[Mendele] Mendele Personal Notices and Announcements--Lecture by Itzik Gottesman, New York Public Library July 23

Victor Bers victor.bers at yale.edu
Tue Jun 23 20:24:46 EDT 2015

Mendele Personal Notices and Announcements
June 23, 2015
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From: Amanda Seigel <amandaseigel at nypl.org>
Date: Tue, 23 Jun 2015 18:00:36 -0400
Subject: Lecture by Itzik Gottesman

Dear Mendelyaner,

You are cordially invited to a free lecture by Dr. Itzik Gottesman.

What's Jewish About Jewish Folklore?

Thursday, July 23, 2015
6:30 PM

Mid-Manhattan Library, New York Public Library
Fifth Avenue and 40th Street, New York, NY

Fully accessible to wheelchairs

The illustrated lecture - "What's Jewish About Jewish Folklore?" - examines
the specific traits of Jewish, and particularly Ashkenazic and Yiddish
folklore, to see whether they are indeed unique or rather part of a broader
European folklore.

At the end of the 19th century folklore was considered "irrational" and
"imaginative" and since "Jews are a rational people", some scholars
concluded that the Jewish people have no folklore. Today of course, we see
that it is in fact the Yiddish writers who used folklore in their works,
such as I. B. Singer and Sholem-Aleichem that have drawn the largest

By taking into account various genres of Jewish folklore such as folksong,
folktale, amulets, humor and custom, the talk will consider how Jewish
history has shaped the folklore of its people and how that folklore
reflects the characteristics of the Jews in the diaspora.

About the presenter:

Itzik Gottesman is a Senior Lecturer of Yiddish Language and Culture at the
University of Texas at Austin. He has previously taught Jewish Folklore and
Yiddish at the YIVO/Bard program on Ashkenazi Civilization, and at the
University of Pennsylvania. He has a Ph.D in Folklore and Folklife from the
University of Pennsylvania and is the author of the book Defining the
Yiddish Nation: The Jewish Folklorists of Poland. For 13 years he was the
Associate Editor of the Yiddish Forward Newspaper in the New York - the
Forverts, where he wrote weekly columns on Jewish art, music, culture and
folklore. He also served as editor of the oldest Yiddish publication the
Zukunft, founded in 1893.
        As a folklorist he has a special interest in East European Yiddish
folksong, folktale, folklife and custom. He directs the blog - "Yiddish
Song of the Week" under the auspices of the Center for Traditional Music
and Dance in NYC. This site highlights unknown field recordings of
traditional Yiddish singers. He has lectured and given workshops on Yiddish
folksong and Jewish folklore at Klezkanada, Klezkamp, Yiddish Summer Weimar
and throughout Europe. Itzik Gottesman grew up in a Yiddish speaking
household in the Bronx and is the son of the Yiddish poet and songwriter
Bella Gottesman. He produced three CDs of her original songs.

For more information, please visit:


Amanda (Miryem-Khaye) Seigel
Dorot Jewish Division, Room 111
The New York Public Library
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
42nd Street and Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10018

Reference Desk: 212-930-0601
Fax: 212-642-0141
Email: AmandaSeigel at nypl.org


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