Between Heaven and Earth: Yiddish Women's Folklore, Rituals, & Magic

Fall 2023 Online Course

Wednesdays, October 11, 18, 25, and November 1, 2023, 7:00–8:30 p.m. ET

Jewish women in Eastern Europe were keepers of traditional knowledge passed down orally, as prayer leaders, healers, and wise women. Join journalist Rokhl Kafrissen to explore the ways that Yiddish-speaking women created rituals and customs such as making soul candles (neshome likht) and birthing amulets (kimpet brivlekh), becoming healers and curse removers (opshprekherins) and performing personal prayer practices (tkhines). We will discover how these traditions were almost lost, and how a new generation of women are reinventing them today. 

All sessions held live via Zoom. Recordings will be available to all registrants.

Cost: $75 for Yiddish Book Center members and $100 for nonmembers.

Rokhl Kafrissen

Rokhl Kafrissen is a journalist, cultural critic, teacher, and playwright, and 2022 winner of the prestigious Adrienne Cooper Dreaming in Yiddish prize. She’s been writing about life in the capital of Yiddishland since 2005, when her “Rootless Cosmopolitan” column began appearing in Jewish Currents. Since 2017, her “Rokhl’s Golden City” column has appeared in Tablet magazine twice a month, covering the length and breadth of Yiddish culture. Her opinion pieces, reviews, and essays have appeared in publications all over the world, including Haaretz, the Forward, Lilith, Pakn Treger, Jewish Week, and Sapir Journal. This fall she is teaching a brand-new survey course called “Yiddish History and Culture,” offered to students across the California State University system.