Home and Homelessness: European Jews in 1948

Temple Emanuel, Kensington, MD

Dates: Thursday, December 10, 2015
Time: 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Speaker: Dr. Miriam Isaacs

Professor Isaacs, a scholar of Yiddish language and literature, and of the post-war experiences of European Jews in Displaced Persons Camps, has been the lead researcher on an important project to recover some of the cultural treasures of pre-Holocaust Jewish life.  She spent several years transcribing and translating songs from recordings of Holocaust survivors, collected in a New York hotel lobby in 1948 by the late ethnographer Ben Stonehill.  Here is Stonehill’s reminiscence of the scene:


Boys, girls, and mothers would gather about the recorder and beg permission to sing into the microphone in order to hear their own voices played back. The thrill and glow that spread over their faces, and the tears that came to their eyes, was patently an admixture of witnessing an electronic miracle and having the satisfaction of knowing that their intimate, closely guarded songs from home, camp and ghetto were being preserved….” (Quoted in The Forward, May 16, 2015)


Dr. Isaacs’ work on this project, supported by a Fulbright scholarship, was featured on National Public Radio and is the subject of an online exhibition through the Center for Traditional Music and Dance in New York City in May of this year. 


This program is made possible by the generosity of Gary and Bernice z”l Lebbin.


At and Co-Sponsored by:


Temple Emanuel
10101 Connecticut Avenue
Kensington, MD 20895


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