YIVO and the Making of Modern Jewish Culture: Scholarship for the Yiddish Nation

kuznitzbookYIVO and the Making of Modern Jewish Culture: Scholarship for the Yiddish Nation
May 15, 2014

THURSDAY, MAY 15, 2014 | 7pm
Cecile Kuznitz, Bard College; Samuel Kassow, Trinity College; Simon Rabinovitch, Boston University; Steven Zipperstein, Moderator, Stanford University and Kronhill Scholar at YIVO

Special Member Reception at 6pm. To RSVP email Melanie Halpern at mhalpern@yivo.cjh.org. Click here to view membership benefits and to become a YIVO Member.

Admission: General – $10 | YIVO members, seniors and students – $7
Box Office: smarttix.com | 212.868.4444

Join us in celebrating Cecile Kuznitz’s (Bard College) new book, YIVO and the Making of Modern Jewish Culture: Scholarship for the Yiddish Nation (Cambridge University Press), the first history of YIVO. Founded by a group of East European intellectuals after World War I, YIVO became the apex of secular Yiddish culture and the premier institution of Diaspora Nationalism, which fought for Jewish rights in the lands of their residence. This roundtable explores the history of YIVO, its role in Jewish nationalism, and the relationship between Jewish cultural and political work in interwar Eastern Europe.


Cecile Kuznitz is Associate Professor of Jewish history and Director of Jewish Studies at Bard College. She received her Ph.D. in modern Jewish history from Stanford University and previously taught at Georgetown University. She has held fellowships at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, and the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. In summer 2013 she was a Visiting Scholar at Vilnius University. She is the author of several articles on the history of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, the Jewish community of Vilna, and the field of Yiddish Studies. Her book on Yiddish scholarship between the two World Wars titled YIVO and the Making of Modern Jewish Culture is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.

Samuel Kassow, Charles H. Northam Professor of History at Trinity College, is recognized as one of the world’s leading scholars on the Holocaust, and on the Jews of Poland. Kassow was born in 1946 in a DP-camp in Stuttgart, Germany and grew up speaking Yiddish. He immigrated to the United States as a child. Kassow attended the London School of Economics and Princeton University where he earned a PhD in 1976 with a study about students and professors in Tsarist Russia. He is widely known for his 2007 book, Who Will Write Our History? Emanuel Ringelblum, the Warsaw Ghetto, and the Oyneg Shabes Archive (Indiana University Press). He has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research, won numerous awards, and lectured widely.

Simon Rabinovitch is Assistant Professor of History at Boston University, where he has been teaching since 2009. In 2010 he was appointed to a three-year career development professorship named in honor of Peter T. Paul (2010-13). He spent 2011-12 as a Research Fellow at the University of Helsinki’s Collegium for Advanced Studies and as a Visiting Scholar (February/March 2012) at Tel-Aviv University’s Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center. He has been an Associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University since 2010. Rabinovitch’s published work has examined different aspects of Jewish intellectual history, Jewish politics in revolutionary Russia, and the history of folklore and ethnography. He is also an occasional contributor to Haaretz (English) and an editor at The Marginalia Review of Books.

Steven Zipperstein, Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History at Stanford University, is the author of several acclaimed books, including The Jews of Odessa: A Cultural History, 1794-1881 (Stanford University Press), Imagining Russian Jewry: Memory, History, Identity (University of Washington Press) and Elusive Prophet: Ahad Ha’am and the Origins of Zionism (University of California). For sixteen years, between 1991-2007, Dr. Zipperstein was Director of the Taube Center for Jewish Studies at Stanford which emerged as one of the leading programs in the field under his leadership. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Koret Award for contributions to American Jewish life. Dr. Steven Zipperstein is the inaugural Jacob Kronhill Visiting Scholar in History at YIVO for the Spring 2014 semester. During this time, Dr. Zipperstein will lead a graduate seminar on Jewish historiography, and will teach a public evening course, Jews and the Russian Revolution. For more information, contact YIVO’s Director of Education, Jennifer Young, jyoung@yivo.cjh.org, or 917.606.8290.

Venue: YIVO Institute at the Center for Jewish History | 15 West 16th Street – NYC view map

For directions and parking information, click here.

All public programs are wheelchair accessible. A limited number of assistive listening devices are available for deaf and hard of hearing individuals upon request.
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