Yiddish Culture 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—unless otherwise noted below. 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. Due to Library Construction, parking and walking directions have changed. See Directions for details.


For more information contact Jeff Tecosky-Feldman.


Fall 2018 Schedule

Wednesday, September 5
Chase Hall Auditorium, 7:30 p.m.

Tsu Der Khupe Geyen: Klezmer Music, Dance, and Jewish Weddings

In this talk by Steven Lee Weintraub, we'll learn about the intimate and vital connection between weddings and klezmer music and the kinds of music and dance that evolved to support the wedding. From freylekhs to sher to broyges tants, each kind of music and dance served a function. But beware, this lecture might lead to dancing! Steven Weintraub (www.stevenleeweintraub.com) is highly regarded internationally as a teacher, choreographer, and performer of Jewish dance, particularly Yiddish dance, the dance to klezmer music, and has been likened to the Pied Piper for his knack in getting people of all abilities up and dancing.

Wednesday, October 3
Chase Hall Auditorium, 7:30 p.m.

Discovering Blume Lempel

Blume Lempel (1907-1999) was an uncommonly courageous Yiddish writer whose imagination moved fluidly between dream and reality. In a multi-media presentation, Ellen Cassedy and Yermiyahu Ahron Taub talk about the life of this extraordinary writer and read from their recent translation of her work, Oedipus in Brooklyn and Other Stories. Cynthia Ozick lauds Lempel as “a splendid surprise.” Ellen Cassedy (www.ellencassedy.com) is the author of We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust. Her latest translation from Yiddish is On the Landing, by Yenta Mash. Yermiyahu Ahron Taub (www.yataub.net) is the author of six books of poetry, including A moyz tsvishn vakldike volkn-kratsers: geklibene Yidishe lider/A Mouse Among Tottering Skyscrapers: Selected Yiddish Poems. Their translation, Oedipus in Brooklyn and Other Stories by Blume Lempel, won the Yiddish Book Center best translation prize.

Wednesday, October 24
Chase Hall Auditorium, 7:30 p.m.

Whitechapel Noise: Sex, politics and religion on the streets of London’s East End 1884-1914

This talk with song by Vivi Lachs, Yiddishist, historian and performer from London, explores the abundance of Yiddish kupletn written by songwriters and poets in pre-first world war London. Penned by the famous and the unknown, they tell tales of an immigrant culture in flux. Morris Winchevsky’s poetry encourages revolutionary ideas and union activism. Music-hall songs display the changing nature of sexual relationships, marital disharmony, and abuse. Satirical verse pinpoints how immigrants grappled with modernizing religious practice. And they tell these stories with humor, intensity, and passion. Vivi Lachs’s book Whitechapel Noise: Jewish Immigrant Life in Yiddish Song and Verse, London 1884-1914 is published by Wayne State University Press.

Wednesday, November 14
Chase Hall Auditorium, 7:30 p.m.

Yiddish Concert with Lawrence Indik, Baritone

Come join us for an evening of selections from the Yiddish folk and art song repertoire performed by Lawrence Indik, Associate Professor of Voice and Opera at Temple University. Larry will be accompanied at the piano by Alexander (Sender) Botwinik.


The College library is under construction, and there are fences up that will prevent anyone walking from the usual parking area to the front of Chase Hall. Instead, you'll need to make an immediate left upon entering the campus from College Ave, onto Carter Road, and park anywhere that says Faculty/Staff Parking, walk between Stokes Hall and the Dining Center to enter Chase Hall from the side entrance (the one without steps). 

  • 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.