Himel Family Yiddish Lecture Series
Co-Sponsored by the Al and Malka Green Fund in Yiddish Studies
Tova Benjamin (New York University)
"Tsi zenen yidn ale mol geven a handlsfolk? Yidn un der rusishe tvuah handl"
Have Jews always been a commercial people? For much of modern European and Jewish history, state policies and Jews’ own sense of their civic belonging have been impacted by longstanding associations between Jews and trade. This seminar will approach these persistent questions by focusing on Jews’ outsized role in Russia’s cereals trade and export, one of the empire’s most valuable and politicized commodity trades. Pulling on Yiddish press, memoirs, and literary depictions, this talk will ask: were Jews drawn to some industries over others? What made the grain trade “Jewish,” if at all, and to what impact on Jewish life?
Tova Benjamin completed her BA at the University of Toronto in Comparative Literature and Religion. She is currently a joint PhD candidate in the History and Hebrew & Judaic Studies departments at New York University. Tova's research interests include the history of Jewish economic life in Russia, and the history of global trade and capitalism. From 2020-2022 she was a Social Science and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellow. She currently serves as an editorial board member for In Geveb, a Journal of Yiddish studies. Her writing most recently appeared in the 2022 issue of Jewish Currents, for which she served as guest editor, and her other writings (including creative works) have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals.
Please note that this event is conducted entirely in Yiddish.
This lecture will be delivered in-person at JHB318 and virtually via Zoom. To attend virtually, please click THIS LINK on Tuesday, February 28, at 1PM.