*IN YIDDISH* Yiddish Poetry and Creativity in the Global World: A Moderated Discussion with Evgeny Kissin

When and Where

Tuesday, September 12, 2023 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm
Jackman Humanities Building
170 St. George St., Toronto, ON M5R 2M8


Evgeny Kissin (Pianist, Composer, Yiddish Writer)
Anna Shternshis (University of Toronto)
Naomi Seidman (University of Toronto)
Daniel Galay (Chair of Leyvik House)
Max Kohn (Psychoanalyst, Paris)


This event is sponsored by the Fania and Aron Fainer Family Fund

Himel Family Yiddish Lecture Series

Co-sponsored by the Al and Malka Green Fund in Yiddish Studies

Evgeny Kissin (Pianist, Composer, Yiddish Writer)

Yiddish Poetry and Creativity in the Global World: A Moderated Discussion with Evgeny Kissin

Featured speaker, Evgeny Kissin, will discuss with Anna Shternshis (University of Toronto), his Yiddish poetry, his interest in Yiddish literature and his work in Yiddish translation. A panel with Daniel Galay (Chairman of Leyvik House), Max Kohn (Psychoanalyst, Paris), and Naomi Seidman (University of Toronto) will follow the discussion.


Featured Speaker:

Evgeny Kissin is a Russian-born concert pianist and composer. He first came to international fame as a child prodigy He has a wide repertoire and is especially known for his interpretations of the works of the Romantic era. He is commonly viewed as a great successor of the Russian piano school because of the depth, lyricism and poetic quality of his interpretations. In addition to classical music, Kissin has given recitations of Russian and Yiddish poetry. Three CDs of Kissin's recitals from the classical and contemporary Yiddish poetry have been issued by the Forward Association. In 2019, his book of poems, short stories and translations in Yiddish was published under the title “A Yiddisher Sheygets”. His works carry the rhythm of our time and feature the author's sober look back at yesteryear. In Yiddish, Kissin's "grandmother's tongue," the author finds the creative wellspring of his people, which provides him with a certain grounding in life and the moral fortitude to continue with his creative endeavors.

In 2021, his book of short stories and diaries in Yiddish was published under the title “Bloyz etlekhe minut gang” (“Only a few minutes by foot)”.


Daniel Galay is the Chairman of Leyvik House in Israel. He was born in Argentina and educated in a Yiddish - speaking Jewish home and community schools. In 1965 he immigrated to Israel. Published the play "Muscles" in Hebrew and a book of Yiddish songs "Oyer Silhouette" (silhouettes of the ear). He later published six more of his plays. Served as an editorial board member of the journal New Roads. He has won numerous scholarships and awards, including the Prime Minister's Award for Composing and the National Authority for Yiddish Culture for Composing Jewish Music.

Max Kohn, Psychoanalyst in Paris,  former Professor at Université Paris Cité, has published many books and articles on Yiddish, psychoanalysis and other subjects. He is the author of Le préanalytique : Freud et le yiddish (1877-1897), [1982, 2005, 1994 pour la traduction en portugais par Marcella Mortara, 2020 pour la traduction en italien par Alessandra Berghino], Paris, MJW Fédition, 2013.

His personal website is: https://www.maxkohn.com/

Naomi Seidman is the Chancellor Jackman Professor of the Arts at the University of Toronto in the Department for the Study of Religion and the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies. Her most recent book, Sarah Schenirer and the Bais Yaakov Movement: A Revolution in the Name of Tradition, was awarded a National Jewish Book Award. Professor Seidman is presently working on a study of the Hebrew and Yiddish translations of Freud's writings. 



Anna Shternshis is the Al and Malka Green Professor of Yiddish studies and director of the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. She received her doctoral degree (DPhil) from Oxford University in 2001. Shternshis is the author of Soviet and Kosher: Jewish Popular Culture in the Soviet Union, 1923 - 1939 (Indiana UP, 2006) and When Sonia Met Boris: An Oral History of Jewish Life under Stalin (Oxford UP, 2017), and most recently co-author (together with Oleg Budnitsky, David Engel and Gennady Estraikh) of Jews in the Soviet Union: A History: War, Conquest, and Catastrophe, 1939–1945 (New York UP, 2022). Together with artist Psoy Korolenko, Shternshis created and directed the Grammy-nominated Yiddish Glory project, an initiative that brought back to life forgotten Yiddish music written during the Holocaust in the Soviet Union. A recipient of 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship, she is currently working on a book tentatively entitled Last Yiddish Heroes: A Lost and Found Archive of the Holocaust in the Soviet Union about Yiddish music created in Nazi-occupied Ukraine. 


This event will take place entirely in Yiddish.




This lecture will be delivered in-person in JHB616 and virtually via Zoom. To attend virtually, please click THIS LINK on Tuesday, September 12, at 12:30PM ET.


Himel Family Yiddish Lecture Fund, Al and Malka Green Fund in Yiddish Studies, Fania and Aron Fainer Family Lecture


170 St. George St., Toronto, ON M5R 2M8