Becoming Sholem Asch, with David Mazower

Live, Online Event Recorded Via Zoom on January 10, 2021

An illustrated talk by his great-grandson, Yiddish Book Center bibliographer David Mazower.

A yeshiva student who became a provocative dramatist, bestselling novelist, and embattled prophet, Sholem Asch was Yiddish literature’s first modern celebrity. One of the best-known Jewish public figures for over half a century, Asch’s writings included bestsellers in English translation, and smash hits on the Yiddish stages of Warsaw and New York. His 1907 play God of Vengeance resulted in a famed obscenity trial in New York and has inspired many adaptations and reworkings, including Paula Vogel’s recent hit Indecent. This lecture by Asch’s great-grandson will put his career as a playwright in the wider context of his life and work, charting his migrations from Poland to America, France, England, and finally Israel. Theater posters, stage stills, and a wide variety of other images will be combined with unseen photos from family albums, showing the private face of this most public figure.

This event is cosponsored with the Yiddish Theatre Ensemble in conjunction with their upcoming production of God of Vengeance, translated by Caraid O’Brien.

We’ll be regularly presenting virtual programs on a range of topics related to Yiddish and modern Jewish literature and culture. You’ll find the full schedule and event listings at

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