Your Guide to Yiddish and In geveb at the 2021 AJS Conference

The Editors


The days are get­ting short­er, there’s a chill in the air, and it’s begin­ning to look a lot like the sea­son for the Annu­al Con­fer­ence of the Asso­ci­a­tion for Jew­ish Stud­ies (AJS). Though we’re an online jour­nal, well suit­ed to the vir­tu­al inter­ac­tions many Yid­dish stud­ies schol­ars, trans­la­tors, and learn­ers have been con­duct­ing for the past sev­er­al years, we have missed see­ing faces, hear­ing voic­es, and shar­ing spaces with one anoth­er. We are look­ing for­ward to this oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn about oth­ers’ research and dis­cuss shared projects and new ideas in per­son. The con­fer­ence will be held in Chica­go this year on Decem­ber 19 – 21.

We are aware that many friends and col­leagues will not be able to attend the con­fer­ence this year due to COVID con­cerns, and we are grate­ful that there are many oth­er ways to learn about each other’s work. We hope that this roundup helps those who aren’t attend­ing to stay in the loop and makes it eas­i­er for schol­ars to reach out to oth­ers whose work sounds intrigu­ing and to learn about work in progress in the dynam­ic fields that make up Yid­dish Studies. 

Where to find In geveb at the AJS conference

This year we are very pleased to be sponsoring two roundtables at the AJS conference, each reflecting different aspects of the work In geveb supports and advances:

On Sunday, December 19, 10:00-11:30 am in Sheraton Grand Chicago Millenium Park, we, together with the AJS Women’s Caucus and the Yiddish Book Center, are sponsoring a panel on “Froyen: Women and Yiddish: 25+ Years since the Landmark Conference.” This panel, chaired by our own Sandra Chiritescu, and featuring participants Agnieszka Legutko, Allison Schachter, and Eve Jochnowitz, will reflect on the landmark 1995 National Council of Jewish Women New York Section conference on “Di froyen: Women and Yiddish” held at Hunter College and the Jewish Theological Seminary and the groundwork it laid for decades of scholarship, translation, and activism around Yiddish women’s cultural production as well as the current state of such scholarship.

On Tuesday, December 21, 1:15-2:45 pm in Sheraton Grand Chicago Balloom V, we are sponsoring a panel on the topic “Shared language(s)?: In Search of Critical Identities in Hebrew, Judeo-Spanish, and Yiddish Pedagogy.” This roundtable, chaired by Meyer Weinshel and featuring participants Sara Feldman, Bryan Kirschen, and Orian Zakai, will address the current role of critical identities and pedagogies in Jewish language classrooms. Hebrew, Judeo-Spanish, and Yiddish classrooms are sites of rapidly evolving language usage, due in part to the inevitable connection between language production and contemporary politics. As virtual spaces of learning have also proliferated in recent years, and have become global sites of negotiating meaning of, and in, multiple languages, broader community support of Jewish languages has also led to more diverse classroom spaces that extend beyond the physical university. In addition to discussing these developments in their courses, participants will also highlight any current challenges, namely how structural, political, and cultural impediments remain when navigating old and new forms of language.

In past years, In geveb has hosted an informal kave-sho at the conference. This year, we know that many will be uncomfortable with removing masks to drink coffee together indoors, so we are planning masked office hours: look for the In geveb editors on the third floor of the Sheraton near the Chi Bar from 1:00-3:00 on Monday, December 20. We will be there to gather and talk informally - feel free to share with us your ideas about what you might want to contribute to In geveb, tell us your favorite pieces or what you’d like to see more of, or just introduce yourselves to us and to one another. In geveb aims to be a resource for Yiddish Studies in the broadest sense, which means that if you work with Yiddish and we don’t know you yet, we want to, and we encourage you to introduce yourself to our editorial staff and board at the In geveb roundtable, office hours, or wherever else you encounter us around the conference!

If you will not be at the AJS but would like to connect with our editors, please write to [email protected] to schedule virtual office hours with us.

Below you will find our guide to Yiddish at the conference. We are looking forward to learning from these varied and enriching presentations. If you are one of the presenters included here, we hope you will consider submitting your work to In geveb for publication.

Where to find Yiddish at the AJS Conference

All of the following panels, roundtables, seminars, and lightning sessions promise to have at least one speaker whose presentation engages with Yiddish in a substantive way. We include the name of these presenters and their papers, and in the case of sessions fully devoted to Yiddish topics we include the chairs and respondents. In the case of roundtables and seminars, we have included the names of all participants. Follow the links to the conference schedule for more detail. If you notice something missing or incorrect, please email us!

December 19


“Froyen: Women and Yiddish”: 25+ Years since the Landmark Conference

  • Sandra Nora Chiritescu, Moderator
  • Agnieszka Legutko
  • Eve Jochnowitz
  • Allison Hope Schachter

Assimilation in American Jewish Film

  • Marat Grinberg, “‘I tell you, you will plotz’: Yiddish Cinema and the Crisis of Assimilation in American Jewish Film”

Jewish Journeys from Russia and the Soviet Union

  • Eliyana Adler, Chair & Respondent
  • Rebecca Amy Kobrin, “The Long Silent Revolution: Narrating Russian-Jewish Migration to the Americas, 1870-1989”
  • Tobias Brinkmann, “Wandering Jews or Jewish Migrants? Reassessing the Jewish Migration from Eastern Europe before (and after) 1914”
  • Alexandra Zborovsky, “‘Ventian Waltz, Roman Holiday, American Tragedy:’ Soviet Jewish Expectations and Encounters in Transit”


Fact and Fiction in Off the Derech (OTD) Experiences

  • Michal Raucher, Chair
  • Jessica Lang, “Splitting the Self: The Violence of Truth and Fiction in ‘Unorthodox’”
  • Schneur Zalman Newfield, “The Pitfalls of ‘Salvage Poetics’ in OTD Memoirs”
  • Miriam Moster, “Gender, Divorce, and the OTD Process”

Staging Holocaust Memory

  • Sonia Gollance, “‘I want to be a murderer! A murderer can do what he wants’: Perpetrators and Victims in Tea Arciszewka’s MIRYEML (1958)”

4:45pm to 6:15pm

Women on the Edge: Women’s Rage and Revolution in Russian and Yiddish Literature

  • Sandra Nora Chiritescu, Chair
  • Tetyana Yakovleva, “Motherhood between Hunger and Religion in Semyon Yushkevich’s Play ‘Golod’ (1906)”
  • LeiAnna Hamel, “The Female Gothic in Rokhl Brokhes’ ‘Unter-Barg’ (“Underhill,” 1906)”
  • Elaine Wilson, “Margins of Meaning: Gendering the Landscape of Struggle in THE ZELMENYANERS”
  • Jessica Kirzane, Respondent

Sights of Yiddish

  • Samuel Spinner, Chair
  • Sara B. Blair
  • Ofer Dynes
  • Sheila Elana Jelen
  • Kerry Wallach
  • Sunny S. Yudkoff

December 20


Yiddish and German in Modern Jewish Culture(s): Ideological and Literary Perspectives

  • Naomi Sheindel Seidman, Chair
  • Marc Volovici, “The Emancipation of Yiddish from its Germanic Roots: Matthias Mieses and the Politics of Antisemitism”
  • Aya Elyada, “Yiddish Literature and German-Jewish Nostalgia: The TSENE-RENE in Imperial and Weimar Germany”
  • Marc Caplan, “Echoes of Yiddish on the Streets of Berlin: The Melancholy Piracesques of Alfred Döblin and Sh. Y. Agnon”

Sights of Yiddish

  • Samuel Spinner, Chair
  • Sara B. Blair
  • Ofer Dynes
  • Sheila Elana Jelen
  • Kerry Wallach
  • Sunny S. Yudkoff

Gender and Questions of Agency

  • Rachel Greenblatt, “Glikl’s Jewish Sisterhood: Women, Wills, and Writing in Early Modern Europe”


Rethinking Polish Jewish Immigration to Latin America

  • Tobias Brinkmann, Chair
  • Aleksandra Jakubczak, “‘Protecting the Jewish Daughters’: Transnational Responses to the Interwar Migration of Polish Jewish Women to Argentina”
  • Lelia Stadler, “The Road to Divorce: Between the Argentine State and the Jewish Community, 1919-1947”
  • Michael Rom, “The Politics of the Press: Polish Jewish Holocaust Survivors in Postwar Brazil”

The Modes and Objects of Yiddish Popular Culture

  • Sophia Elizabeth Shoulson, “Different (Key)strokes: The Yiddish Typewriter and the Standardization of Modernity”
  • Ezekiel Levine, “The Goblet and the Plastic Cup: Tradition, Technology, and Art in Theodore Bikel’s ‘Jewish Folk Songs’ Albums”
  • Saul Zaritt, “The Queen of SHUNDROMAN: Sarah B. Smith and the Politics of Yiddish Trash”


Race, Religion, Gender: The Trials of American Migration

  • Dylan Kaufman-Obstler, “Assimilation vs. Integration: The Communist Party’s ‘White Chauvinism Trials’ and the Dilemma of Yiddish Cultural Preservation”
  • Yael E. Levi, “Lost in Migration: Suicide among Jewish Immigrant Women in the United States, 1880-1924 and the American Yiddish Press”


Jewish Poetry and the Paranoid Style

  • Matthew Johnson, “Anna Margolin and the Seeming Faith in Exposure”


Creating Modern Jewish Culture(s) through Translations and Anthologies

  • Kathryn A. Hellerstein, Moderator
  • Maya Barzilai
  • Markus Krah
  • Judith Müller
  • Jan Schwarz

Race and the Jewish Radical Left

  • Hasia R. Diner, Chair
  • Tony E. Michels, “What Does a Black Theater Group and a Jewish Furniture Salesman Tell Us about Race and the Radical Left?”
  • Jacob Morrow-Spitzer, “‘Artificiality of color line’: Rose Pastor Stokes and the Limits of Black-Jewish Solidarity in Early Twentieth Century America
  • Ashley Walters, “Reading Lincoln through the Russian Revolution”

Jewish Life in 19th & 20th Century Central & Eastern Europe

  • Karen Auerbach, “Alienation, Belonging and Historical Sensation: Diary Writing and Gender in Fin-de-Siecle Warsaw”
  • Beata Szymkow, “The Default Humanity: Jewishness, Gender, and Civil Rights in the Interwar Polish Republic”
  • Nicolas Vallois, “Economics and statistics at the Yiddish Scientific Institute (YIVO), 1926-1939”
  • Elli Fischer, “Reconstructing Rabbinic Cultural Spheres through Subscription Lists”

Reading Jews in Drag: (Re)Interpreting Modern and Contemporary Performances of Jewish Gender-Bending

  • C. Tova Markenson, “Jewish Witches in Performance: Queer Magic and the Yiddish Stage”

December 21


Meetings and Movements Across Cold War Boundaries: Jewish People and Artifacts in Contact

  • Rebekah Klein-Pejsova, Moderator
  • Jacob Ari Labendz
  • Amy Fedeski
  • Rachelle Grossman
  • Jonathan Zisook

Assessing the Political Pen of Polish-Yiddish Journalist S. L. Schneiderman

  • Samuel Kassow, Chair
  • Nancy Sinkoff, “S. L. Schneiderman: The Politics of REPORTAZH”
  • Magdalena Kozłowska, “‘There is no lack of unpleasantness here, and life is not as certain as at your editorial office…’: S. L. Schneiderman reporting from war zone”

Hasidism in light of Postcolonial and Diaspora Theory

  • Jonathan Dauber, Chair
  • Glenn Davis Dynner, “Hasidism as a ‘Culture of Resistance’ in the Kingdom of Poland and the Second Polish Republic”
  • Rachel Z. Feldman, “Hasidism and ‘Spiritual Neocolonialism’: Chabad’s Role in Building Noahide Communities in the Global South”
  • H. Susannah Heschel, Respondent


Feminist Perspectives on the Body

  • Jessica Leigh Carr, Chair
  • Cassandra Euphrat Weston, “Geburt-kontrol and oreme froyen: Reproduction Politics between Radical and Reform at the 46 Amboy St. Clinic”
  • Madison Hyman, “Being a Havera: Feminist Ethnography and Jewish Death Rituals”
  • Natalia Judzińska, “‘Defiant behavior violating the dignity of an academic.’ Victims as Perpetrators: Violence against Jewish Female Students and Ghetto Benches”

Legacies of Polish Jewry: Re-examining Polish-Jewish Literature

  • Gabriel Natan Finder, Chair, Respondent
  • Karen Underhill, “Adam Mickiewicz, Jacob Frank, and the Post-War Legacy of a Distinct Polish-Jewish Cultural Imaginary”
  • Rachelle Grossman, “What Good are Yesterday’s Debates Now? I.L. Peretz and the Contested Postwar Legacy of Polish Jewry”
  • Lizy Mostowski, “Polishness as a Spectral Inheritance: Hanna Krall’s ‘Dybuk’”

Magic, Dreams, and Occultism in East European Jewish Culture

  • Marla Segol, Chair
  • Natan M. Meir, “‘Three Women Sitting on a Crag’: The Inner Worlds of an East European Folk Incantation”
  • Elly Moseson, “Sex, Dreams and Mystical Revelations: A Hasidic Dream Diary from the Turn of the Twentieth Century”
  • Sam Glauber-Zimra, “Kabbalist-Fakir or Telepathist Rabbi? Introducing East European Jewish Occultism”
  • Magda Teter, Respondent

The Spaces and Specters of Holocaust Memorialization

  • Jane S. Gabin, Chair
  • Sean Sidky, “‘Between nightmare and insanity’: Aaron Zeitlin’s Ghosts”
  • Raphael Halff, “Fayner’s Fire: The Making of a Destructivist”


Translating Women Writers: Language, Politics, and Aesthetics

  • Maya Barzilai, Moderator
  • Allison Hope Schachter
  • Jessica Anne Kirzane
  • Adriana X. Jacobs
  • Bryan Karle Roby
  • Aviya Kushner

Shared language(s)? In Search of Critical Identities in Hebrew, Judeo-Spanish, and Yiddish Pedagogy

  • Meyer Weinshel, Moderator
  • Bryan Kirschen
  • Sara Feldman
  • Orian Zakai


Works-in-Progress Group in Jewish Studies

  • Ayelet Brinn, “‘Women and Men Who Are Like Women’: Female Pseudonyms in the Interwar American Yiddish Press”

On Yiddish Literary Lineages: Dropkin, Serdatsky, Sutzkever

  • Shirelle Maya Doughty, “Dreaming of the Inquisition-Bed: The Poetry of Celia Dropkin & the Politics of Female Desire”
  • Karolina Koprowska, “Landscape Movements in the Post-Holocaust Poetry of Avrom Sutzkever”
  • Dalia Wolfson, “Writing Women: The Narrating Shrayberin in Yente Serdatzky’s Short Prose”
Editors, The. “Your Guide to Yiddish and In geveb at the 2021 AJS Conference.” In geveb, November 2021:
Editors, The. “Your Guide to Yiddish and In geveb at the 2021 AJS Conference.” In geveb (November 2021): Accessed Nov 29, 2021.


The Editors