Eddy Portnoy, "Bad Rabbi And Other Strange But True Stories from the Yiddish Press" (Stanford UP, 2017)


In Bad Rabbi And Other Strange But True Stories from the Yiddish Press (Stanford University Press, 2017), Eddy Portnoy, Academic Advisor and Exhibitions Curator at the YIVO Institute for Yiddish Research, delves into the archives of the Yiddish press to reveal the passionate and tumultuous world of Yiddish cultures in New York and Warsaw in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Portnoy describes this world as Yiddishland, a nation in which all the high and low expressions of culture not only occurred but were carefully and colorfully relayed by Yiddish journalists, including the young Isaac Bashevis Singer and his older brother, Israel Joshua Singer.

A treasure for both researchers and general readership, Bad Rabbi brings to life the passionate, chaotic, and sometimes violent communal life of the Yiddish-speaking urban world that flourished prior to World War II on both sides of the Atlantic, and that was documented by some of Yiddish culture's keenest eyes and finest writers.

David Gottlieb is a PhD Candidate in the History of Judaism at the University of Chicago Divinity School. His research focuses on interpretations of the Binding of Isaac and the formation of Jewish cultural memory. He can be reached at davidg1@uchicago.edu.

Your Host

David Gottlieb

David Gottlieb is a faculty member in the Jewish Studies program at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago. He is the author of Second Slayings: The Binding of Isaac and the Formation of Jewish Memory (Gorgias Press, 2019).

View Profile