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Girls Reading Yiddish and Polish newspapers, Pinsk 1930s

Yiddish, English, or Maybe Both: The Evolution of a “Yidea”

The University of Colorado Boulder’s Program in Jewish Studies and cosponsors welcome poet and professor Irena Klepfisz as Jewish Studies’ 2019 Sondra and Howard Bender Visiting Scholar. Klepfisz will present a public lecture titled “Yiddish, English or Maybe Both: The Evolution of a “Yidea,” on the CU campus on Thursday, February 21, 2019, @ 7:00 pm, Eaton Humanities Building, Room 250, 1610 Pleasant Street, Boulder, CO 80302. Klepfisz’s visit is part of the Jewish Studies’ 2018-2019 Community Talks Series, Yiddishkvell: An Appreciation of All Things Yiddish, made possible in part by a grant from Rose Community Foundation.

In her talk, Klepfisz will describe some of the issues she faced when she began trying to incorporate Yiddish into her English poetry and prose. What seemed easy enough (just put it in! use it!) turned out to be more difficult and raised questions about appropriateness, intelligibility, and, perhaps most importantly, purpose. Klepfisz will illustrate her literary process and evolution through readings of her own work and the writings of other Yiddish women writers.

Irena Klepfisz is a poet, essayist, translator, editor, and teacher. She is serving as Jewish Studies’ 2019 Sondra and Howard Bender Visiting Scholar and will be in residence at CU Boulder February 20 – 21, 2019. She has taught at Barnard College, in the college program at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, a women’s maximum-security prison, and elsewhere. Among her many other literary accomplishments, she was a founder and co-editor of the award-winning Conditions magazine, the Yiddish editor of the Jewish feminist Bridges, a major contributor to Nice Jewish Girls: A Lesbian Anthology, and co-editor of The Tribe of Dina: A Jewish Women’s Anthology. 


About the Sondra and Howard Bender Visiting Scholar

Klepfisz is the Program in Jewish Studies’ seventh annual Sondra and Howard Bender Visiting Scholar. Her visit celebrates the Sondra and Howard Bender Visiting Scholars Endowed Fund, honoring the lives of Howard and Sondra Bender, devoted parents of four children and eleven grandchildren, including CU graduates. Active members of the community in Washington, D.C. and Bethesda, MD, Howard and Sondra served on multiple boards and held leadership positions in many non-profit organizations. They were extraordinary builders of buildings, Jewish life, and education, as well as devotees of family and horse breeding. The Bender Foundation has generously endowed the Sondra and Howard Bender Visiting Scholars Fund to honor the lives of Sondra and Howard, who cherished Jewish culture, celebrated education, and lived life to the fullest.

This event is hosted by the University of Colorado Boulder’s Program in Jewish Studies and cosponsored by CU’s Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures and Department of Religious Studies.

Klepfisz’s visit is part of the Community Talks Series in the Program in Jewish Studies, made possible in part by a grant from the Rose Community Foundation.

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