Sunday April 28 2013

A community celebration featuring an afternoon of Yiddish-language lectures, as well as musical and family programming, highlighting contemporary directions in Yiddish studies. Speakers will include Professors Rebecca Margolis, Anna Shternshis, Kalman Weiser, and Sholem Berger, MD. The day includes a special reading for kids of Dr. Seuss and Curious George in Yiddish, and a performance by the MNJCC Klezmer Music Ensemble. The day concludes with an evening CD release concert by Toronto’s Lenka Lichtenberg and her “Fray” ensemble, presenting their contemporary blend of original Yiddish song with world music influences.

• $10 for access to all lectures, payable at the door, cash only

• Kids reading and klezmer performance FREE

• Lenka Lichtenberg concert $25 / $15 for students & Seniors (see below for ticket details)

Yidishtog is presented by Ashkenaz Foundation, Miles Nadal JCC, Committee For Yiddish, Workmen’s Circle, Friends of Yiddish, Winchevsky Centre,  The Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University, and the Al and Malka Green Yiddish Studies Program at the University of Toronto and The Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto.


11:00am          Prof. Rebecca Margolis Lecture
11:30am          Dr. Seuss and Curious George in Yiddish! FREE (ages 2+)
12:15pm          Prof. Anna Shternshis Lecture
1:15pm            Lunch Break
2:30pm            Dr. Sholem Berger Lecture
3:45pm            Prof. Kalman Weiser Lecture
5:00pm            MNJCC Klezmer Ensemble performance
8:00pm            Lenka Lichtenberg CD Release Concert


11am – MNJCC room 318
Prof. Rebecca Margolis “Yidishe Kultur in Kanade: Nekhtn un Haynt”

Yiddish has flourished in Canada during the last century and continues to have a vibrant life. This talk will examine facets of Yiddish cultural life in Canada, notably education, the press and literature, theatre, and as a daily spoken language.

Rebecca Margolis grew up in Montreal, where she learned Yiddish in the JPPS Jewish day school system. She studied Yiddish at McGill and received her MA-PhD in Yiddish Studies from Columbia University. Her research centres on Yiddish culture in Canada, in particular in Montreal. Her book, Jewish Roots, Canadian Soil: Yiddish Culture in Montreal, 1905-1945, was the recipient of a Canadian Jewish Book Award as well as a J.I. Segal Prize.

11:30am – MNJCC Aerobics Studio
Dr. Seuss and Curious George…in Yiddish
(with some English, for flavor)

Read by Dr. Sholem Berger

For ages 2+ MNJCC

12:15pm – MNJCC room 318
Lecture 2 – Prof. Anna Shternshis “Soviet Yiddish Culture in the Post-Soviet Jewish Life”

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Jewish culture in the post-Soviet space began to transform. With 1.6 million Jews leaving the country and settling in Israel, United States, Canada and Germany, the Russian Jewish culture became transnational too. Accompanied with video-clips, the lecture will discuss Yiddish popular culture as it developed in post-Soviet  Moscow and other centres of Russian Jewish Diaspora.

Anna Shternshis is the Al and Malka Green Associate Professor of Yiddish and Diaspora studies and the Associated Director of the Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. She holds a D.Phil degree in Modern Languages and Literatures from the University of Oxford. Shternshis is an author of “Soviet and Kosher: Jewish Popular Culture in the Soviet Union, 1923 – 1939” (Indiana University Press, 2006), and articles on Soviet and post-Soviet Jewish culture and identity. She is currently working on two book projects. One is entitled “Jewish Heart in the Soviet Body”, examining the life of the Soviet Jews born in the 1920s. The other one is devoted to the evacuation and escape of Soviet Jewish Civilians during World War II.

Lunch break

2:30pm – MNJCC room 318
Lecture 3 – Dr. Sholem Berger “After the Kids Sleep: Confessions of a Yiddish Poet”

Imagine there is a language spoken by millions of people who are largely unaware of the literature that has been written in it – and, conversely, that the few thousand cognoscenti, who know and love its poetry, rarely if ever speak the language on a daily basis. That’s the situation Yiddish poetry is in. The paradoxes and contradictions are heightened all the more by my life in Baltimore, incongruously part of a mini-community (several families) of Yiddish speakers, surrounded by English speakers and minutes away from a Jewish community which neither knows nor cares about what I write. I will talk about these paradoxes and how they underlie my poetry.

Zackary Sholem Berger is a poet, translator, and short-story writer in English and Yiddish. In the small world of Yiddish readers he is probably best known as the translator of The Cat in the Hat, Curious George, and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish into Yiddish, published by he and his wife (www.yiddishcat.com). In 2011, his first book of Yiddish and English poetry, Not in the Same Breath/Zog Khotsh Lehavdl, was published to acclaim and even some sales. His second book is due out this year. In his parallel existence, he is an internal medicine physician and researcher, with a book coming out in July entitled Talking to Your Doctor. Sholem, his wife, and his three Yiddish-speaking kids live in Baltimore, USA.

3:45pm – MNJCC room 318
Lecture 4 – Prof. Kalman Weiser “The Post-Holocaust History of Yiddish”

One of the contemporary paradoxes of Yiddish is that now that millions of Jews no longer speak it daily, it finally enjoys the respect that it was so frequently denied when it was in its fullest bloom. Yiddish has gone from being the often disparaged language of the uneducated Jewish masses to the language primarily of Hasidim and of Jewish Studies professors – two groups who seldom talk to teach other. It is taught in universities not only in Israel and North America but in Germany, Poland, and other European countries. And it is even has official minority language status in countries such as Sweden and Moldova. How did lowly Yiddish find a home in such lofty perches?  Where is it heading? Join Kalman Weiser for an exploration of how Yiddish became ‘balebatish’ (respectable).

Kalman Weiser is the Silber Family Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at York University, where he teaches Jewish history and culture, and has recently been cross-appointed to University of Toronto to participate in its Yiddish Studies program.  A native of New York City, he completed his doctorate at Columbia University. He is the co-editor of Czernowitz at 100: the First Yiddish Language Conference in Historical Perspective (2010) and the author of Jewish People, Yiddish Nation (2011), which won a Canadian Jewish Book Award for scholarship. He is currently working on projects about Jewish naming practices in Eastern Europe and the life and career of the pioneering Yiddish scholar Max Weinreich.

5pm – MNJCC room 318
Concert by MNJCC Klezmer Ensemble

8pm – Glenn Gould Studio, 250 Front Street West
Lenka Lichtenberg “Embrace” CD Release Concert

Celebrate a daring new album from Lenka Lichtenberg’s all-star world music group, Fray, where Yiddish poetry, English verse and Hebrew prayer meet Middle Eastern, Indian and Brazilian grooves with lively, stirring results. Featuring Lenka Lichtenberg, the Canadian Folk Music Awards’ 2012 Traditional Singer of the Year, with her six-piece band of the country’s top Indo-Canadian and world jazz artists including John Gzowski, Chris Gartner, Alan Hetherington, Ravi Naimpally and Ernie Tollar plus surprise guests!

Tickets: $25 | $15 for students / seniors
416-872-4255 | www.cbc.ca/glenngould
Please note: service charges apply. To avoid additional fees, tickets may also be purchased at the Box Office in person, Roy Thomson Hall Box Office, 60 Simcoe Street

For details and music visit www.lenkalichtenberg.com

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