Long time in Coming, Fast but not Furious: The Miracle of Modern Yiddish Culture

When and Where

Monday, February 26, 2024 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Jackman Humanities Building
170 St. George Street, 1st floor


Dov-Ber Kerler


Israel and Sala Disenhouse Memorial Lecture

Dov-Ber Kerler (Indiana University)

Date: Monday, February 26 at 4 PM

Location: JHB100 (170 St. George Street)


Long time in Coming, Fast but not Furious: The Miracle of Modern Yiddish Culture


Recently, the age and provenance of Yiddish were pushed to a much later period than it was argued for and reclaimed by the early 20th century Yiddish scholarship. However irrespective of whether it was long time in coming, or very long time in coming, modern Yiddish – yesterday’s vernacular Jargon – rose to the level of a modern full-fledged social, national and international medium of literature, scholarship, arts and education. Still, its rise as a socially, aesthetically, and politically vibrant phenomenon occurred, it seems, despite all odds. Perhaps precisely because all these odds it was also tragically short lived (and often not for natural causes). This talk will focus on several issues pertaining to its long or not so long prehistory, and its rapid and astonishingly fast (though not furious) modernization.


Dov-Ber Kerler is the Cohn Chair in Yiddish Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. He has taught Yiddish as well as courses on Yiddish literature, culture and scholarship in Jerusalem, Oxford, Moscow, and Vilnius. And he is directing the Indiana University AHEYM project curating its hundrets of in-depth Yiddish interview by the last native Yiddish speakers in Ukraine, Moldova, Romania. Hungary, and Poland recorded and collected by the Project in 2002-2017. Moscow-born, Jerusalem raised, and Oxford trained he is a son of a major Yiddish poet Yosef Kerler. Dov-Ber has been publishing his own original Yiddish poetry since 1993, in addition to many scholarly and general publications (mostly in Yiddish). To date, since 1996, six collections of his poetry have been published in Britain and Israel, including a joint volume of his and his father’s poems, entitled “Shpigl–ksav” (Words in a Mirror, Jerusalem 1996).


This lecture is free and open to the public. Seating is on a first come first serve basis. If you require any accessibility accommodations, please contact cjs.toronto@utoront.ca.


Contact Information

Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies


Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies


170 St. George Street, 1st floor