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Why Tevye Remains The Greatest Modern Jewish Hero

Hosted By: Park Avenue Synagogue

Liberal or conservative? Culturally literate or behind the times? Funny or tragic? Beyond the Broadway musical and Hollywood film, who really was Sholem Aleichem’s classic hero and how does his message remain relevant more than 125 years after he first appeared in print? Answer these questions and more as we explore the birth of modern Yiddish literature from one of its most dynamic interpreters.

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Teacher

Justin Cammy

A literary and cultural historian with research and teaching interests in Yiddish literature, Eastern European Jewish history, and Zionism and contemporary Israel, Justin Cammy is director of the Program in Jewish Studies at Smith College in Massachusetts and summer director of the Naomi Prawer Kadar International Yiddish summer Program at Tel Aviv University. He holds a doctorate in Near Eastern languages and civilizations from Harvard University and a bachelor's in Middle Eastern studies from McGill University. In addition to his courses on Jewish literature, history and politics, Cammy has guided Smith students and alumnae abroad to study the religious and political history of Jerusalem, environmental challenges in Israel, the history and memory of Yiddishland, and Prague through the Ages. In recent years Cammy has served as research fellow at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem (2014); Webb Family Visiting Scholar at the Goldreich Institute for Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture at Tel Aviv University (2013–14); and Mellon Senior Scholar on the Holocaust and visiting professor of English at UCLA (2009). He is a regular guest faculty member at Yiddish summer programs at Tel Aviv University and the Yiddish Book Center. In 2006, Cammy was awarded Smith College’s Sherrerd Prize for Distinguished Teaching.
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Host

Park Avenue Synagogue

Through spirited prayer, study, observance and acts of kindness we aspire to foster deep connections with each other, our Torah, our God, the people and State of Israel and our shared humanity. In practicing a Judaism filled with love, literacy, reverence, compassion, and joy, we strive to make our ancient tradition compelling and welcoming to contemporary Jewry and to serve as a light unto our fellow Jews and the nations.
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