CANCELLED - Mar 3: "Fair Ladies, Learn and Laugh": The First Yiddish Books

The UJA Committee for Yiddish and The Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University present a unique virtual talk with literary historian Dr. Suzanne Klingenstein



"Fair Ladies, Learn and Laugh": The First Yiddish Books, 1534-1546


Sunday, March 3, 2024, 1:00pm ET



It will be rescheduled at a later date, and a notice will go out in advance of the date. We thank you for your understanding and look forward to having you join us for this exciting presentation in the future.


*This program will be in English.*

Yiddish only appeared in print sixty-five years after the first Hebrew book was produced in Rome in 1469. But when the first Yiddish book appeared in Cracow in 1534, it opened our eyes to a vibrant world in which Yiddish played a vital role in keeping the Jews together. The first ten Yiddish books, that were printed in Kracow, Isny (in the foothills of the Alps), Augsburg, Zurich and Venice, were the results of extraordinary efforts. Although the lives of their heroic printers mirror all the problems plaguing European Jewish society, the books themselves were upbeat, funny, deep and instructive. This lavishly illustrated lecture explores what the earliest Yiddish books can tell us about Jewish life in 16th century Europe.


Susanne Klingenstein has taught literature, writing and humanistic studies at Harvard College, MIT and Harvard Medical School. She is the author of two books in English about the integration of Jewish scholars into American Universities, and two books in German about Yiddish literature: a biography of Mendele Moykher Sforim (2014) and the recent volume Not Everyone Can Be a Scholar: A Cultural History of Yiddish Literature, 1105-1597 (2022). She also translated important works by Mendele, Chaim Grade, and Dovid Bergelson into German.  Since 2020 she has been a Research Associate at the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University, working on the second volume of her cultural history of Yiddish literature.

Co-presented by The Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University
and the UJA Committee for Yiddish