YIVO

Working To ‘Construct’ A ‘New Yiddish Culture’

Josh Waletzky is creating a new festival to celebrate a culture in the making.

12/15/2015 (All day)
Culture Editor

As much of the city will be marking the festive end of 2015, the Lower East Side will be alive with Yiddish culture, with a new festival of Yiddish language, music, dance, theater, art and foodways. Yiddish New York, which runs from Dec. 24 to 30, includes workshops, concerts, lectures, dance parties, a visual art exhibition, walking tours in English and a nature tour in Yiddish, and programs for kids and teens, in a variety of venues below 14th Street. The festival is an unusual partnership between the Center for Traditional Music & Dance, the 14th Street Y, Town & Village Synagogue, YIVO, Workmen’s Circle, the Stanton Street Shul and other organizations.

Josh Waletzky: Yiddish New York festival replaces “hole in the calendar” left by KlezKamp.

A New Chapter In Anne Frank’s Story

Anne Frank has become a metonymy, both a symbol and a shorthand for the Holocaust. Her youthful diary, hopeful, funny, frightened but stalwart, has been a source of inspiration to millions of readers worldwide. Still, after viewing the new film, “No Asylum: The Untold Chapter of Anne Frank's Story,” and hearing the details of her post-diary life and eventual death in the camps, I wonder: If Anne Frank had survived, would her subsequent writings more closely mirror the darkness of Elie Wiesel’s “Night” than the hopefulness of her diary.

Anne Frank modeling a new coat. United States Holocaust Museum. Courtesy Eva Schloss

An Old Vitality, Renewed

It was doubly fitting that Asa Zuskin Perelman, visiting from her home in Israel, spoke earlier this month at the Center for Jewish History. Her talk, co-sponsored by YIVO, was on her father, the famed Russian-Jewish actor Benjamin Zuskin, and the book she has written about his life and art, “The Travels of Benjamin Zuskin" (Syracuse University Press).

Asa Zuskin Perelman at the Center for Jewish History

Bikel’s Gift As An Actor

07/27/2015 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Last week YIVO sent out a very special e-mail. It contained a link to Theodore Bikel’s last public performance, at the organization’s 13th Annual Heritage Luncheon on June 18. Bikel was the principle honoree, recipient of YIVO’s lifetime achievement award, and in a video clip (which can be seen on YouTube) he sits very erect in his wheelchair, guitar on his lap, singing “Di zun vet aruntergeyn/The Sun Soon Will Be Setting.” The song is a collaboration between the great Yiddish poet Moishe Leib Halpern and composer Ben Yomen, but the English adaptation is by Bikel himself, who sings at one point, “we’ll fly/Leaving earth far below/To a land where all longing does go.”

George Robinson

Digitizing The Jewish Past

02/03/2015 - 19:00
Staff Writer

In 1941 the Nazis destroyed the headquarters of the YIVO Yiddish research institute in Vilna, Lithuania, ransacking the library and archives. Some material was sent to Frankfurt, Germany, to serve as the basis for the Third Reich’s Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question, and some was hidden in Vilna.

Getty Images

Letters From Afar Close Up

The four side-by-side frames shimmer as if blown by a gentle breeze. Scenes begin to flicker before you, like a dreamscape, some in black and white, some in color. Rock-solid, ageless buildings appear, their stone facades immortalized by light and film.

Warsaw street scene; still from Polish home movie, c 1920s - 1930s. From the archives of YIVO

Ghosts In The Sukkah

10/12/2014 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Welcoming guests is a time-honored Jewish custom; we keep our wedding canopies open on all sides, invite others to share our Sabbath and holiday meals, and even set out a cup of wine for Elijah at our seders. On Sukkot, we extend our hospitality even to the dead, making room for our patriarchs, matriarchs, ancient leaders and kings through the joyful ritual known as ushpizin.

Scene from Jennie Romaine and Shane Baker's "The Haunted Sukke." JH Borts

New YIVO Project Digitizes, Reunites Ransacked Pre-War Archive

Trove on Jewish life in Eastern Europe and Russia is going public.

09/28/2014 - 20:00
Staff Writer

Imagine 1,000 years of Jewish history at your fingertips.

The Vilna Project, a seven-year international effort to digitize YIVO’s pre-war archives, launched last week. Getty Images

‘The Queen’ Of Yiddish Song

Remembering YIVO archivist Chana Mlotek, one of the major figures in the revival of klezmer.
11/03/2013 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

When she was interviewed by The Jewish Week in June 2012, the outstanding Yiddishist Chana Mlotek confided that at age 90 she had lost a bit of her ferocious productivity.

Chana Mlotek with her son, Zalmen, center, and husband Joseph in a 1985 photo. Milken Family Archives

New Man, New Tests At YIVO

07/14/2009 - 20:00
Staff Writer

The position of executive director of the YIVO Institute of Jewish Research is not one Jonathan Brent sought out.

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