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TALK | East European Jews between Renaissance and Futurelessness, with Kenneth Moss | Thursday, May 4 @ 7 pm
In 1913, the university student Max Weinreich produced brilliant Yiddish translations from Homer’s Iliad and the Gilgamesh epic in service to a passionate vision of Jewish cultural renaissance and reinvention. In 1933, Weinreich began a study of the political outlook and psychology of Polish Jewish youth that drove him to the precipice of despair about the future of Jewish life in Eastern Europe. This talk explores how Jewish intellectuals, poets, and ordinary people confronted the sense that their communal and personal futures might be foreclosed by anti-Semitism, illiberal nationalism, and the politics of rage and fear that began to flourish across Europe in the early 1930s and how figures like Weinreich, deeply devoted to the idea that Jewish life could flourish in Eastern Europe, groped toward new understandings of their situation and sought new tools of thought and creativity to address it.

Presented as part of the Yiddish Book Center’s 2023 Decade of Discovery theme, Yiddish around the World.

This live event will be presented via Zoom. Space is limited. If you’d like to reserve a virtual seat in the Zoom audience—registration is required.

May 4, 2023 07:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Kenneth B. Moss
Kenneth B. Moss is the Harriet and Ulrich E. Meyer Professor of Jewish History at the University of Chicago. He is the author of Jewish Renaissance in the Russian Revolution (Harvard University Press, 2009), which received the 2010 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and has now appeared in a revised Hebrew version as Yemei ha-ma’asim: tkhiat ha-tarbut ha-yehudit be-tkufat ha-mahpekhah ha-rusit, and An Unchosen People: Jewish Political Reckoning in Interwar Poland (Harvard University Press, 2021), which received the 2022 honorable mention for the Kulczycki Book Prize in Polish Studies. With Ben Nathans and Taro Tsurumi, he coedited From Europe’s East to the Middle East (UPenn, 2021), and with Israel Bartal he is co-editing volume 7 of the Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization: National Renaissance and International Horizons, 1880–1918 (Yale University Press, forthcoming). From 2014 to 2020, he coedited Jewish Social Studies.