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Course Faculty

Debra Caplan Debra Caplan, PhD - Baruch College, CUNY

Debra Caplan is an Assistant Professor of Theatre specializing in world theater, Yiddish theater and drama, theatrical travel and Jewish performance culture. Her work has appeared in Comparative Drama and New England Theatre Journal, and she frequently presents at national and international theater conferences. Prior to joining the Baruch faculty, Professor Caplan taught theater history at Emerson College and was Executive Director of the Mellon School of Theater and Performance Research at Harvard, in collaboration with Martin Puchner. She is co-chair of the Digital Yiddish Theater Project, an interdisciplinary international initiative to develop a born-digital web resource on the history of the Yiddish stage, and is the current Season Dramaturg for Target Margin Theater in New York (2012-2014). Professor Caplan is currently working on a book tentatively entitled Yiddish Empire: Jews, Theater, and the Aesthetics of Itinerancy. She earned her Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University.

Eric Goldman Eric Goldman, PhD

Eric Goldman is a noted film historian and educator who lectures on Jewish, Yiddish, and Israeli cinema. Dr. Goldman is adjunct professor of cinema at Yeshiva University; he also teaches at Fairleigh Dickinson University and the Streicker Center/Skirball Academy for Adult Jewish Learning in New York. Eric is founder of Ergo Media Inc., a New Jersey-based film distributor, specializing in Jewish-oriented film. Ergo Media is the pioneer in introducing Jewish and Israeli cinema on video in North America.

Stefanie Halpern Stefanie Halpern, PhD - YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

Stefanie Halpern is the Assistant Director of the Archives at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York. She received her PhD from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2017.

Agi Legutko Agi Legutko, PhD - Columbia University

Agi Legutko specializes in modern Yiddish literature, language, and culture, women and gender studies, spirit possession in Judaism, as well as in American and European modern Jewish literature, theater, and film. Her research interests also include trauma, memory, performance, and the body represented in modern Jewish culture. Her publications include Krakow’s Kazimierz: Town of Partings and Returns, a historical guidebook to the Jewish Quarter of Krakow (in English and Polish 2004, 2009), and articles on dybbuk possession in modern Jewish literature and on Yiddish poetry. She teaches courses in Yiddish language on elementary, intermediate and advanced levels, as well as in Yiddish literature, such as Magic and Monsters in Yiddish Literature and Taste of Yiddish.

Edna Nahshon Edna Nahshon, PhD - Jewish Theological Seminary

Edna Nahshon is professor of Jewish Theater and Drama at The Jewish Theological Seminary and a senior fellow at Oxford University's Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. Her work focuses on the intersection of Jewishness, theater, and performance, a topic on which she has published extensively. Most recently she curated the exhibition "New York's Yiddish Theater: From the Bowery to Broadway" for the Museum of the City of New York (March 7-August 14,2016). The exhibition was accompanied by a book of the same title, edited by Dr. Nahshon, (Columbia University Press, 2016). It was recently the recipient of the prestigious George Freedley Award Special Jury Prize for an exemplary work in the field of live theatre or performance. Dr. Nahshon is the author and editor of eight books. Her most recent, Wrestling with Shylock: Jewish Responses to "The Merchant of Venice" was published in April 2016 by Cambridge University Press.

Eddy Portnoy Eddy Portnoy, PhD - YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

Eddy Portnoy received his Ph.D. from the Jewish Theological Seminary. A specialist in Jewish popular culture, he has published in numerous academic journals and also in The Forward and in Tablet Magazine. He currently serves as Academic Advisor for the Max Weinreich Center and Exhibition Curator at the YIVO.

Alyssa Quint Alyssa Quint, PhD - YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

Alyssa Quint received her Ph. D. from Harvard University and was a research fellow at Penn's Center for Advanced Judaic Studies. Quint has taught Yiddish literature at a number of universities, most recently at Columbia University where she is now organizing a conference, co-sponsored by YIVO, on Women and the Yiddish Theater (July 2016). She has lectured and published extensively on Yiddish culture and has recently completed a manuscript on Avrom Goldfaden and the beginning of the modern Yiddish theater entitled "The Social Life of Jewish Theater."

Nahma Sandrow Nahma Sandrow, DFA

Nahma Sandrow's Vagabond Stars: A World History of Yiddish Theater is now in its third edition and remains the definitive work in the field. Her other books include God, Man, and Devil: Yiddish Plays in Translation and Surrealism: Theater, Arts, Ideas. In addition, she has written feature articles for the New York Times, the New York Sun, ARTnews, and other newspapers, magazines and journals. Dr. Sandrow lectures widely. She has spoken at universities such as Harvard and Oxford, as well as at the Smithsonian Institution and many other academic and cultural organizations. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the Yale School of Drama.

Ilan Stavans Ilan Stavans, PhD - Amherst College

Ilan Stavans has taught courses on a wide array of topics such as Spanglish, Jorge Luis Borges, Shakespeare in prison, modern American poetry, Latin music, Don Quixote, Gabriel García Márquez, Modernismo, popular culture in Hispanic America, world Jewish writers, the cultural history of the Spanish language, Pablo Neruda, the history of the Spanish language, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Yiddish literature, Jewish-Hispanic relations, cinema, Latin American art, and U.S.-Latino culture.

Jeffrey Veidliner Jeffrey Veidlinger, PhD - University of Michigan

Jeffrey Veidlinger is Joseph Brodsky Collegiate Professor of History and Judaic Studies and Director of the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. He is the author of the award-winning books The Moscow State Yiddish Theater: Jewish Culture on the Soviet Stage (2000), Jewish Public Culture in the Late Russian Empire (2009), and In the Shadow of the Shtetl: Small-Town Jewish Life in Soviet Ukraine (2013). He is the Editor of Going to the People: Jews and Ethnographic Impulse (2016). Professor Veidlinger is a Vice-President of the Association for Jewish Studies, Associate Chair of the Academic Advisory Council of the Center for Jewish History, and a member of the Academic Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He is currently working on a book about the pogroms of the Russian Civil War.

Guest Artists

Yelena Shmulenson Allen Lewis Rickman

Allen Lewis Rickman is known for his work in “A Serious Man”, “Boardwalk Empire”, Broadway’s “Relatively Speaking”, and extensive credits in Yiddish.

Yelena Shmulenson Yelena Shmulenson

Yelena Shmulenson is known for her work in “A Serious Man”, “Orange Is The New Black”, “The Knick”, and extensive Yiddish credits.