EVENT: The Annual Naomi Prawer Kadar Memorial Lecture with Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett

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Mameloshn! The Story of Yiddish as Told at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews

Facing the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes on the site of the Warsaw ghetto and prewar Jewish neighborhood, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews completes the memorial complex. At the monument, we honor those who died by remembering how they died. At the museum, we honor them – and those who came before and after – by remembering how they lived. This illustrated lecture explores the story of Yiddish – the vernacular of Polish Jews for hundreds of years and the language in which they created a rich modern culture – as presented in POLIN Museum’s multimedia narrative exhibition, a journey of a thousand years. The story of Yiddish at POLIN Museum, the first and only museum to offer a Yiddish audioguide, begins in the Middle Ages and comes forward to the present.

Supported by the generosity of the Naomi Foundation.

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is University Professor Emerita and Professor Emerita of Performance Studies at New York University. She is currently Ronald S. Lauder Chief Curator of the Core Exhibition at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, in Warsaw. Her books include Image before My Eyes: A Photographic History of Jewish Life in Poland, 1864–1939 (with Lucjan Dobroszycki); They Called Me Mayer July: Painted and Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust (with Mayer Kirshenblatt); The Art of Being Jewish in Modern Times (with Jonathan Karp); and Anne Frank Unbound: Media, Imagination, Memory, (with Jeffrey Shandler), among others.

She was honored for lifetime achievement by the Foundation for Jewish Culture, received the Mlotek Prize for Yiddish and Yiddish Culture, honorary doctorates from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, University of Haifa, and Indiana University, the 2015 Marshall Sklare Award for her contribution to the social scientific study of Jewry, and was decorated with the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland for her contribution to POLIN Museum. She was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and awarded the Dan David Prize in Israel. She serves on Advisory Boards for the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, Council of American Jewish Museums, Jewish Museum Vienna, Jewish Museum Berlin, and the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow. She also advises on museum and exhibition projects in Lithuania, Belarus, Albania, Israel, New Zealand, and the United States.

The Annual Naomi Prawer Kadar Memorial Lecture provides an opportunity for the public to explore topics of Yiddish language and linguistics, the history of Yiddish, Yiddish children’s literature and education. The lecture is supported by the Naomi Prawer Kadar Foundation, Inc., which is dedicated to reimagining education. The Naomi Foundation champions Yiddish, Naomi’s lifelong passion, as a vibrant, rich, and contemporary language. The Naomi Foundation advances the teaching and learning of Yiddish, particularly in academic and scholarly settings.

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