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Yiddish: Past and Present with Prof. Justin Cammy

When Yiddish Was Young: Vilna’s Last Generation

Sunday November 4, 2018 from 3:00-4:00 PM
Congregation B’nai Israel

$18.00 per person; Free to Members of  CSP and CBI with RSVP before November 2, 2018

Click here to register. 

Questions? Contact Arie Katz of the Community Scholar Program at or 949.682.4040.

Where and what was Yiddishland? Return with us to a time and place when Yiddish was the language of both the Jewish street and of its poets and dreamers. In this talk, Professor Justin Cammy will explore the ways in which Yiddish writers of the 1930s in Vilna, the unofficial capital of Yiddishland, negotiated the political anxieties and cultural possibilities of what some now refer to as “the last generation.”

Justin Cammy is a literary and cultural historian with research and teaching interests in Yiddish literature, Eastern European Jewish history, and Zionism and contemporary Israel. He holds a doctorate in Near Eastern languages and civilizations from Harvard University and a bachelor’s in Middle Eastern studies from McGill University. In addition to appointments in Jewish studies and comparative literature, he also is a member of the programs in Middle Eastern studies, and Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian studies. His publications range from essays on canonical Yiddish writers to scholarly translations of Yiddish literature to critical introductions to new editions of works by Yiddish writers and memoirists. His book on Young Vilna, the last Yiddish literary group in interwar Poland, is forthcoming. He is currently working on an English edition of Abraham Sutzkever’s Vilna Ghetto, one of the earliest Yiddish Holocaust memoirs to describe the destruction of a Jewish city. In addition to his courses on Jewish literature, history and politics, Cammy has guided Smith students and alumnae abroad to study the religious and political history of Jerusalem, environmental challenges in Israel, the history and memory of Yiddishland, and Prague through the Ages. In recent years Cammy has served as research fellow at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem (2014); Webb Family Visiting Scholar at the Goldreich Institute for Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture at Tel Aviv University (2013-14); and Mellon Senior Scholar on the Holocaust and visiting professor of English at UCLA (2009). He is a regular guest faculty member at Yiddish summer programs at Tel Aviv University and the Yiddish Book Center. In 2006, Cammy was awarded Smith College’s Sherrerd Prize for Distinguished Teaching.