Home and Homelessness: European Jews in 1948

PikiWiki Israel 20841 The Palmach (Image courtesy of The Palmach Archive)

Thursday, December 10, 2015
7:30pm – 9:00pm at Temple Emanuel
Speaker: Dr. Miriam Isaacs

Professor Isaacs, a scholar of Yiddish language and literature, and of the post-war experiences of European Jews in Displaced Persons Camps, has been the lead researcher on an important project to recover some of the cultural treasures of pre-Holocaust Jewish life.  She spent several years transcribing and translating songs from recordings of Holocaust survivors, collected in a New York hotel lobby in 1948 by the late ethnographer Ben Stonehill.  Here is Stonehill’s reminiscence of the scene:

“Boys, girls, and mothers would gather about the recorder and beg permission to sing into the microphone in order to hear their own voices played back. The thrill and glow that spread over their faces, and the tears that came to their eyes, was patently an admixture of witnessing an electronic miracle and having the satisfaction of knowing that their intimate, closely guarded songs from home, camp and ghetto were being preserved….” (Quoted in The Forward, May 16, 2015)

Dr. Isaacs’ work on this project, supported by a Fulbright scholarship, was featured on National Public Radio and is the subject of an online exhibition through the Center for Traditional Music and Dance in New York City that was launched in May of this year.

This program is made possible by the generosity of Gary and Bernice z”lLebbin. Co-Sponsored by The Foundation for Jewish Studies and Temple Emanuel.

Although there is no cost for this program, we ask that you register at www.foundjs.org or by calling 301-770-4787.