Coming to America: Jewish Immigrant Stories of Encounter and Adaptation, with Christa Whitney

A Live, Online Event Recorded Via Zoom on November 5, 2020

What was it like to leave a shtetl or city in Eastern Europe heading to an unknown land? How did expectations of “di goldene medine (the golden land)” match up with first impressions when Jewish immigrants landed on American shores? Where did Yiddish-speaking immigrants find a sense of home and community once they arrived? In this multimedia presentation, Christa Whitney will share and discuss video excerpts of oral histories related to stories of Jewish immigration and adaptation collected over the past decade as part of the Center’s Wexler Oral History Project.

Christa P. Whitney is the director of the Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project, a growing collection of more than 1,000 in-depth video interviews about Yiddish language and culture with people of all ages and backgrounds. Originally from northern California, Christa became interested in Yiddish while studying comparative literature at Smith College. She is an alumna of the Yiddish Book Center’s Steiner Summer Yiddish Program, and she completed a yearlong fellowship at the Center, during which she was instrumental in establishing the Wexler Oral History Project. She has also studied Yiddish at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute. For the past ten years, Christa has traveled near and far in search of Yiddish stories.

We’ll be presenting weekly live virtual programs every Thursday evening at 7 p.m.—a range of live programming 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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