Mickey Ross Program in Yiddish Studies Events 2014-2015


A Bintel Brief: Love and Longing in Old New York

November 13, 2014
The original “A Bintel Brief” (“A Bundle of Letters”) was an advice column for Jews fresh off the boat in The Jewish Daily Forward, a.k.a. The Forverts, a feature regarded by many as the prototype for “Dear Abby.” This seminar will discuss Liana Finck’s new, widely acclaimed graphic novel, A Bintel Brief: Love and Longing in Old New York (Ecco, 2014), which brings a selection of these letters to life and includes an imaginative conversation with the paper’s editor, Abraham Cahan.

Photo (Thissen)

Kol Nidre on Broadway: New Perspectives on the success of the Jazz Singer

May 12, 2015
Based upon extensive research on the marketing and reception of The Jazz Singer, the first “talking picture” and the hit movie of 1927-28, Judith Thissen sheds a different light on its enormous success at the box-office. She positions the Warner Bros. production in the broader context of the commercialization of the High Holidays and the efforts of Broadway picture palaces to attract Jewish holidaymakers by integrating Jewish elements into their shows around Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Yiddish Star Tour


December 8, 2013
Los Angeles was once a center of Yiddish culture, trailing New York in size but not in quality! This special tour visited where the “stars” of Yiddish culture lived and worked, from Boyle Heights to Hollywood. Participants learned how poets, novelists, journalists, and industry insiders developed the local scene and contributed to the flourishing of American and global Yiddish literature. The tour concluded with a performance of classic and original Yiddish Swing Music by Six Points Fellow Tali Tadmor.

Yiddish Star Tour Guides:

Samuel Spinner (Johns Hopkins)
Rob Adler Perkerar (Yiddishkayt)
Karen Wilson (UCLA)
Caroline Luce (UCLA)



UCLA’s First Yiddish Moment: Max Weinreich at UCLA in 1948
By Mark L. Smith

In the summer of 1948, Max Weinreich brought the world of Yiddish culture to UCLA. He was the leading figure in Yiddish scholarship in the postwar period, and the two courses he taught at UCLA appear to be first instance of Jewish Studies at the university. His courses gave new direction to his students’ careers and to the academic study of Yiddish. From these courses there emerged six prominent Yiddish scholars (and at least three marriages) and evidence that Yiddish culture was a subject suitable for American research universities.

Read More (eScholarship)

Archive of the Yiddish Literary Journal Kheshbn


One of the most enduring Yiddish literary journals in the world, 150 issues of Kheshbn (Reckoning) were published by the LA Yiddish Culture Club from 1946 to 2008. Its readership was global, with an international roster of contributors including the greatest literary and intellectual Yiddish luminaries of the day. Contributors included Chaim Grade, Avrum Sutzkever, Aaron Tseitlin, Alex Robin, Abraham Golomb, Melech Ravitch, and Bella Schaechter-Gottesman, just to name a few. Kheshbn also featured the works of LA’s resident prize-winning Yiddish poet, Warsaw-born Moshe Shklar, along with those of budding Yiddish writers. And thanks to the generous support of the UCLA/Mellon Program and CIYCL, Kheshbn will be the first fully digitized Yiddish literary journal available on-line.

View Kheshbn archive

Yiddish Studies Courses


Instructor: Miriam Koral

Fall 2014

Yiddish 101A: Beginning Yiddish, Part I

Winter 2014

Yiddish 101B: Beginning Yiddish, Part II

Spring 2014

Yiddish 101C: Beginning Yiddish, Part III
Yiddish 10: The GE Course in Yiddish Film and Literature (Becoming Modern: An Introduction to a Century of Yiddish Culture through Film)