Edna Nahshon

Dr. Edna Nahshon is professor of Hebrew and Theater at The Jewish Theological Seminary. She served as chair of the Hebrew Department from 1990 to 1998. Most recently she served as producer and dramaturg of JTS's milestone production Bratslav-Beethoven-Bratslav, directed by Yossi Yisraely. She currently serves as guest curator of a historic exhibition on American Yiddish theater scheduled to open in fall 2014 at the Museum of the City of New York.

Dr. Nahshon's specialty is the intersection of Jewishness, theater, and performance. Her books include Yiddish Proletarian Theatre: The Art and Politics of the Artef, 1925-1940 (Greenwood, 1998); From the Ghetto to the Melting Pot: Israel Zangwill's Jewish Plays (Wayne State University Press, 2006); Jews and Shoes (Berg Publishers, 2008); and Stars, Strikes and the Yiddish Stage: The Story of the Hebrew Actors' Union 1899-2005 (YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, 2009), a companion catalog to a YIVO exhibition of the same name. She is the editor of (and a contributor to) the volumes Jewish Theatre: A Global View (Brill Academic Publishers, 2009) and Jews and Theater in an Intercultural Context (Brill Academic Publishers, 2012). In 2004, she was guest editor of a special issue of American Jewish History (91:1) devoted to the theme of "Jews and Performance," which included her essay "The Pulpit and the Stage: Rabbi Joseph Silverman and the Actors' Church Alliance." Dr. Nahshon is currently preparing for publication (with Professor Michael Shapiro) a book that examines Jewish responses to the Shylock figure and The Merchant of Venice.

From the Ghetto to the Melting Pot was honored by the Jordan Schnitzer Book Award Committee of the Association for Jewish Studies as a 2009 Notable Selection in the category of Jews and the Arts. Jews and Shoes has received numerous write-ups in publications such as History Today, Museum Anthropology, Book Forum, Shofar, and Haaretz. Dr. Nahshon's work was also cited in the Economist, as well as in this article about a large donation of shoes to a nonprofit agency.

Dr. Nahshon's work has been published in numerous outlets, in both Hebrew and English. Her most recent articles are "Always Habima: The Artistic Path of Benno Scheider" (in Hebrew) in Habima: 90 Years On (Tel Aviv University Press, 2013); "Anne Frank's Diary from Page to Stage" in Anne Frank Unbound: Media, Imagination, and Memory, eds. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett and Jeffrey Shandler (Indiana University Press, 2012); "Jews and Passion Plays: Morris Gest and the Freiburg Passion Play (1929)" in her Jews and Theater in an Intercultural Context (2012); "Philosemitism on the London Stage: Sydney Grundy's An Old Jew (1894)" in her Jewish Theatre: A Global View (2009); "Shylock and His Daughter at the Yiddish Art Theatre" in Being Shylock (exhibition catalog, the Jewish Museum Vienna, 2009); and various shorter pieces, including several book reviews.

Other articles written by Dr. Nahshon include "Maurice Schwartz Presents: The Dybbuk (1921)" [in Hebrew] in Al Na Tegarshuni [Do Not Expel Me]: A Collection of Essays on S. An-ski's The Dybbuk, eds. Shimon Levy and Dorit Yerushalmi (Tel Aviv University Press, 2009); "Hebrew, Jewish, Russian: Habima's Production of 'The Dybbuk,'" which appeared in August 2004 in Jews in Russia and Eastern Europe; the main entry on Yiddish theater, as well as nearly all the individual entries on Yiddish and Hebrew theater, in the landmark Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance (Oxford University Press, 2003); the article "From Geopathology to Redemption: A Flag Is Born on the Broadway Stage," which originally appeared in The Jewish Quarterly (London, 2000) and was republished in the Kurt Weill Newsletter in fall 2002; individual and main entries for the American National Biography, the Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East, and Jewish American History and Culture; and chapters in the books The Politics of Yiddish (1998), Yiddish Language and Culture Then and Now (1998), Jewish Studies in a New Europe (1998), and Di Froyen: Women and Yiddish (1997). Dr. Nahshon's Hebrew work has appeared in the United States in Ha'Doar, and in Israel in Bamah and Qesher. She has also written for the popular press, notably Ha'aretz (in Hebrew) and Renaissance, Tablet magazine, and the Jewish Daily Forward (in English). Her essay on Yiddish theater in America serves as the introduction to the Lawrence Marwick Collection of Copyrighted Yiddish Plays at the Library of Congress: An Annotated Bibliography (Library of Congress, 2004).

Dr. Nahshon is a senior associate at Oxford University's Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, where she was Visiting Skirball Fellow in 1999. For five years, she was a member of New York University's Center for Religion and Media's working group titled Jews, Media and Religion, and developed a unit on Jewish theater for its Modiya website, with a special section on The Dybbuk. She is a member of the editorial board of All About Jewish Theater, a multilingual electronic database for the preservation, deployment, and circulation of the heritage of Jewish theater worldwide; and served as the historical advisor to the television project The Life and Death of the Federal Theatre, which aired in October 2003 on PBS. In February 2009, Dr. Nahshon organized the three-day conference "Jews/Theatre/Performance in an Intercultural World" at JTS. (Read an article from jewish-theater.com on this groundbreaking conference.) She has also served as consultant and reader for academic periodicals and publishers such as Oxford University Press, and has regularly organized panels and delivered papers at conferences and congresses organized by the Association for Jewish Studies, the World Congress of Jewish Studies, the European Association of Jewish Studies, and the International Federation for Theatre Research.

She has received grants and fellowships from YIVO, the Memorial Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Littauer Foundation, and the Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies at Oxford University.

Dr. Nahshon studied at Tel Aviv University and Columbia University. She holds a PhD in Performance Studies from New York University.

Published Works

Yiddish Proletarian Theatre: The Art and Politics of the Artef, 1925-1940

From the Ghetto to the Melting Pot: Israel Zangwill's Jewish Plays

Jews and Shoes

Jewish Theatre: A Global View (editor/contributor)

Jews and Theater in an Intercultural Context (editor/contributor)

Stars, Strikes and the Yiddish Stage: The Story of the Hebrew Actors' Union 1899-2005 (companion catalog to YIVO exhibition)


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