7 2024

From Yiddish Book Rescue to Yiddish renaissance

7:00PM - 9:00PM  

Congregation Beth Israel 1972 N W Flanders St
Portland, OR 97209
5032221069 tracy@bethisrael-pdx.org

Contact Tracy Alifanz

From Yiddish Book rescue to Yiddish Renaissance
with Susan Bronson, Executive Director of the Yiddish Book Center
Sunday, April 7, 4:00 PM
In Person and Online
Congregation Beth Israel

The Yiddish Book Center’s founder Aaron Lansky was 24 years old in 1980 when he took what he thought would be a two-year leave of absence from graduate school to rescue unwanted and discarded Yiddish books. At the time, scholars estimated there were just 70,000 Yiddish volumes left to be saved, but Lansky and his young colleagues recovered that number in the first six months and went on to collect more than 1.5 million volumes. Forty-four years later, the Yiddish Book Center is one of the largest and liveliest Jewish organizations in America. Recovered books have been digitized and posted online, where they’ve been downloaded five million times. Translators trained by the Center are discovering neglected treasures and the Center’s White Goat Press is bringing them to new readers. An oral history project, a new exhibition, and online and in-person educational programs are transforming understanding of Jewish culture and history. Susan will offer an account of the Yiddish Book Center’s unlikely story, and ask why Yiddish, once denigrated, sentimentalized, and relegated to obscurity, is speaking louder today than ever before.