International Holocaust Remembrance Day Lecture

The Book Smugglers of the Vilna Ghetto: A Chapter in Spiritual Resistance to the Nazis

Public Lecture in Honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day with
Professor David E. Fishman

Thursday, January 24, 2019 | 7:00 PM
Old Main Theater | 1600 Pleasant Street, Boulder, CO 80302


This public lecture will feature discussion from Professor David E. Fishman on his new book, The Book Smugglers: Partisans, Poets, and the Race to Save Jewish Treasures from the Nazis, which tells the story of ghetto inmates who rescued thousands of rare books and manuscripts – first from the Nazis and then from the Soviets – by hiding them on their bodies, burying them in bunkers, and smuggling them across borders. Based on Jewish, German, and Soviet documents, The Book Smugglers chronicles the daring activities of a group of poets turned partisans and scholars turned smugglers in Vilna, “The Jerusalem of Lithuania.”

David E. Fishman is a Professor of History at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS) where he is an authority on the history and culture of Jews in Eastern Europe. Fishman is also the director of Project Judaica, JTS’s academic program in Jewish Studies in the former Soviet Union, which allows students to pursue a major in Jewish history and culture at universities in Moscow and Kiev. Fishman is a native Yiddish-speaker and frequently travels to Ukraine, Lithuania, and Russia to conduct research and lecture.


David Fishman's visit is hosted by the Program in Jewish Studies. It is part of the Community Talks Series, made possible in part by a grant from Rose Community Foundation. Community Talks features nationally and internationally renowned scholars, authors, artists, and performers for themed public events with the goal of enriching community learning and expanding access to academic programming on Jewish culture and history.  Become a Friend of Community Talks Today!

2019 Sondra & Howard Bender Visiting Scholar

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

Featuring poet and professor Irena Klepfisz
2019 Sondra & Howard Bender Visiting Scholar

Thursday, February 21, 2019 | 7:00 PM
Eaton Humanities Building, Room 250 | 1610 Pleasant Street, Boulder, CO 8002


In her talk, Irena 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 KlepfiszIrena 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.


The annual Sondra and Howard Bender Visiting Scholar series is generously supported by the Sondra and Howard Bender Visiting Scholars Endowed Fund, honoring the lives of Sondra and Howard Bender. 

Learn More about Sondra and Howard Bender


Irena Klepfisz's visit is hosted by the Program in Jewish Studies. It is part of the Community Talks Series, made possible in part by a grant from Rose Community Foundation. Community Talks features nationally and internationally renowned scholars, authors, artists, and performers for themed public events with the goal of enriching community learning and expanding access to academic programming on Jewish culture and history.  Become a Friend of Community Talks Today!