In the midst of World War II, a small group of scholars who had gathered at the YIVO Institute’s New York headquarters announced plans to create a “Museum of the Homes of the Past,” which would present to American visitors the richness of East European Jewish life. But after spending more than two years collecting hundreds of items for the museum, the project was abandoned. Why did YIVO set out to create this museum? What was the vision for its displays? Why was this project never realized? And what can we learn from this episode, largely forgotten, which took place at a momentous turning point in Jewish history? Join Center for Jewish History 2021-22 NEH Scholar in Residence Jeffrey Shandler (Rutgers University) in conversation with Kalman Weiser (York University) to address these questions and more.
This program is funded, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Jeffrey Shandler is Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University and the 2021-22 National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar in Residence at the Center for Jewish History. A scholar of modern and contemporary Jewish life, he is the author, editor, or translator of 16 books, most recently Yiddish: Biography of a Language (Oxford University Press, 2020).
Kalman Weiser is the Silber Family Professor of Modern Jewish Studies and the acting director of the Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University. He is the author of several studies about Jewish nationalism and Yiddish linguistics and culture. His most recent co-edited volume is Key Concepts in the Study of Antisemitism (Palgrave, 2021) His book Jewish People, Yiddish Nation: Noah Prylucki and the Folkists In Poland won the 2012 Canadian Jewish Book Award for scholarship. He is also a contributor to and co-editor of Czernowitz at 100: The First Yiddish Conference in Historical Perspective (2010) and therevised and expanded edition of Solomon Birnbaum's Yiddish: a Survey and a Grammar (2016).