Sun Apr 25 2021


11:00 am - 12:45 pm


Presented by KlezCalifornia
Co-presented by Jewish Community Library and Chochmat HaLev

Yiddish: Biography of a Language, a conversation between the author, Jeffrey Shandler, and Eitan Kensky

Jeffrey Shandler’s new book, Yiddish: Biography of a Language (Oxford University Press, 2020) presents the story of Yiddish in the unusual form of a biographical profile. In conversation with Eitan Kensky, Shandler will discuss how telling the story of Yiddish in this way offers revealing insights into the language’s dynamic relationship with its speakers and their culture. Together Shandler and Kensky will explore the wide range of symbolic values that Yiddish speakers and others have made in the language. 

The event begins 11am PDT (2pm Eastern, 7pm London, 8pm Paris, 9pm Tel Aviv).

Read Howard Freedman’s book review in J. The Jewish News of Northern California.

Jeffrey Shandler is Distinguished Professor of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University. His publications include Adventures in Yiddishland: Postvernacular Language and Culture (2005) and Shtetl: A Vernacular Intellectual History (2014). Among other titles, he is editor of Awakening Lives: Autobiographies of Jewish Youth in Poland before the Holocaust (2002) and translator of Emil and Karl, a Holocaust novel for young readers by Yankev Glatshteyn (2006). 

Eitan Kensky is the Reinhard Family Curator of Judaica and Hebraica at Stanford University Libraries. He holds a PhD in Jewish Studies from Harvard University, and co-founded In Geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies. At Stanford, Eitan is also the programmer for REWIND: The Shenson Retrospective Film Series. In 2020-2021, the series highlights the works of Jewish women filmmakers, from Girlfriends to Hester Street. 

To reserve a space, scroll down to BOOK EVENT, click on NEXT, and complete the registration form. Registration ends the day of the event at 7am PDT (10am Eastern, 3pm London, 4pm Paris, 5pm Tel Aviv). Those who have registered on time will receive Zoom sign-in information by 8:10am PDT that day. If you have not heard by then, first check your spam folder, then write a.s.a.p. to Please do not wait until just before the event begins to notice whether you have the sign-in info.

If you have not registered on time, write; we cannot promise to notice your email if you contact us after the deadline.

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KlezCalifornia relies on donations from participants to cover the costs of online lectures, workshops, kumzitsn, play readings, and more. Donations of $25 (or whatever you can afford) are greatly appreciated to enable us to continue to connect you with Yiddish culture and to assist presenters, many of whom have lost most of their income.