The Worlds of Sholem Aleichem

Hebrew Senior Life, 1550 Beacon St, Brookline

Join Jeremy Dauber, professor of Yiddish at Columbia University, author of the recently published The Worlds of Sholem Aleichem, and alumnus of the Yiddish Book Center, for a recorded lecture series devoted to the life and work of this most celebrated Yiddish writer. 

Sholem Aleichem's stories are some of the most remarkable and beloved in Yiddish literature. But few people know the writer’s equally remarkable life story or the depth of his literary and cultural legacy. In this course, we’ll read some of his greatest stories and talk about his first 150 years in the literary landscape.

Presented at the Yiddish Book Center this fall, we now have the incredible opportunity to screen these lectures over four sessions. Each lecture will be followed by a discussion led by different in-person experts. This series is hosted by the Adult EducationChorus and Yiddish Committees, in collaboration with the National Yiddish Book Center and Hebrew Senior Life.

All courses will take place at Hebrew Senior Life, 1550 Beacon St, Brookline, at 4 PM, on the following Sundays: March 6th, March 13th, April 3rd, April 10th. 

We encourage you to RSVP so we can have an accurate headcount. RSVP here. You do not have to attend all lectures in order to register. This course is free of charge.

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March 6th - Thirteen Ways of Looking at Sholem Aleichem
An introduction to the man and his world: a biographical overview, featuring a baker’s dozen of reasons that Sholem Aleichem is a must-read writer for today’s world.

March 13th - The Great Creations: Tevye and Menakhem-Mendl
All right, so Sholem Aleichem had dozens of great creations. But any lover of the author’s work has a special place in his heart for these two relatives (yes, Tevye and Menakhem-Mendl are related – one of the many things we’ll talk about in our discussion of their stories).

April 3rd - Sholem Aleichem's America: From Old World to New, in Monologue and Motl
Sholem Aleichem’s encounters with America, in life and in literature, were very much of a piece with many other aspects of his life: optimism tempered by experience that became the stuff of comic genius. We’ll talk about it by focusing on one of Sholem Aleichem’s other great characters – Motl, the Cantor’s son – and a few of his choicest monologues.

April 10th - The American Afterlife of Sholem Aleichem: A Conversation with Jewish Literature Scholar Josh Lambert
In a wide-ranging conversation, Jeremy Dauber will talk with Jewish literature scholar Josh Lambert about the Sholem Aleichem century in America, which boasted parades (of both the welcome and funeral variety), blacklists and Tonys, bestsellers and film adaptations. They'll reflect on how Tevye became an iconic American character – and what that meant for Sholem Aleichem’s legacy and the nature of Jewish life and culture in America.


Jeremy Dauber is the Atran Professor of Yiddish Language, Literature, and Culture at Columbia University, where he also serves as director of its Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies and teaches in the American Studies program. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard and his doctorate from the University of Oxford, which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar. His new book, The Worlds of Sholem Aleichem, a biography of the Yiddish writer who created Tevye, is published by Random House. His previous books include In the Demon’s Bedroom: Yiddish Literature and the Early Modern and Antonio’s Devils: Writers of the Jewish Enlightenment and the Birth of Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literature. He frequently lectures on topics related to Jewish literature, history, humor, and popular culture at the 92nd St Y and other venues throughout the United States.