Cultural Historian and Montreal Native Dr. David G. Roskies to Debut Yiddishlands-A Memoir

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950

October 20, 2008, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Montreal native Dr. David G. Roskies, the Sol and Evelyn Henkind Professor of Yiddish Literature and professor of Jewish Literature at The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, will debut his newest book, Yiddishlands-A Memoir (Wayne State University Press, 2008) at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 26. The event, which will take place at the Jewish Public Library, 5151 Cote-Ste-Catherine Road, is part of Jewish Book Month 2008.

Dr. Roskies will lead the audience through “Yiddishlands” old and new by revisiting his personal and professional experiences and retelling his remarkable family saga in a series of lively, irreverent, and interwoven stories.

Born after World War II to the sound of his mother, Masha, singing Az der Rebbe Elimeylekh (to the tune of “Ol King Cole Was a Merry Ol’ Soul”), Dr. Roskies was raised in Montreal, where his family had fled from Europe in 1940 and where they created a home that was a salon for Yiddish writers, actors, and artists. A product of the city’s Yiddish schools, Dr. Roskies today is one of the leading American scholars of Yiddish literature and a renowned cultural historian of eastern European Jewry.

The evening will be enriched by dramatic readings from the memoir by members of the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts. Eva Raby, executive director of the JPL, will introduce Dr. Roskies.

A prolific author, editor, and scholar, Dr. Roskies has published seven books and received numerous awards, including Night Words: A Midrash on the Holocaust, which has entered its fifth edition, The Dybbuk and Other Writings by S. Ansky (Yale, 1992), and A Bridge of Longing: The Lost Art of Yiddish Storytelling (Harvard, 1995). In 1981 (with Dr. Alan Mintz), he cofounded Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History, published by Indiana University Press, and has served since 1998 as editor-in-chief of the New Yiddish Library, published by Yale University Press. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1985, Dr. Roskies served as the J. B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Senior Scholar-in-Residence at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2007. Dr. Roskies was educated at Brandeis University, where he received his doctorate in 1975.

A reception will follow the program, at which copies of Yiddishlands (which includes an audio CD of Masha Roskies singing in Yiddish, Russian, and Polish), will be available for purchase and for signing by the author. Admission is $5 for members/students and $10 for non members. Tickets at the member rate must be purchased in advance; students pay member rate at all times. Tickets may be purchased by calling (514) 345-6416. Further information about the program is available by calling (514) 345-2627 ext. 3017.