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Events at Stanford

“The Criminal Underworld in Yiddish Literature”
Professor Avraham Novershtern, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
8PM, Thursday, May 12, 2011, Koret Pavilion at the Ziff Center (Hillel at Stanford)

      The Jewish criminal underworld has been a recurring motif in modern Yiddish literature, from its beginnings in the mid-19th century to stories written in modern-day Israel. Some of the works devoted to this topic became popular even beyond the realm of Yiddish letters. Sholem Asch’s play “God of Vengeance,” for instance, was the first Yiddish play to enjoy considerable success on the world stage, being produced in German, Russian, and English, among other languages. In more than one case, the actors in these productions were put on trial for charges of obscenity.
      What are the reasons for this unrelenting interest in the Jewish underworld? How was this topic shaped in Yiddish literature? How did it present the range of Jewish criminals—thieves, prostitutes, and gangsters? This talk offered by Prof. Avraham Novershtern of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will address these questions, while situating them in their larger cultural and literary contexts.

For a PDF version of the flier.

This event is free and open to the community.
Closest parking at Tresidder
For directions see
For more information, please contact Isaac Bleaman.


The Clara Sumpf Yiddish Lecture Series:

The Stanford Leyenkrayz
The Stanford Yiddish Reading Circle (Leyenkrayz) meets on Friday afternoons to discuss
selections from Yiddish prose and poetry.
To join the e-mail list and receive updates about future meetings, please subscribe here.

The Stanford Klezmer Band
Visit their website for upcoming performances and workshops.

Recent Events

“Gender and Nation in 1945 Yiddish Poems By Kadya Molodowsky and Malka Heifetz Tussman”
Dr. Kathryn Hellerstein, Associate Professor of Germanic Languages, University of Pennsylvania
Wednesday, May 4, 2011 12:00 noon | Bldg. 360 - Conference Room

SYNPOSIS: In 1945, both Molodowsky’s poem, “Eyl khanun” (Merciful God) and Tussman’s “Tsu dir miryam” (To You, Miriam) asked how a Jewish poet could continue to write in Yiddish after the speakers of that language had been destroyed. Framing this question with allusions to sacred texts and renouncing faith in God’s authority, both poets call into question the continued existence of the idea of a Jewish nation. Yet the gendered terms in which each poet writes raise further questions about the place and power of women as Yiddish poets.

Yitskhok Niborski, "Sutskever: Der lebediker poet" [Abraham Sutzkever: The Living Poet]: Video


Jeffrey Shandler, Professor of Jewish Studies, Rutgers University

Monday, February 28, 2011 8:00 PM
Kehillah Hall, Koret Pavilion at the Ziff Center
Hillel at Stanford, 565 Mayfield Avenue
"Bank Machines, Board Games, and Books: The Yiddish Consumer Culture of Contemporary Hasidim" (English)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011 12:00 noon
Bldg. 200 - Room 307
"Singer on the Screen: The Image of Isaac Bashevis Singer in Film and Television" [Der imazh fun bashevis-zinger afn ekran] (Yiddish)


Naomi Seidman, Professor of Jewish Culture, Graduate Theological Union

Wednesday, 02/17/2010 | 8:00 PM
Levinthal Hall - Humanities Center
Stanford University
"The Rise of the Jewish Novel and the Sexual Transformation of Ashkenaz" (English)
Co-sponsor: Stanford Humanities Center

Thursday, 02/18/2010 | 12:00 PM
Margaret Jacks Hall (Bldg. 460) - Terrace Room
Stanford University
"The Yiddish Gospel of Matthew [Di bsure toyve loyt Matye]" (Yiddish)


Samuel Kassow, Charles H. Northam Professor of History, Trinity College

Tuesday, February 24, 2009 12:00 noon
Kehillah Hall, Koret Pavilion at the Ziff Center
Hillel at Stanford, 565 Mayfield Avenue
The Image of Vilna in Modern Jewish History (Yiddish)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 8:00 pm
Kehillah Hall, Koret Pavilion at the Ziff Center
Hillel at Stanford, 565 Mayfield Avenue
Culture, History and Catastrophe: Emanuel Ringelblum in the Warsaw Ghetto (English)

October 2005 at Stanford: Yiddish! Music! Poetry!