Yiddish Cultural Festival

In Memoriam Seth Brody and Mel Santer 

This free, informal gathering meets periodically to enjoy film, music and speakers encompassing all things Yiddish. It is not necessary to speak or understand Yiddish to fully enjoy these events.

Meetings are held Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. (promptly!) in Chase Hall Auditorium. All are welcome!

NOTE: These programs will be held during inclement weather UNLESS the campus is closed, which happens only rarely. Please call Campus Security (610-896-1111) to check.


For more information contact Jeff Tecosky-Feldman.


Fall 2017 Schedule

Wednesday, September 13

Israel in Yiddish Poetry, a talk, reading, analysis, and discussion led by Rakhmiel Peltz (Professor of Sociolinguistics and Director of Judaic Studies at Drexel University)
Chase Hall Auditorium

Israel is a central concern for Jews throughout history. Poetry is the major genre of 20th century Yiddish literature. We will read and discuss the theme of Israel in the work of major poets, especially those residing in Israel, the main center of Yiddish literary productivity after 1970.

Wednesday, October 25

The Jester & Der Purimspiler (1937)
In Yiddish with English subtitles (90 minutes)
Chase Hall Auditorium

This musical romance-drama was directed by Joseph Green and Jan Nowina-Przybylsk in a farm outside Warsaw. Featuring American Yiddish theater stars Miriam Kressyn and Hymie Jacobson, as well as Zygmunt Turkow, co-founder with Ida Kaminska of the Warsaw Yiddish Art Theater. The story follows a lonely wanderer, a circus performer and Esther, the shoemaker's daughter, whose father tries to marry her into a prominent family. One of the film's centerpieces is a Purim shpil with its parade of costumes and music. The Jester's lively circus and vaudeville music and set pieces provide a glimpse of Warsaw's then-thriving Yiddish revues and cabarets. Film restoration & new English subtitles by The National Center for Jewish Film .

Wednesday, November 8

New York Yiddish Punk band Koyt Far Dayn Fardakhtn (the Filth of Your Suspicion)
Chase Hall Auditorium

Members of the New York Yiddish Punk band Koyt Far Dayn Fardakhtn (the Filth of Your Suspicion) give a panel presentation discussing their journeys to Yiddish, the process by which they seek out and adapt archival Yiddish music into new songs, and their experiences working in the Yiddish performance world as queer and transgender women. They will be giving a concert at Haverford on November 9.

Wednesday, December 6

The Cantor's Son & Dem Khazns Zundyl (1937)
In Yiddish with English subtitles (90 minutes)
Chase Hall Auditorium

This Yiddish feature film musical drama marks the screen debut of singer and cantor Moishe Oysher. Directed by Ilya Motyleff and Sidney Goldin and shot in Pennsylvania near the Pocono Mountains, the film features Oysher in the title role of a wayward youth who makes his way from his Polish shtetl to New York's Lower East Side (the film includes rare glimpses of the Lower East Side and of 2nd Avenue Yiddish theater marquees of the period). He is “discovered” and becomes a well-known singer. Ultimately, Oysher's character returns home to the Old Country and reunites with his parents and his childhood sweetheart. Film restoration & new English subtitles by The National Center for Jewish Film


If arriving by car, enter the campus by the College Avenue entrance which is near Haverford Rd (NOT the Lancaster Ave/Rt 30 main entrance), and park in any spot marked FACULTY/STAFF on the right of the driveway. To find Chase Hall, continue on the driveway until you reach the end of the building on your left (Stokes Hall). Turn left and follow the path up a gentle slope to a stone building with a few steps outside its double-door entrance—this is Chase Hall. The Auditorium is on the first floor in the back of the building. There is an entrance without steps around the right hand side. Stokes Hall Auditorium is a few paces behind Chase Auditorium.

  • Chase HallChase Hall
  • Stokes HallStokes Hall

Support the Festival

We need your contribution to support this ongoing celebration of Yiddish culture, so please send a check made out to Haverford College, with Yiddish Culture Festival written on the check or on an accompanying note to: Kerry Lynch, YCF Donations, Haverford College, 370 Lancaster Ave, Haverford PA 19041.

Be sure to include your name and address so that you can be mailed a receipt for tax purposes. We appreciate donations large and small, which we'll use to pay screening fees, enlarge our library of videos and continue to bring interesting speakers and performers for your enjoyment.