Displacement & Creative Resilience in the Modern Jewish Age
Hosted By: YIVO
This talk introduces the Ashkenazic Jewish experience of exile and displacement that began in the late 19th century and which continued through the khurbn years and beyond. It begins with a discussion of Sholem Yankev Abramovich’s (Mendele the Bookseller) 1890 short story “Shem & Japheth on the Train” as a harbinger of the unsettled times to come and of the necessity to identify new strategies for Jewish continuity. It focuses specifically on how Yiddish writers/activists/intellectuals contended with the mass migrations and the (economic, political, cultural, and social) transformations of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It then discusses—with references to Di Algemeyne Entsiklopedye—how Yiddishists embarked upon efforts to identify ways to ensure Jewish continuity in an age of endless rupture, all the while redefining and reconsidering what comprises Jewish peoplehood.
About The Speaker:
Barry Trachtenberg is the Rubin Presidential Chair of Jewish History at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. He is the author of The Revolutionary Roots of Modern Yiddish, 1903-1917 (2008, Syracuse); The United States and the Nazi Holocaust: Race, Refuge, and Remembrance (2018, Bloomsbury); and the recently published The Holocaust & the Exile of Yiddish: A History of the Algemeyne Entsiklopedye (Rutgers, 2022).
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