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Symposium on Father of Modern Yiddish Literature
Untitled Document


Maria Terrone
Executive Director of Communications
(718) 997-5591

Maria Matteo
News Assistant
(718) 997-5593



--March 27 Symposium Celebrates the Father
of Modern Yiddish Literature--

FLUSHING, NY, March 3, 2005 - The Center for Jewish Studies at Queens College, the Congress for Jewish Culture and The Forward Association are cosponsoring a literary and cultural symposium, “The Enduring Legacy of Yitzchok Leybush Peretz,” on Sunday, March 27, from 1 to 5 p.m. in the LeFrak Concert Hall on the Queens College campus in Flushing, N.Y. In commemoration of the ninetieth anniversary of Peretz’s death, the program will feature an academic evaluation of his literary and artistic legacy, and dramatic and musical presentations of his work.

Called the “father” of modern Yiddish literature, Yitzchok Leybush Peretz—along with Mendele Mocher Sforim and Sholom Aleichem—was a Yiddish writer who laid the groundwork for modern Jewish culture. He symbolizes the union of European rationalism, romanticism, liberalism and aestheticism with the values and ethics of Judaism. Peretz was a storyteller, essayist, poet, playwright, folklorist and editor who inspired a Jewish literary rebirth at the turn of the twentieth century. An interpreter of Jewish folk culture and a teacher of prophetic morality to modernized Jewish youth, Peretz saw Judaism as the road Jews take to humaneness and to the divine in people.

The March 27 program in LeFrak Concert Hall opens with welcome and introductory remarks from 1 to 1:15 p.m. and will feature two sessions, with a break for refreshments from 3:30 to 4 p.m.

Session I: “Reappraising Peretz - A Literary Evaluation,” 1:15 – 3:30 p.m.

- A Modern Judaism for the Yiddish World, Emanuel S. Goldsmith, Queens College
- Literature as a Vehicle for a National Renaissance: The Model of Peretz Versus That of Bialik, Dan Miron, Columbia University.
- Tradition and Innovation: How Peretz Made Literary History, Ken Frieden, Syracuse University.
Professors Miron and Frieden are chairs in Literature at their respective universities.

Session II: “From the Peretz Treasury in Word and Song,” 4 – 5 p.m.

- Dramatic Readings of Peretz's Short Stories in Yiddish and English by actors Hy Wolfe and Suzanne Toren
- The Poetry of Peretz Set to Music sung by Cantor Moshe Bear with musical accompaniment

Admission is $10. Reserved seats are on sale at the Colden Box Office at (718) 793-8080 and will be sold at noon on the day of the event, if available. Professor Benny Kraut, director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Queens College and the academic Jewish Studies Program, is available to the media for questions about Peretz and the symposium.

Through its imaginative programming, the Center for Jewish Studies at Queens College seeks to engage the college and general public in Jewish education and culture; foster Jewish learning in the community; publish and disseminate scholarly proceedings to lay people and scholars; promote academic community among students and faculty; and encourage and sustain pedagogic and scholarly activities of the faculty and students within the Jewish Studies Program at Queens College. For more information on the Peretz Symposium and other upcoming Center for Jewish Studies events, please call (718) 997-4531 or visit on-line at For directions to Queens College, please visit


 Office Information

Deputy Director of News Services
(Position vacant)

(718) 997- 5597

Maria Matteo
Assistant Director of News Services
Queens Hall, Room 270B
(718) 997-5593

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