Our Next Weekend Program

I.L. Peretz Classic and Contemporary, April 8-10, 2016

A century after his death in 1915, I. L. Peretz remains one of the modern Jewish writers to whom we continually return—not out of a sense of duty to the past, but because of what his work tells us about ourselves. Join Professor Emerita Ruth Wisse of Harvard University and Professor Justin Cammy of Smith College as they delve into Peretz's oeuvre, exploring and discussing some of his liveliest writing.

The program will include:

  • A keynote lecture by Ruth Wisse
  • Two lectures by Justin Cammy
  • A conversation between Cammy and Wisse
  • A musical theater interpretation of Peretz's epic poem "Monish"
  • Kosher, catered meals, beginning with Shabbos dinner

Tentative Program Schedule:

Friday, April 8
5:30 p.m. Check in
6:00 p.m. Shabbos dinner
7:30 p.m. — Keynote lecture by Ruth Wisse: “Peretz on Good and Evil”

Saturday, April 9
10:00 a.m. Coffee and nosh
10:30 a.m. Lecture by Justin Cammy: “Peretz as Storyteller”
12:00 p.m. Lunch
1:30 p.m. A Conversation with Aaron Lansky
3:00 p.m. Free time with optional walk or tour of the Yiddish Book Center
4:30 p.m. Ruth Wisse and Justin Cammy in Conversation: “What Did Peretz Achieve?”
6:00 p.m. Dinner
7:30 p.m. Performance by Big Galut(e): "The Tale of Monish"

Sunday, April 10
9:30 a.m. — Coffee and nosh
10:30 a.m. — Lecture by Justin Cammy: “Peretz as Dramatist”
12:00 p.m. — End of program


Ruth R. Wisse is the Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature Emerita at Harvard University. Her books include The Schlemiel as Modern Hero, I. L. Peretz and the Making of Modern Jewish Culture, A Little Love in Big Manhattan, The Modern Jewish Canon, and Jews and Power.

Justin Cammy is director of the Program in Jewish Studies and associate professor of Jewish studies and comparative literature at Smith College. His articles include studies of Sholem Aleichem, Chaim Grade, and Avrom Sutzkever. His book Young Vilna: Yiddish Culture of the Last Generation is forthcoming.


To register, go to the course registration form.

The program cost is $300 for Yiddish Book Center members and $350 for nonmembers.
Join or renew your membership now to take advantage of the member discount. Then return to the registration page to continue the registration process or call 413-256-4900, ext. 143, to register by phone.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations by April 1, 2016, will be refunded, minus a $30 administration fee per registered participant. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide a refund for cancellations after April 1.

Hotel Information:

Due to various university events happening in the Amherst area, hotels tend to fill up quickly, so we encourage you to make arrangements for accommodations as soon as possible. The local Holiday Inn Express (413-582-0002) and Econo Lodge (413-582-7077) are offering our participants discounted rates, pending availability at the time you call.
Please contact these hotels directly and mention that you are part of our event and would like the Yiddish Book Center rate. If they have availability, they will give you the discounted rate.

Please see our Visit page for more information about local accommodations as well as directions.

The lectures in this weekend program will be filmed and presented in future online courses offered by the Yiddish Book Center.