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Watch Past Events

The Chicago YIVO Society is a local affiliate of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. The mission of Chicago YIVO is to entertain and educate the local community through subsidized lectures, music programs, and film screenings that reflect the rich heritage and diversity of Jewish culture, and to ensure the future of Yiddish through language education.  Please enjoy viewing the many events that Chicago YIVO Society has offered over the years.

Salvage Poetics The Photographs That
Helped Us Reconstruct
a Lost World

Lecture Presented May 15, 2022

How do American Jews “know what they think they know” about pre-Holocaust European Jewish life? The Old World in Image and Imagination. How do American Jews “know what they think they know” about pre-Holocaust European Jewish life? Chicago YIVO Society hosts this free zoom event by Dr. Sheila Jelen as she examines the role that images by photographers such as Roman Vishniac played in shaping the post-Holocaust reconstruction of that world among American Jews. What rhetorical and visual strategies were used to build bridges between different kinds of Jews in different historical moments?

Duo Controverso Klezmer Concert

Concert Presented April 24, 2022

Annette Bjorling (harp) and Kurt Bjorling (clarinet, basset-horn) present a musical journey through different eras and styles of klezmer. The program includes liturgical music, virtuosic mazltovs and celebratory dances, as well as instrumental versions of traditional folk songs. Based on research and musical exploration of traditional East European Yiddish wedding music, folk songs and liturgical pieces, Duo Controverso creates a unique soundscape, presenting a program to entertain, educate and elate listeners.

Corned Beef and Camaraderie:
The Jewish Deli in Chicago
with Ted Merwin

Lecture Presented April 3, 2022

 

Few locations of Jewish life rival the delicatessen for its place in the hearts—and stomachs—of Jews in Chicagoland. Especially for those who had gravitated away from shul attendance and strict religious observance, the deli became a kind of surrogate synagogue, a home away from home where Jews of all backgrounds could nurture and sustain community over no more than a beef sandwich and a glass of chocolate or raspberry phosphate. Ted Merwin will take us from the origin of Jewish delis in Eastern Europe and their growth in New York to Chicago, following Jewish delis from Maxwell Street to Lawndale to the Gold Coast to West Rogers Park to Skokie and the northwest suburbs. His talk recovers a lost chapter of Chicago Jewish history, and considers the role that Chicago delis continue to play in the life of the city and its environs today. 

“AF PURIM DARF MEN LAKHN!” – “ON PURIM YOU GOTTA LAUGH!”
with Stewart Figa

Concert Presented March 13, 2022

Cantor, actor, and Yiddish performer Stewart Figa returns to Chicago YIVO to present a program of humorous Yiddish songs, jokes and stories keeping with the fun of the holiday of Purim. Figa pays tribute to such Jewish comedy legends Menashe Skulnik, Aaron Lebedeff, Mickey Katz, Bruce Adler, Allen Sherman and others. Accompanied on piano by Ilya Levinson, much of his material will be in mamaloshen with translation provided.

Lakhn iz Gezunt! Keep Laughing! with Barry Schechter

Event held February 20, 2022

Rabbi Schechter will lift spirits with the most potent mixture known for spirit-lifting: Yiddish and Laughter. Sholem Aleichem said: LAKHN IZ GEZUNT, DOKTOIRIM HEYSSN LAKHN, “Laughter is healthy, Doctors prescribe laughter.” Never has this prescription been more necessary than now, after two years of Pandemification, Zoomification, and Meshuggefication. Rabbi Schechter will lift spirits with the most potent mixture known for spirit-lifting: Yiddish and Laughter.

Dress Rehearsal for Dreyfus: The Duchesse de Berry, Simon Deutz & France’s First
Antisemitic Affaire

Lecture Presented on January 23, 2022

In 1832, the duchesse de Berry led a civil war to recapture the French throne for her 11-year-old son. She was betrayed to the government by her trusted confidant, Simon Deutz, the son of France’s chief rabbi, setting off the first outpouring of antisemitism in modern France. Maurice Samuels shows how this colorful but now forgotten historical event set the stage for the century of antisemitism to come.

Lecture in Yiddish with
Dr. Yitskhok Niborski —

„ייִדיש אין פּאַריז : דער ווילן צו פֿאַרטיפֿן“

Lecture Presented December 19, 2021

Dr. Niborski will speak in Yiddish on the history and current work of the Paris Yiddish Center-Medem Library, giving as an example his study of the Yiddish poet Aaron Tsaytlin. Consecutive interpretation provided.

Lecture in Russian-
Boris Sandler:
Еврейские писатели, их произведения и издания на
идише — сегодня

Lecture Presented December 16, 2021

Lecture in Russian with Boris Sandler: Еврейские писатели, их произведения и издания на идише — сегодня Вы познакомитесь с авторами, родившимися после Второй мировой войны, с их произведениями, а также с печатными и электронными изданиями, которые теперь выходят на «Еврейской улице». Please note that this event is in Russian!