"How to Tell Your Fortune in Yiddish," with Samuel Glauber



CFY and the California Institute for Yiddish Language & Culture Present an Online English-Language Talk with SAMUEL GLAUBER



How to Tell Your Fortune in Yiddish

ווי מען לאָזט זיך פאָראויסזאָגן דאָס מזל אויף ייִדיש


Recorded live on Zoom, Sunday, June 2, 2024

The rapid modernization of Jewish society in late-nineteenth-century Eastern Europe brought with it many uncertainties about the future. Perhaps in response to these changes, fortune-telling enjoyed great popularity among Jews in Eastern Europe during these years. In this lecture, Samuel Glauber introduces the forgotten genre of Yiddish fortune-telling manuals. Published in dozens of editions in the late-nineteenth century yet almost entirely forgotten today, these manuals instruct users on how to read palms, interpret dreams, and cast lots to reveal the future. By closely reading these enigmatic texts, we learn about the lives of the Jews who used them and the questions and concerns that led them to fortune-telling.

Samuel Glauber (www.samglauberzimra.com) is a scholar of modern Judaism specializing in East European Jewry and its diaspora communities. He is a PhD candidate in the Department of Jewish Thought at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, where he is writing a dissertation exploring Jewish engagement with modern occult currents in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth century Eastern Europe. His research develops an interdisciplinary approach to processes of religious and social change with a focus on the religious landscape of Eastern Europe; particular research interests include Jewish occultism, modern religious thought, and Yiddish press culture. His work has appeared in, among other journals, Nashim, Jewish Historical StudiesIn gevebTradition, and Kabbalah, and he is co-editor of Hillel Zeitlin, In the Secret Place of the Soul: Three Essays (Jerusalem–Berlin: Blima Books, 2021).