A growing collection of in-depth interviews with people of all ages and backgrounds, whose stories about the legacy and changing nature of Yiddish language and culture offer a rich and complex chronicle of Jewish identity.
Ilan Stavans's Oral History
Ilan Stavans, academic and writer, was interviewed by Lesley Yalen on May 31, 2013 at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts.
This interview was conducted in English.
This interview is part of the Yiddish in the Academy: scholars, language instructors, and students series.
Video highlights from this oral history
"I Think I Am Here in Order to Think": Ilan Stavans on Jewishness, Mexican-ness, and the Future6 minutes 28 seconds
Four Languages Coexisting in Jewish Mexican Life3 minutes 28 seconds
Ilan Stavans, a Mexican-Born Descendent of Shtetl-Dwellers3 minutes 41 seconds
Yiddish to Relate to the Past: Ilan Stavans on Languages as Glasses that Change One's World View2 minutes 1 second
Golemito, the Nahuatl Golem3 minutes 11 seconds
Ilan Stavans Describes his Yiddish Education in Mexico City5 minutes 9 seconds
Mole Latkes: A Hybrid Eastern European-Mexican Jewish Culture3 minutes 31 seconds
The Jewish Geography of Mexico City4 minutes 21 seconds
El Iluminado: The Story of Luis de Carabajal4 minutes 50 seconds
"I Want to Provoke Thought": Ilan Stavans on Writing4 minutes 57 seconds
"A Cultural Jew with Very Strong Faith Defined by Ambivalence": Ilan Stavans on His Jewish Identity3 minutes 20 seconds
"A State of Fear": Economic Collapse and Anti-Semitism in Mexico in the 1980s6 minutes 49 seconds
The Jewish Grandparents' Kiss in the Square of a Spanish Inquisition Burning3 minutes 33 seconds
My Father, "Rebel" Actor of the Mexican Jewish Community1 minute 46 seconds
"Daring" to Find Out Who You Are: Ilan Stavans on Writing and Jewish Identity1 minute 57 seconds
More information about this oral history
- Mexico City
- United States
- Nowe Brodno
- Frida Kahlo
- Irving Howe
- Barry Muser
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- Mario Vargas Llosa
- Yiddishe Shule
- Congregation B'nai Israel
- Amherst College
- conservative movement
- Universidad Autonoma de Mexico
- Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana
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About the Wexler Oral History Project
Since 2010, the Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project has recorded more than 500 in-depth video interviews that provide a deeper understanding of the Jewish experience and the legacy and changing nature of Yiddish language and culture.
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