The Clara Sumpf Yiddish Lecture Series
"Di koykhes fun der kultur, un di grenetsn derfun: di yidishe kultur kegn dem aynbrokh fun der tsukunft un dem ikh in di 1930ike yorn (vegn Helena Khatskels, Mikhl Burshtin, Manger, Grade, Vaynraykh, Glatshteyn un andere)" [Translation: The Powers and Limits of Culture: Yiddish Culture Confronts the Collapse of the Future and the Self in the 1930s (concerning Helena Khatskels, Mikhl Burshtin, Manger, Grade, Weinreich, and Others)]
The Yiddish-language paper offered on Friday May 2nd, focuses in on one particular strand of Jewish diasporist thought and practice within the context of the political and intellectual crisis examined in the first paper: how an array of producers and champions of secular Yiddish culture (the cultural ideal that stood at the center of Jewish diasporism) sought to respond to the perceived crisis of Polish Jewish hope and subjectivity through kultur, through the literary arts. At the same time, this talk investigates the new thinking about culture, its powers and its limits as a form of resistance or of subjective reconstruction and self-defense, that emerged in these same circles in the context of this confrontation. It looks at such figures as Max Weinreich, Chaim Grade, Itzik Manger, Mikhl Burshtin, Yitshok Giterman, and Helena Khatskels, among others.