2018 Faculty


Sasha PolyanDr. Alexadnra Polyan - Moscow State University

Alexandra Polyan holds a PhD in Linguistics from the Institute of Linguistics (Russian Academy of Sciences) and is a Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Jewish Studies, Insitute of Asian and African Studies, Moscow State University, where she also teaches Hebrew, Yiddish, Jewish diglossia and Yiddish literature.

She has taught Yiddish language and culture at  both academic and non-academic institutuons: MSU, Project Judaica (Russian State University for the Humanities in cooperation with Jewish Theological Seminary), Eshkolot Project, International Solomon University (Khar'kiv), Jewish communities of Riga and Minsk, the Yiddish Summer Program in Vilnius.

She is also a journalist, working for Forward Yiddish Radio.

Interested in Yiddish dialects and Ashkenazi ethnography and folklore, she has conducted numerous intervies with Yiddish speakers in situ (in Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and Latvia).  Her other fields of interest include: Yiddish and Hebrew literature, theoretical linguistics, sociolinguistics, theory of verse.  


Daniel Birnbaum - faceMr. Daniel Birnbaum

Daniel Birnbaum holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Oberlin College and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

He has been a Yiddish instructor at Tel Aviv University since 2007, teaching both in the framework of the International Summer Program as well as the School of Languages during the academic year.

He has developed an original Yiddish textbook for first and second year students, as well as an online Yiddish curriculum. He wrote his masters' thesis on literary aspects of Mendele's Fishke the Lame which received an award of distinction in Yiddish scholarship by Beit Shalom Aleichem.


New CammyProfessor Justin Cammy – Smith College

Professor Justin Cammy holds a Ph.D. in Yiddish Studies from Harvard University.
He is Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and Comparative Literature at Smith College in Massachusetts (USA), where he serves as Director of the Program in Jewish Studies.  He specializes in modern Jewish literature and Eastern European Jewish culture. In addition to teaching at Smith College, he has served as Mellon Senior Scholar on the Holocaust and Visiting Professor of English at UCLA (2009). He has been a faculty member in the Yiddish summer program at Tel Aviv University since 2007. In 2006 Justin Cammy was awarded Smith College’s Sherrerd Prize for Distinguished Teaching.

Among his publications: co-editor of: Arguing the Modern Jewish Canon: Essays on Literature; translator and editor of Hinde Bergner's memoir On Long Winter Nights: Memoirs of a Jewish Family in a Galician Township, 1870-1900. He has published scholarly articles on such topics as Sholem Aleichem’s Shomers mishpet (which he also translated), the literary groups Yung-Vilne and Yungvald, Chaim Grade, Avrom Sutzkever’s Israel-themed poems, and the influence of Polish poet Norwid on Sutzkever’s  literary development. He is currently at work on a scholarly edition and translation of Abraham Sutzkever’s memoir of the Vilna Ghetto, and on Young Vilna: Yiddish Culture of the Last Generation (forthcoming with Indiana University Press). Since 2005 he has been an associate editor of Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History


Marc CaplanProfessor Marc Caplan

Professor Caplan is a native of Louisiana and a graduate of Yale University. In 2003 he earned his Ph.D. in comparative literature from New York University. Since then he has held appointments at Indiana University, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, and the Johns Hopkins University, as well as visiting fellowships at the Universität Konstanz (Germany), the Center for Jewish History (New York), and the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). 

In 2011 he published How Strange the Change: Language, Temporality, and Narrative Form in Peripheral Modernisms--a comparison of Yiddish and African literatures--with Stanford University Press. Currently he is a visiting senior lecturer at his alma mater, where he is completing a second book, on Yiddish literature written in Weimar Germany, considered in comparison with contemporaneous German literature, theater, and film.



Professor Yitskhok Niborski – Vice President, The Medem Library, Paris, France.

Professor Niborski  has taught Yiddish at the University of Paris VII, Institut National de Langues et Civilisation Orientales, the Medem Library and at intensive Yiddish courses at  Columbia University, Oxford University, Brussels, Moscow, Vilnius, Modena, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. 
He was one of the founders of the Society for the Study of Yiddish - GEFYL, which pioneered mass-participation events in Europe as a stimulus to serious study of the language. He also played a central role in establishing a major European center of Yiddish culture and study in Paris. 

Professor Niborski has coauthored a Yiddish-Spanish dictionary (1979), a Yiddish-French dictionary (2002), and a dictionary of the Hebrew and Aramaic elements in Yiddish (1997). His book Fun a pustn fas (Voice from an Empty Barrel), comprising selections from his poetry and prose over three decades, appeared in Paris in 1996. 


Eliezer NiborskiMr. Eliezer Niborski 

Eliezer Niborski was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and grew up in Paris, France, in a Yiddish speaking family. He studied Mathematics as an undergraduate and a graduate student at institutions of higher education in Paris, Lyon and Strasbourg and spent several yearsteaching Math inhigh schools in France. Since 2004, he has lived in Jerusalem, where he takes part in a bibliographical project initiated by the Hebrew University in conjunction with the National Library of Israel: the Index to Yiddish Periodicals. During the last ten years he has regularly participated as a Yiddish teacher in intensive summer programs for Yiddish language and literature, in Tel Aviv, New York and Vilna.



Ms. Ester Rollansky

Esther Rollansky started teaching Yiddish at the Jewish schools of Buenos Aires, where she was educated, at the age of 18, while studying to become a teacher.

In Buenos Aires, she taught Yiddish Language and Literature at all levels, from elementary school to teacher training and university level. In addition to teaching, she headed the department of Yiddish Teaching at the Teachers College of the Jewish Community of Buenos Aires and established and headed the translation department of the television station "Alef Network", where she translated films and television programs into Yiddish. She has also worked as a simultaneous translator from Yiddish.    

In Israel, Ester Rollansky has been teaching Yiddish language and literature at Beit Shalom Aleichem and The Naomi Prawer Kadar International Yiddish Summer Program at Tel Aviv University since its establishment in 2006


lea skiba

Ms. Lea Skiba

 Lea Skiba holds a B.A. and M.A. in Yiddish and Hebrew, as well as a teaching certificate, from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

She has been teaching Yiddish in high schools, the David Yellin Academic College of Education, the Popular University of Jerusalem, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, since 1982. She was member of the Ministry of Education Board for establishing the curriculum for Yiddish Teaching in high schools, and established and headed the computerized Yiddish Language Laboratory of David Yellin College. She has written several books and multimedia texts for teaching Yiddish, which she uses in her classes.

Lea Skiba has been teaching in the Naomi Prawer Kadar International Yiddish Summer Program at Tel Aviv University since its establishment in 2006. 

Miriam Trinh
Dr. Mirian Trinh

Dr. Miriam Trinh was born in Poland, grew up in Germany and immigrated to Israel at the age of 19. She completed her undergraduate studies in Philosophy and Yiddish at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, obtained her Master's degree in Yiddish literature at the Universities of Paris-Sorbonne and Strasbourg (France) and her Ph.D. at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
She has taught Yiddish language and literature at different levels at the Maison de la Culture Yiddish in Paris, in the international summer programs of Vilna and Strassbourg, at the Oxford Center for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Tel Aviv University and Beth shalom Aleichem in, Tel Aviv. She held the position of a postdoctoral fellow with the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD in  2014-2015. Her fields of research are Yiddish literature during the Holocaust and the multilingual Jewish literary reaction in Europe to the rise of Nazism


Yuri Vedenyapin

Dr. Yuri Vedenyapin - Mc'Gill University

Dr. Yuri Vedenyapin is faculty of the Jewish Studies Dept. at Mc'Gill university.  He has taught Yiddish language and culture at Columbia University, Cambridge University, Moscow State University, the Yiddish Book Center, Yiddish Summer Weimar, the Yiddish Summer Program in Warsaw, and elsewhere. 

He holds a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.A. from Columbia University and is currently completing a study of twentieth-century Yiddish travelogues.

Interested in Yiddish dialects and oral history, he has conducted numerous interviews with Yiddish writers, actors, and members of Hasidic communities. He studied acting at the Shchepkin Theater School in Moscow and regularly performs songs in Yiddish and other languages.