- GW Home
- About GW
- University Life
- News & Events
- Faculty And Staff
Festival Celebrates Yiddish Author
April 23, 2012
A two-day fest will celebrate the work of author Sholem Aleichem.
GW’s Program in Judaic Studies, the Department of English and Department of Theatre and Dance will host a two-day Sholem Aleichem Fest Tuesday and Wednesday in honor of the famous Yiddish author and playwright.
The festival is a part of Jewish Literature Live, which is generously supported by GW Trustee David Bruce Smith, B.A.’79.
Sholem Aleichem’s stories about Tevye the Milkman were the basis for the musical “Fiddler on the Roof.”
On Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Marvin Center Amphitheater, GW will host Sholem Aleichem’s granddaughter Bel Kaufman, author of the 1965 New York Times bestseller “Up the Down Staircase.”
Ms. Kaufman will read from her book and share memories of her grandfather. She will be joined by Assistant Professor of Hebrew Max Ticktin, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Judaic Studies Lauren Strauss and students from the Department of Theatre and Dance who will perform a series of staged readings, in both Yiddish and English, of Sholem Aleichem’s short stories.
“I am delighted to participate in the Sholem Aleichem festival at George Washington University because I am only living person who remembers him, his voice, his laugh, the touch of his hand — and I can tell my audience family stories they won’t find in books,” said Ms. Kaufman.
Professor of English Faye Moskowitz said her Jewish Literature Live class will receive a “wonderful two-for-one” with Ms. Kaufman’s readings and her stories about her grandfather. This year’s Jewish Literature Live series featured six authors, including Nicole Krauss and Erica Jong.
On Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Room B07 in the Media and Public Affairs Building, Joseph Dorman will screen and discuss his celebrated 2011 film, “Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness.” A dessert reception will follow.
Both events are free and open to the public.
Planning for the festival has been in the works for a year, said Jenna Weissman Joselit, the Charles E. Smith Professor of Judaic Studies and Professor of History. The Sholem Aleichem Fest utilizes the university’s rich academic and cultural resources in the arts and Judaic studies to celebrate Sholem Aleichem’s works, which Dr. Joselit said “endure in many different forms.”
“Sholem Aleichem has never gone out of style, and he received a new lease on life because of [Mr. Dorman’s] film, which heightened people’s interest and reacquainted them with him,” said Dr. Joselit, who is also the director of the Program in Judaic Studies.
“What makes the Sholem Aleichem Fest particularly moving is the range of its participants who, quite literally, span the generations,” she recently wrote on her blog From Under the Fig Tree.
“At one end of the continuum stands Bel Kaufman, Sholem Aleichem’s granddaughter and a celebrated author in her own right, and Max Ticktin, who has shared his knowledge of and passion for Yiddish literature with the GW community for many, many years. At the other end stands a cluster of theatre students in their late teens and early twenties who are coming to know Sholem Aleichem for the very first time.”
Click here for more information on the fest.