddish dance leader.

Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/YCLS2022-Gollance for a Zoom link


Reserve Tickets


Presented by:

lecture

Mon, Jul 18
11:00AM ET
Mon, Jul 18
11:00AM ET

lecture

FamilyHistoryTodayClandestineJewishImmigrationtoPre-StateIsrael

Between 1920 and 1948, over 100,000 European Jews attempted to immigrate to pre-state Israel, then British-Mandate Palestine, through illegal channels to circumvent Britain’s stringent immigration quotas. This clandestine migration, known as Aliyah Bet or Ha’apala, was predominantly comprised of refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe and Holocaust survivors from Europe’s DP camps. British patrols intercepted more than half of the Aliyah Bet ships heading to Palestine and sent most of the immigrants they discovered to detention camps in Cyprus, Mauritius, and the Atlit Camp in Palestine. In this lecture, Rina Offenbach, Director of the Bintivey Ha’apala Information and Research Center at the Atlit Detention Camp, will delve into the history of this episode, with a special focus on the Atlit Camp, and show you how to use the Atlit Center’s online database to learn more about your family’s arrival in Israel.

This program is sponsored by the Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute at the Center for Jewish History. Live closed captioning has been made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Ticket Info: Pay what you wish; register at programs.cjh.org/tickets/family-history-today-2022-07-18 for a Zoom link


Reserve Tickets


Presented by:

lecture

Tue, Jul 19
02:00PM ET
Tue, Jul 19
02:00PM ET

lecture

Libes Briv (18th C.): Isaac Wetzlar’s Call for Reform of Jewish Society and Education

Yiddish Civilization Lecture Series | Marion AptrootDelivered in Yiddish

Isaac Wetzlar, a Jewish merchant in Germany, writes a Yiddish letter of brotherly love to his brothers and sisters in the mid-18th century. He criticizes the fabric of Jewish society in the German lands and lays out plans for a reform of Jewish education in Ashkenaz in which both Hebrew and Yiddish play a part – for both sexes. Wetzlar calls for a return to basics within Jewish tradition, but he was also inspired by the contemporary Pietist Christian revival movement.

Further reading:

  • The Libes Briv of Isaac Wetzlar. Edited and translated by Morris M. Faierstein. Atlanta, Ga.: Scholars Press, 1996.
  • Aptroot, Marion, and Rebekka Voß, eds. Libes Briv (1748/49) Isaak Wetzlars pietistisches Erneuerungsprogramm des Judentums: Textedition, Übersetzung, Kommentar und historische Beiträge. Hamburg: Buske, 2021.

About the Speaker
Marion Aptroot received an MA in Romance Languages from Leiden University and a DPhil in Yiddish Studies from the University of Oxford. After teaching as Preceptor in Yiddish at Harvard from 1993–1996, she was appointed professor of Yiddish Culture, Language and Literature at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. Her research focuses on Older Yiddish literature and the history of the Yiddish language in their broader contexts. She has written, co-edited or co-authored several books, including Araynfir in der yidisher shprakh un kultur (2002), Storm in the Community: Yiddish Polemical Pamphlets of Amsterdam Jewry, 1797–1798 (2002), Isaak Euchel, Reb Henoch, oder: woß tut me damit? Eine jüdische Komödie der Aufklärungszeit (2004), Jiddisch: Geschichte und Kultur einer Weltsprache (2010), Leket: Yiddish Studies Today (2012), Yiddish Language Structures (2014), Yiddish Knights (2020).

Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/YCLS2022-Aptroot for a Zoom link


Reserve Tickets


Presented by:

lecture

Thu, Jul 21
02:00PM ET
Thu, Jul 21
02:00PM ET

lecture

Sutzkever’s Environmental Poetics

Yiddish Civilization Lecture Series | Speaker: Justin Cammy Delivered in English

What can we learn by putting the environmental humanities in conversation with one of Yiddish literature's great poets? Scholar Justin Cammy will offer a reading of Sutzkever before and beyond the ghetto, one that explores the connection between nature, landscape and the search for a contemporary Yiddish spiritual vocabulary.

About the Speaker
Justin Cammy is professor of Jewish Studies and World Literatures at Smith College. An alum of YIVO's Uriel Weinreich Yiddish Summer Program and a past recipient of YIVO's Dina Abramowicz Emerging Scholar fellowship, he also serves as on-site summer director of the Naomi Prawer Kadar International Yiddish Summer Program at Tel Aviv University. Cammy is a leading expert on the interwar Yiddish literary group Young Vilna. His translation of Abraham Sutzkever's From the Vilna Ghetto to Nuremberg (McGill-Queen's) was a finalist for the 2021 National Jewish Book Award.

Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/YCLS2022-Cammy for a Zoom link


Reserve Tickets


Presented by:

lecture

Mon, Jul 25
04:00PM ET
Mon, Jul 25
04:00PM ET

book talk

TearsOverRussiaASearchforFamilyandtheLegacyofUkrainesPogroms

Between 1917 and 1921, 20 years before the Holocaust began, an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 Jews were murdered in anti-Jewish pogroms across Ukraine. Lisa Brahin grew up transfixed by her grandmother Channa’s stories about being forced to flee her hometown of Stavishche, as armies and bandit groups raided village after village, killing Jewish residents. Channa described a perilous three-year journey through Russia and Romania, led by a gallant American who had snuck into Ukraine to save his immediate family and ended up leading an exodus of nearly 80 to safety.

With almost no published sources to validate her grandmother’s tales, Lisa embarked on her incredible journey to tell Channa’s story, forging connections with archivists around the world to find elusive documents to fill in the gaps. She also tapped into connections closer to home, gathering testimonies from her grandmother’s relatives, childhood friends, and neighbors.

The resulting book, Tears over Russia: A Search for Family and the Legacy of Ukraine's Pogroms brings to life a piece of untold Jewish history. Lisa will be in conversation with Lauren Gilbert, Senior Manager for Public Services at the Center for Jewish History.

Ticket Info: Pay what you wish; register at programs.cjh.org/tickets/tears-over-russia-2022-07-25 for a Zoom link


Reserve Tickets


Presented by:

book talk