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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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Tue, Jul 19
08:00PM ET
Tue, Jul 19
08:00PM ET

workshop

Storytelling With YIVO's Beba Epstein: the Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Girl Exhibition

In this interactive workshop, co-presenter Teach the Shoah’s professional storytelling director Jennifer Zunikoff and the Chief Curator of the YIVO Online Museum Karolina Ziulkoski will guide you in using storytelling techniques to bring Beba’s story to life.

No storytelling experience needed.

Professional development credit available.

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


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workshop

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


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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


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Thu, Jul 28
02:00PM ET
Thu, Jul 28
02:00PM ET

book club

LBI Book Club - Rheinsberg: A Picture Book for Lovers

About the Book

Rheinsberg: A Picture Book for Lovers is a story by Kurt Tucholsky. Written in 1912, it was the journalist's first literary work. The plot is a weekend trip of a young, unmarried pair of lovers from Berlin to Schloss Rheinsberg. The work, written in a light ironic style, was immediately successful. It was adapted to a film, an audio play, and audio books. It was translated into English in 2015.

The short tale describes a weekend trip of two young people who recently met, Claire and Wolfgang. They escape the city of Berlin where they live and work, for the rural Rheinsberg. They arrive by train, visit Schloss Rheinsberg, and spend the next days exploring the idyllic countryside, posing as a married couple so they can share a hotel room at night. After a final stroll through the park, they return home, to "the big city ... grey days and longing telephone conversations, secretive afternoons, work and all the happiness of their great love."

About the Author

Kurt Tucholsky was one of the most important journalists of the Weimar Republic. As a politically engaged journalist and temporary co-editor of the weekly magazine Die Weltbühne, he proved himself to be a social critic in the tradition of Heinrich Heine. He was simultaneously a satirist, an author of satirical political revues, a songwriter and a poet. He saw himself as a left-wing democrat and pacifist and warned against anti-democratic tendencies – above all in politics, the military – and the threat of National Socialism. His fears were confirmed when the Nazis came to power in January 1933. In May of that year, he was among the authors whose works were banned as "un-German" and burned; he was also among the first authors and intellectuals whose German citizenship was revoked. Fleeing to Sweden, he committed suicide in Gothenburg in 1935.

About our Guest
Eva C. Schweitzer works as a book author, journalist and publisher in Berlin and New York. She has published a total of twelve books, including two novels, her doctoral thesis on Times Square, and the short story collection Manhattan Moments. As a correspondent, she writes for various German newspapers, focusing on entertainment and literature. She began her career in Berlin as an editor of the taz and the Tagesspiegel. In 1992 she was awarded the Theodor Wolff Prize for her journalistic work.

In 2010, she founded Berlinica Publishing in Berlin and New York, which brings literature in translation to America, including that of Tucholsky and Ernst Toller, and soon Egon Erwin Kisch, as well as contemporary authors. Most recently, she researched the story of Tucholsky's family after the rise of the Nazis who fled to America, France, Italy and Holland, through a grant from the Kurt Tucholsky Foundation and the German Literary Archives in Marbach.

Ticket Info: Free; register at lbi.org/events/book-club-rheinsberg/ for a Zoom link


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