Yiddish Book Center

Farklempt At The White House

Yiddish was in the air last week in the nation’s capital as the Yiddish Book Center received the 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service in a White House ceremony. “Nachas” and “kvelling” were the words that most immediately came to mind for Aaron Lansky, the founder and president of the Center, one of ten U.S. institutions to win the honor.

Peter Manseau, Aaron Lansky and Michelle Obama at the White House. Courtesy Institute of Museum and Library Services

Literature On The Lower East Side

Must Jewish literature written by a Jew? How about a book that focuses on a Jewish concern, or characters with a recognizably Jewish neurosis? Is contemporary Hebrew-language literature necessarily Jewish?

Jonathan Rosen, Tova Mirvis and Josh Lambert at the Museum at Eldridge Street.  Sharna Brzycki

'Unclean Lips:' Jews And Obscenity

New book traces role of Jews and obscenity in the pushing of societal boundaries, from Isaiah to Sarah Silverman.

01/23/2014 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Few anti-Semitic remarks have plagued the Jewish people more than the “dirty-Jew” stereotype. “The idea of Jews as differing sexually from Christians had a long history… [I]n the ancient Mediterranean, Jews had been called an ‘obscene people,’ who were ‘prone to lust’ and ‘indisputably carnal’ by Romans,” writes Josh Lambert, academic director of the Yiddish Book Center and visiting assistant professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His new book, Unclean Lips: Obscenity, Jews, and American Culture, illuminates the dangerous origins of this false idea, as well as teasing out salient questions about the Jewish historical role in obscenity law throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Josh Lambert
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