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Yiddish Book Center Hosts Open House

The Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts

The Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, hosts its spring Community Open House on Sunday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Center is a nonprofit organization working to tell the whole Jewish story by rescuing, translating and disseminating Yiddish books and presenting innovative educational programs that broaden understanding of modern Jewish identity.

The free daylong event features a lecture by Stanford University Professor Steven Zipperstein on the Kishinev pogrom of 1903; a talk by photographer Loli Kantor about her work on Jewish life in modern Eastern Europe; and tours of the Center.

At 11 a.m. Israeli-American photographer Loli Kantor will talk about Beyond the Forest: Jewish Presence in Eastern Europe, 2004-2012, a new visiting exhibit at the Yiddish Book Center that considers the fragile renewal of Jewish life in Eastern Europe in the early twenty-first century. The project began with Kantor’s journey to discover the world of her family, most of whom perished in the Holocaust, and developed into a broader engagement with the daily life of the Jews of Eastern Europe today. Beyond the Forest will be in the Center’s Brechner Gallery through October 15.

In the days before digital typesetting, lead type was used to print books in Yiddish.

At 2 p.m. Steven Zipperstein, the Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History at Stanford University, will present the 2017 Melinda Rosenblatt Lecture: “Pogrom: Kishinev and the Tilt of History.” The Kishinev pogrom of 1903 was the first event in Russian Jewish life to receive international attention. The riot in the obscure border town, which left forty-nine dead, dominated headlines in the western press for weeks, and in the Yiddish press in the United States for months. It intruded on Russian-U.S. relations; had a lasting influence on an astonishing array of institutions, from the Israeli army to the NAACP; and was the likely inspiration for the first version of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Zipperstein considers the ways the pogrom shaped history and why it had such profound and far-reaching effects.

Zipperstein is the author and editor of books including The Jews of Odessa: A Cultural History, Elusive Prophet: Ahad Ha’am and the Origins of Zionism, and Imagining Russian Jewry. He has been awarded the National Jewish Book Award, the Leviant Prize of the Modern Language Association, the Judah Magnes Gold Medal of the American Friends of the Hebrew University, and the Koret Prize for Outstanding Contributions to the American Jewish community.

In addition, guided tours of the Center will be offered at 12 p.m.

All events are free and open to the public. More information, as well as other upcoming events at the Yiddish Book Center, can be found at yiddishbookcenter.org/calendar.

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