YiddishSchool: 2019 Faculty

Language Instructors

Kolya Borodulin is the master teacher and coordinator of Yiddish programming at the Workmen’s Circle in New York. He teaches Yiddish language and culture to multigenerational audiences: kids, teens, and adults (sometimes four generations together), nationally and internationally, and is credited with giving hundreds of Yiddishists their foundation in the language. His dynamic style has garnered a growing fan base across the United States and beyond. He is the organizer of the Trip to Yiddishland program (Circle Lodge, Hopewell Junction, New York) and Yiddish programming coordinator at KlezKanada. Borodulin is the author of Yiddish Year Round: A Curriculum for the Young Beginners and a number of Yiddish educational materials for children. Last year he piloted Yidish fun der vaytns—live, online Yiddish classes at the Workmen’s Circle. Kolya will teach the Level 3 course at YiddishSchool.

Madeleine (Mindl) Cohen is the director of translation and collections initiatives at the Yiddish Book Center. Mindl has a PhD in Comparative Literature with an emphasis in Jewish Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a western Massachusetts native, she grew up in Greenfield and attended Hampshire College, where her studies focused on German and German-Jewish literature. As an undergraduate, Mindl participated in the Yiddish Book Center's Steiner Summer Yiddish Program, which set her on the path of Yiddish Studies, and more recently she was a Yiddish Book Center Translation Fellow. Before coming (back) to the Center, she worked as the Editor-in-Chief for In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies and taught Yiddish language at Harvard University. Mindl will teach the Level 1 course at YiddishSchool.

Asya Vaisman Schulman is the director of the Yiddish Language Institute at the Yiddish Book Center. Before joining the Center, Schulman taught Yiddish at Indiana University, where she was also the project manager of AHEYM, the Archives of Historical and Ethnographic Yiddish Memories. Schulman has taught both extracurricular and for-credit Yiddish courses at Harvard, Columbia, the New York Workmen’s Circle, and Gann Academy in Waltham, Massachusetts. Schulman holds a BA from Barnard College, Columbia University, and a PhD in Yiddish from Harvard. Schulman's PhD research was on the Yiddish songs and singing practices of contemporary Hasidic women. She will teach the Level 2 course at YiddishSchool. 

Guest Lecturers 

Justin Cammy is associate professor of Jewish studies and comparative literature at Smith College, where he directs the Program in Jewish Studies. A longtime member of the Steiner faculty, he is also a regular lecturer on Yiddish literature in the Naomi Kadar International Summer Yiddish Program at Tel Aviv University, where he served as Webb Family Visiting Scholar in Yiddish in 2013-14. Cammy has translated two works of Yiddish literature: Sholem Aleichem's Shomers mishpet (The Judgment of Shomer, 1888), and Hinde Bergner's In di lange vinternekht (On Long Winter Nights: Memoirs of a Jewish Family in a Galician Township, 1870-1900). His scholarly articles on such Yiddish writers as Avrom Sutzkever, Leyzer Volf, and Chaim Grade form the basis for his book Young Vilna: Yiddish Culture of the Last Generation, forthcoming from Indiana University Press.

Avinoam J. Patt, Ph.D. is the Philip D. Feltman Professor of Modern Jewish History at the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford, where he is also director of the Museum of Jewish Civilization.  Previously, he worked as the Miles Lerman Applied Research Scholar for Jewish Life and Culture at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM).  He is the author of Finding Home and Homeland: Jewish Youth and Zionism in the Aftermath of the Holocaust (Wayne State University Press, May 2009); co-editor (with Michael Berkowitz) of a collected volume on Jewish Displaced Persons, titled We are Here: New Approaches to the Study of Jewish Displaced Persons in Postwar Germany (Wayne State University Press, 2010); and is a contributor to several projects at the USHMM including Jewish Responses to Persecution, 1938-1940 (USHMM/Alta Mira Press, September 2011). He is co-editor of an anthology of contemporary American Jewish fiction entitled The New Diaspora: The Changing Landscape of American Jewish Fiction (Wayne State University Press, 2015) and co-editor of a new volume on The Joint Distribution Committee at 100: A Century of Humanitarianism (Wayne State, 2019).

He is currently writing a new book on the early postwar memory of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Together with David Slucki and Gabriel Finder, he is co-editing a new volume on Laughter After: Humor and the Holocaust and is co-editor of the forthcoming volume Understanding and Teaching the Holocaust (University of Wisconsin Press, in progress). He was recently named Executive Director of the HERO Center (Holocaust Education Resource and Outreach Center), a partnership between the Greenberg Center and Voices of Hope.

Sasha Lurje was born in Riga, Latvia, and has been singing since she was three years old. Her vocal training spans various musical styles including classical and folk singing, jazz, rock, and pop. Beginning in 2003, she has been researching traditional Yiddish singing style and repertoire, investigating secular and religious vocal materials. With her band Forshpil, she is developing a new style of Yiddish music by integrating the traditional sound into modern context. She has collaborated with Daniel Kahn to develop an “interlingual” love song duo program STRANGELOVESONGS and is also a member of the all-star band, Semer Ensemble, led by Alan Bern. The group reinterprets Jewish music recorded in Berlin in the ’30s and is esteemed for its original variety of style and genre. Sasha also performs and leads Yiddish dance with the Berlin klezmer band You Shouldn’t Know From It. One of her most recent projects, Goyfriend, collaborates with Brooklyn-based Band Litvakus to explore the musical interactions between Jews and their non-Jewish neighbors. Sasha is a co-founder of the Berlin Yiddish music festival Shtetl Neukölln. She has performed and taught Yiddish singing in Russia, Europe, and North and South America and has been a longstanding artist and faculty member at Yiddish Summer Weimar, where she coordinates the song workshop.

The staff were friendly and helpful, the teachers were knowledgeable and lively, the lecturers enthusiastic and interesting.
YiddishSchool participant