The YIVO Institute and Bard College are pleased to announce the second year of the Winter Program on Ashkenazi Civilization. This program, the first of its kind in the U.S., presents an integrated curriculum in the culture, history, language, and literature of East European Jews. Courses are designed to attract members of the general public, as well as undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. YIVO and Bard College are also planning an M.A. degree program in East European Jewish Studies.
The 2013 YIVO-Bard Winter Program on Ashkenazi Civilization will take place from January 8-January 24. The program will consist of seven mini-courses, taught by leading academics. Students may enroll in up to two courses. Students have the option of receiving credit from Bard College.
Registration starts October 1, 2012.
Monday, January 7, 2013 at 7:00pm: Special Keynote Address by Jonathan Brent (YIVO Executive Director): "Dubnov, Freud & Husserl: The Creation of Modern Consciousness in Eastern European Jewish Culture." Read more...
Classes meet Tuesdays and Thursdays, January 8-24, 2013. Students may enroll in up to two classes, provided they meet at different times. Courses will be held at YIVO, located at 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY.
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AFTERNOON SESSION: 3:00pm - 5:30pm
"Hasidism and Other Religious Trends in East European Jewry"
This course will survey the varieties of religious creativity in East European Jewry between the 16th and 20th centuries. It will explore how various religious movements responded to the changed conditions of Jewish life, including the rise of secularity, and of secular Jewish movement. Topics will include: Moshe Isserles and Polish rabbinic literature, popular piety and literature (moralistic books, tekhines [women’s prayers]), the rise of Hasidism, the Vilna Gaon and Lithuanian Talmudism, secularization in Jewish life, the Mussar Movement, Religious Zionism, Agudath Israel and the transformation of Orthodoxy.
David E. Fishman is Professor of Jewish History at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and Senior Research Scholar at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. His books include Russia’s First Modern Jews, The Rise of Modern Yiddish Culture, and a volume of the Yiddish writings of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Droshes un ksovim. Prof. Fishman is also director of Project Judaica, a program in Jewish studies in Moscow co-sponsored by JTS and Russian State University for the Humanities. He is currently working on a book about the rescue of Jewish cultural treasures in Vilna during and after the Nazi occupation, based on his YIVO-published essay Embers Plucked From the Fire.
"The Underworld in Yiddish Literature"
Far from the popular image of pious rural shtetl dwellers, East European Jews in the modern era were actually concentrated in large cities, and quite a few made their living in less than upstanding ways. From gangsters in Warsaw, prostitutes in Vilna and smugglers near the Prussian border, the range of criminals in Yiddish literature is impressive. We will read and discuss the first-hand account of Urke Nakhalnik, as well as literary portrayals by Oyzer Varshavski, Yosef Opatoshu, Fishl Bimko and Avrom Karpinovitsh. The atmosphere of the interwar period in Poland is set by the satirist Der tunkeler. Class discussions and all reading material will be in Yiddish.
Paul (Hershl) Glasser is Dean of the Max Weinreich Center and Senior Research Associate in Yiddish Language at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. He received his doctorate in Yiddish Linguistics from Columbia University in 1990. He has co-edited original Yiddish works and is editor of the English translation of Max Weinreich's 4-volume masterpiece History of the Yiddish Language, published in 2008 by Yale University Press. His research interests include Yiddish dialects, morphology, and historical and comparative linguistics. Dr. Glasser also serves on the editorial board of several Yiddish publications.
"Masterpieces of Yiddish Literature"
In this course, we will explore the stories, plays, and sections of novels of some of the classic Yiddish writers of the late 19th to mid-20th century: Sholom Aleichem, Anski, Avraham Reisen, Lamed Shapiro, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Chaim Grade. Some classic Yiddish films will be screened, and we will compare cinematic and literary versions in class discussions.
Among Curt Leviant’s 26 books are Masterpieces of Hebrew Literature and a translation of Yudl Rosenberg’s Hebrew classic, The Golem. He has translated five volumes of Sholom Aleichem’s works, Chaim Grade’s novels, The Agunah and The Yeshiva, and books by Avraham Reisen, Lamed Shapiro, I.B. Singer, and the fabulist, Eliezer Shtaynbarg. Mr. Leviant has won writing fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, The Jerusalem Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Several of his seven critically acclaimed novels have been translated into major European languages. His most recent fiction is the just-published, Zix Zexy Ztories.
"Jewish-Christian Relations in Pre-modern Eastern European History, Historiography, and Memory"
Until the Second World War, Jews in Eastern Europe were the largest Jewish community in the world. From the 16th century, their impact on Jewish culture and society has been tremendous, from shaping one of the most important codes of Jewish law, the Shulhan Arukh, in the 16th/17th centuries, to shaping the ideology of the Zionist movement at the turn of the 20th century. Yet, the history of this important Jewish community has been vastly misunderstood. This course offers Jewish history in Eastern Europe that takes us beyond the (legendary) shtetl and into a complex, more textured world of Jews living among Christians. We will explore the legal framework in which Jews lived, their relations with Christian authories, both secular and ecclesiastical, and their daily interactions with their neighbors.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS CLASS MEETS BEGINNING JANUARY 15. IT RUNS TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, AND THURSDAY, JAN 15th, 16th, 17th, AND JAN 22nd, 23rd, and 24th, 3:00-5:30pm.
Magda Teter is a scholar of early modern religious and cultural history, and is Professor of History and Director of the Jewish and Israel Studies Program at Wesleyan University. Her first book is entitled Jews and Heretics in Catholic Poland: A Beleaguered Church in the Post Reformation Era (2006). Her most recent book, Sinners on Trial: Jews and Sacrilege after the Reformation, was published in 2011. She also serves on the editorial boards of the AJS Review and Polin.
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EVENING SESSION: 6:30pm - 9:00pm
"Jews in Soviet History"
This course gives a broad overview of Soviet Jewish history, with emphasis on key events from the period 1917-1991. Moving from World War I and the revolutions to the decline of the shtetl and of traditional Jewish life, students will then address Jewish agricultural colonization, World War II, Stalinist repressions, and the era of emigration. Special attention will be paid to Soviet-related activities of American Jewish organizations.
Born in Ukraine, Gennady Estraikh served as managing editor of the Moscow Yiddish literary journal Sovetish Heymland from 1988-91. In 1991, he moved to Oxford, England, where he received his doctorate and taught at the Oxford Institute of Yiddish Studies and the School of Oriental and African Studies. Since 2003 he has served as Associate Professor of Yiddish Studies at New York University. He is the author of In Harness: Yiddish Writers’ Romance With Communism (2005) and Yiddish in the Cold War (2008), among other publications.
"The Yiddish Stage in America"
The theater played a major role in the rich Yiddish subculture of the immigrant Jewish community in America. It was an important communal social hub where the immigrant Jews basked in their own language and culture and watched their American experience reflected and negotiated through a Jewish lens. In the playhouses they learned a smattering of Jewish history and grappled with Jewish nationalism, labor relations, women’s rights, religious observance, acculturation, and Americanization. In this course we will discuss the major themes of the story of Yiddish theater, focusing on New York, which was universally regarded as the world capital of the Yiddish theater. Using playscripts and historical materials we will discuss central themes such as the use of folklore in drama, realism and the avant-garde, the art theater movement, family drama, political theater, old world vs. new, religion and assimilation. We will be reading plays by Goldfaden, S. Ansky, Jacob Gordin, Sholom Asch, H. Leivick, and Osip Dymow, among others.
Edna Nahshon is professor of Hebrew and Theater at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Dr. Nahshon's specialty is the intersection of theater and Jewishness. Her books include Jews and Theater in an Intercultural Context (2012), Jewish Theatre: A Global View (2009), Jews and Shoes (2008), From the Ghetto to the Melting Pot: Israel Zangwill's Jewish Plays (2006), and Yiddish Proletarian Theatre: The Art and Politics of the Artef, 1925–1940 (1998). Her forthcoming book (co-authored with Prof. Michael Shapiro), discusses Jewish responses to The Merchant of Venice. Dr. Nahshon is the guest curator of "Second Avenue Meets Broadway," an exhibition scheduled for Fall 2014 at the Museum of the City of New York.
"Jewish Folk Music in Eastern Europe"
In this course we will look at the history and varieties of Yiddish song, Klezmer music and Hassidic song and nigun. We are very fortunate that YIVO houses world-renowned collections of these genres on record and field recordings, and we will familiarize ourselves with their holdings. The class will examine not only the texts of songs, but also look at the life of the singer and klezmer musican, and the styles of Yiddish singing and klezmer instrumental music.
Itzik Gottesman is currently the Associate Editor at the Yiddish Forward newspaper. He has a PhD in Folklore from the University of Pennsylvania and is the author of Defining the Yiddish Nation: The Jewish Folklorists of Poland (2003).
For credit: $1200 per course
Non-credit, YIVO Members and Seniors: $175 per course
Non-credit, non-members: $250 per course
CREDIT & APPLICATION INFORMATION
Students enrolled for credit will receive one credit per course from Bard College.
To apply, for credit, please visit:
To apply, non-credit, please download and fill out the PDF application form below:
2013 Winter Application (non-credit) (Right Click > Save)
Completed non-credit applications should be returned to email@example.com or mailed to:
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
Attn: Jennifer Young
15 West 16th Street
New York, New York 10011
For more information:
Jennifer Young, Educational Programs Coordinator
Phone: 917.606.8290 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org