Contributors

Alexis Aaeng is a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder, where she received a dual degree in history and Jewish studies and wrote her undergraduate thesis about Yiddish radio. She is an alumna of the Yiddish Book Center’s Steiner Summer Yiddish Program (twice), worked as an RA for the Great Jewish Books Summer Program (twice), and is currently a fellow at the Center, where she works on projects for the communications and education departments.

Sara Barber-Just is the English department chair at Amherst Regional High School in Amherst, Massachusetts. She earned her master’s degree in social justice English education at Goddard College in Vermont, where she developed a curriculum for the nation’s first LGBTQ literature course in a public school, which has been offered at ARHS since 2002. Her work addressing LGBTQ-inclusive curricula has been highlighted on Education Radio’s program “Breaking the Silence: LGBTQ Curriculum in Public Schools”; in Sonia Nieto’s book Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education; and in Michael Sadowski's book Safe Is Not Enough: Better Schools For LGBTQ Students. She was named the Robert Frost Teaching Chair at ARHS in 2004 and won the Williams College Olmsted Award for teaching excellence in 2014. 

Ruth Wang Birnbaum is a master teacher of English and writing and has held numerous department and administrative positions during her career. She is a strong proponent of educating the “whole child” and is devoted to ensuring that her students achieve not only academic and professional excellence, but, more important, pride in accomplishment. A word enthusiast and avid reader, Birnbaum is a crackerjack editor who often spends her personal time with her nose in books.

Rena Bonne is chair of the English department at the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaways (HAFTR). She holds a PhD in comparative literature from Case Western Reserve University and a BA from Barnard College.

Debra Caplan is an assistant professor of theater at Baruch College, CUNY. She began studying Yiddish as an intern at the Yiddish Book Center in 2004 and now holds a PhD in Yiddish from Harvard University. Caplan is a historian of Yiddish theater and drama, and her research focuses on Jewish theatrical travel and global artistic networks. Her work has appeared in Theatre Survey, Theatre Journal, Modern Drama, Comparative Drama, New England Theatre Journal, Aschkenas, American Theatre Magazine, and Pakn Treger, where she is a frequent contributor. She is co-founder of the Digital Yiddish Theatre Project (yiddishstage.org), an international consortium of fifteen scholars and librarians dedicated to applying digital tools to the study of Yiddish theater and drama. Caplan is also a dramaturg, director, and theater translator who has worked with Target Margin Theater, the New Yiddish Rep, and the Folksbiene. Her first book, Yiddish Empire: The Vilna Troupe, Jewish Theater, and the Art of Itinerancy, is forthcoming from University of Michigan Press.

Meira Gotesdyner teaches at a Jewish day school in California and in summer camps and other youth programs. She is passionate about the field of Jewish education, including texts, literature, culture, history, and Hebrew language.

Hannah Kalson, a native of Pittsburgh, lives in Brookline, Massachusetts. She is pursuing a dual master’s degree in Jewish education and Jewish studies at Hebrew College and is especially interested in American Jewish identity and spirituality in Jewish education.

Jessica Kirzane earned a PhD in Yiddish studies at Columbia University in 2017. Her dissertation focused on interethnic romance in Jewish American fiction in Yiddish and English in the early twentieth century. Kirzane’s work has appeared in the Journal of Jewish Identities, Zutot, The Sacred Encounter: Jewish Perspectives in Sexuality (CCAR Press, 2014), and Race with Jewish Ethics (Penn State Univ. Press, forthcoming). Her translations have been published in jewishfiction.net, In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies, and Pakn Treger. Kirzane teaches history at Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy in Overland Park, KS. She is also a lecturer in Jewish studies at the University of Kansas, a 2017 Yiddish Book Center translation fellow, and the pedagogy editor for In geveb.

Barry Kirzner teaches United States, world, and Jewish history at Kohelet Yeshiva High School in Merion Station, Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. 

Josh Lambert is the academic director at the Yiddish Book Center, where he directs the Great Jewish Books program, and visiting assistant professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His teaching and research focus on American Jewish literature and culture, in English and Yiddish. He is the author of American Jewish Fiction: A JPS Guide (2009) and Unclean Lips: Obscenity, Jews, and American Culture, which won a 2014 Canadian Jewish Book Award in Jewish Thought and Culture and was co-winner of the 2014 Jordan Schnitzer Book Award in Jewish Literature and Linguistics from the Association for Jewish Studies. Lambert is also a contributing editor to Tablet.

Amy Montoni is the editor of the Charlotte Jewish News and a teacher in two religious schools and at Hebrew High School. She is a relentless supporter of Israel. She has been a “hobby jogger” for more than thirty years and loves to go to hear live music.

Josh Moss teaches rabbinics at American Hebrew Academy, a Jewish boarding school in Greensboro, North Carolina. He received his PhD in Midrash from Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, and his dissertation, Midrash and Legend, was published by Gorgias Press. Moss was the founding director of the Cincinnati Klezmer Project. 

Feygi Zylberman Phillips grew up in a Yiddish-speaking household in Melbourne, Australia. She was an active member of SKIF, the youth movement of the Jewish Labor Bund. She graduated from Monash University with a bachelor of arts in education, focusing on second-language pedagogy and the teaching of Yiddish. In 2011, she graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America with a master of arts in modern Jewish studies. Since then she has been a passionate Jewish educator at The King David School, located in a suburb of Melbourne.

Lillian Rappaport lives with her family in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where she serves as educational director of Temple Ohev Sholom and as Jewish education director at the Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg. She majored in French and Spanish and minored in Hebrew at the University of Pittsburgh and holds an MA in education from New York University and an MA in religious education from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. In 2010 she received an honorary doctorate from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Julie Rezmovic-Tonti is a Jewish educator and community organizer living in Fairfax, Virginia. She teaches middle school Judaics at Gesher Jewish Day School and also works with the Growing Jewish Families program of the JCC of Northern Virginia. Rezmovic-Tonti received a certificate in Jewish philosophy and pedagogy from the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. She also holds an MA in Jewish education from Siegal College of Judaic Studies as well as a BA in women’s studies from the University of Maryland.

Barbara Ellison Rosenblit directs the mentoring program and teaches humanities and Jewish studies at The Weber School in Atlanta. She studied at Brandeis, Columbia, and Emory universities and has wide-ranging interests, which makes her an unrepentant advocate of interdisciplinary curricula. In 2004 Barbara received a Covenant Award, which honors outstanding Jewish educators.

Maeera Shreiber is associate professor of English and director of the religious studies program at the University of Utah. She is the author of Singing in a Strange Land: Jewish American Poetry and Poetics, which was the recipient of the Association for Jewish Studies’s 2011 Jordan Schnitzer Book Award honorable mention in Jewish Literature and Linguistics. She has also published numerous journal articles on poetry, religion, and Jewish thought. 

Corinne Skott is an English teacher at The Weber School, teaching courses including grammar, composition, American literature, British literature, feminist perspectives in literature and film, and world literature. She graduated from the University of Georgia with high honors and received a master’s in English from the University of New Orleans.

Neta Stahl is associate professor in the Hebrew Program at Johns Hopkins University. Her primary research interests lie at the intersection of literature, religion, and culture. Tzelem Yehudi, her Hebrew book on the representation of Jesus in twentieth-century Hebrew literature, was published in 2008. An expanded English edition, Other and Brother: The Figure of Jesus in the 20th-Century Jewish Literary Landscape, was published in 2013 by Oxford University Press. In her forthcoming book, Modern Hebrew Literature and the Divine, Stahl explores how Hebrew literature presents itself as an ideological, secular break from Jewish tradition, while in fact it maintains a dialogue with the Jewish God. Stahl's articles on various twentieth-century Hebrew writers have appeared in journals including Comparative Literature, Jewish Studies Quarterly, Religion & Literature, Prooftexts, and the Journal of Modern Jewish Studies.

Rabbi Robert Sternberg is a graduate of Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Illinois, and of the Machon Harry Fishel Midrasha L'Rabbanut in Jerusalem, under the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. He’s served as director of the National Religious Affairs Department of Canadian Jewish Congress in Montreal, as director of the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center, and as director of Hatikvah Holocaust Education Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. He currently is a professor of Holocaust literature at Westfield State University in Westfield, Massachusetts, a professor of English composition and literature at American International College in Springfield, and a part-time rabbi at Temple Israel in Athol, Massachusetts. He is also the coauthor, with Professor David Oughton, of a curriculum on the Holocaust for Roman Catholic and Christian high schools titled Jewish/Christian Relations in Light of the Holocaust (1999).

Sharon Tash is the curriculum specialist at Temple Beth Ami in Rockville, Maryland. She holds a BA in English and history from the University of Maryland, College Park and an MA in history from Columbia University, and was a doctoral student in Jewish history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Maryland. She worked as an historian on the ID Card Project at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and taught in the Jewish History Department in the upper school at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville.

Miriam Taub was born in Moisés Ville, a Jewish shtetl in Argentina. She grew up speaking Yiddish, Spanish, German, and Hebrew, and she has taught Yiddish and Hebrew in Argentina, Israel, and the U.S. 

Lesley Yalen is education program manager at the Yiddish Book Center, where she helps to run courses and programs for high school students, teachers, and lifelong learners. She is also a poet, whose first book, The Hearts of Vikings, was published by Natural History Press in 2015. Her writing has also appeared in literary magazines and journals including jubilat, The Massachusetts Review, Denver Quarterly, Octopus, and Everyday Genius. She received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and has taught writing and literature to high school and college students.

Michael Yashinsky holds a bachelor’s degree in modern European history and literature from Harvard University and has studied at the Yiddish Book Center’s Steiner Summer Yiddish Program and the Vilna Yiddish Language Institute. A stage director and playwright, Yashinsky has worked at Vienna's Theater an der Wien and at Michigan Opera Theatre, where he directed a production of the Holocaust-era children's opera Brundibár. He has also taught Spanish at Detroit’s Frankel Jewish Academy, where he received a grant to direct a play in Yiddish with the students. He speaks English, Yiddish, German, Hebrew, Spanish, and Italian.