2019 Faculty


Daniel Birnbaum - face

Mr. Daniel Birnbaum

Daniel Birnbaum holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Oberlin College and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

He has been a Yiddish instructor at Tel Aviv University since 2007, teaching both in the framework of the International Summer Program as well as the School of Languages during the academic year.

He has developed an original Yiddish textbook for first and second year students, as well as an online Yiddish curriculum. He wrote his masters' thesis on literary aspects of Mendele's Fishke the Lame which received an award of distinction in Yiddish scholarship by Beit Shalom Aleichem.


New CammyProfessor Justin Cammy – Smith College

Professor Justin Cammy holds a Ph.D. in Yiddish Studies from Harvard University.
He is Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and Comparative Literature at Smith College in Massachusetts (USA), where he serves as Director of the Program in Jewish Studies.  He specializes in modern Jewish literature and Eastern European Jewish culture. In addition to teaching at Smith College, he has served as Mellon Senior Scholar on the Holocaust and Visiting Professor of English at UCLA (2009). He has been a faculty member in the Yiddish summer program at Tel Aviv University since 2007. In 2006 Justin Cammy was awarded Smith College’s Sherrerd Prize for Distinguished Teaching.

Among his publications: co-editor of: Arguing the Modern Jewish Canon: Essays on Literature; translator and editor of Hinde Bergner's memoir On Long Winter Nights: Memoirs of a Jewish Family in a Galician Township, 1870-1900. He has published scholarly articles on such topics as Sholem Aleichem’s Shomers mishpet (which he also translated), the literary groups Yung-Vilne and Yungvald, Chaim Grade, Avrom Sutzkever’s Israel-themed poems, and the influence of Polish poet Norwid on Sutzkever’s  literary development. He is currently at work on a scholarly edition and translation of Abraham Sutzkever’s memoir of the Vilna Ghetto, and on Young Vilna: Yiddish Culture of the Last Generation (forthcoming with Indiana University Press). Since 2005 he has been an associate editor of Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History


Rebecca DBS4463Professor Rebecca Margolis - University of Ottawa 

Professor Rebecca Margolis is Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa’s Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program (Canada). Her research interests focus on Yiddish culture in Canada and she is the author of Jewish Roots, Canadian Soil: Yiddish Culture in Canada, 1905-1945 and numerous scholarly articles on education, theatre, literature as well as Canadian responses to the Holocaust.

She is currently completing a book project on Yiddish transmission in Canada since 1950 and beginning a new one of New Yiddish Cinema. She holds a B.A. in Jewish Studies (McGill University) and an M.A.-Ph.D. in Yiddish Studies from Columbia University and has taught Yiddish language and culture courses in a variety settings, including intensive summer programs, children’s programming and adult education settings. She is president of the Association of Canadian Jewish Studies (ACJS).



Professor Yitskhok Niborski – Vice President, The Medem Library, Paris, France.

Professor Niborski  has taught Yiddish at the University of Paris VII, Institut National de Langues et Civilisation Orientales, the Medem Library and at intensive Yiddish courses at  Columbia University, Oxford University, Brussels, Moscow, Vilnius, Modena, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. 
He was one of the founders of the Society for the Study of Yiddish - GEFYL, which pioneered mass-participation events in Europe as a stimulus to serious study of the language. He also played a central role in establishing a major European center of Yiddish culture and study in Paris. 

Professor Niborski has coauthored a Yiddish-Spanish dictionary (1979), a Yiddish-French dictionary (2002), and a dictionary of the Hebrew and Aramaic elements in Yiddish (1997). His book Fun a pustn fas (Voice from an Empty Barrel), comprising selections from his poetry and prose over three decades, appeared in Paris in 1996. 


Sasha Polyan


Dr. Alexadnra Polyan - Moscow State University

Alexandra Polyan holds a PhD in Linguistics from the Institute of Linguistics (Russian Academy of Sciences) and is a Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Jewish Studies, Insitute of Asian and African Studies, Moscow State University, where she also teaches Hebrew, Yiddish, Jewish diglossia and Yiddish literature.

She has taught Yiddish language and culture at  both academic and non-academic institutuons: MSU, Project Judaica (Russian State University for the Humanities in cooperation with Jewish Theological Seminary), Eshkolot Project, International Solomon University (Khar'kiv), Jewish communities of Riga and Minsk, the Yiddish Summer Program in Vilnius.

She is also a journalist, working for Forward Yiddish Radio.

Interested in Yiddish dialects and Ashkenazi ethnography and folklore, she has conducted numerous intervies with Yiddish speakers in situ (in Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and Latvia).  Her other fields of interest include: Yiddish and Hebrew literature, theoretical linguistics, sociolinguistics, theory of verse.  



Ms. Ester Rollansky

Esther Rollansky started teaching Yiddish at the Jewish schools of Buenos Aires, where she was educated, at the age of 18, while studying to become a teacher.

In Buenos Aires, she taught Yiddish Language and Literature at all levels, from elementary school to teacher training and university level. In addition to teaching, she headed the department of Yiddish Teaching at the Teachers College of the Jewish Community of Buenos Aires and established and headed the translation department of the television station "Alef Network", where she translated films and television programs into Yiddish. She has also worked as a simultaneous translator from Yiddish.    

In Israel, Ester Rollansky has been teaching Yiddish language and literature at Beit Shalom Aleichem and The Naomi Prawer Kadar International Yiddish Summer Program at Tel Aviv University since its establishment in 2006


Claidia RosenzweigDr. Claudia Rosenzweig - Bar Ilan University

Dr. Rosenzweig graduated in Classical Studies from the University of Milan and later specialized in Old Yiddish Literature, with an emphasis on Yiddish Literature in Italy. Her PhD thesis, supervised by Prof. Chava Turniansky (Hebrew University, Jerusalem) and Prof. Erika Timm (University of Trier, Germany), focused on the chivalric poem Bovo d’Antona, a Yiddish rewriting of an Italian work composed in ottava rima.

Dr Rosenzweig worked with Prof. Erika Timm and Prof. Chava Turniansky on the volume Yiddish in Italia (Milan 2003), a broadly comprehensive presentation of Yiddish Literature in Italy covering more than one hundred texts.

In October-November 2011 and February-March 2012 she took part in the European Seminar on Advanced Jewish Studies titled Old Yiddish: Old Texts, New Contexts at the Oxford Center for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.

She is the author of a critical edition of the Yiddish work Bovo d’Antona (Leiden – Boston 2015) and she is prepating a critical edition of the Mayse-bukh (Basel 1602) together with prof. Avidov Lipsker.

She has taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Università degli Studi di Lecce, the Università degli Studi di Milano, the Università degli Studi di Venezia, the Università degli Studi di Verona, the Charles University in Prague and Tel Aviv University.

Dr Rosenzweig is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Literature of the Jewish People at Bar-Ilan University.


lea skiba

Ms. Lea Skiba

 Lea Skiba holds a B.A. and M.A. in Yiddish and Hebrew, as well as a teaching certificate, from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

She has been teaching Yiddish in high schools, the David Yellin Academic College of Education, the Popular University of Jerusalem, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, since 1982. She was member of the Ministry of Education Board for establishing the curriculum for Yiddish Teaching in high schools, and established and headed the computerized Yiddish Language Laboratory of David Yellin College. She has written several books and multimedia texts for teaching Yiddish, which she uses in her classes.

Lea Skiba has been teaching in the Naomi Prawer Kadar International Yiddish Summer Program at Tel Aviv University since its establishment in 2006. 


Vera SzaboMs. Vera Szabo

Vera Szabó was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary. She holds an M.A. in Yiddish Studies from Columbia University as well as an M.A. in English and German Studies from ELTE University, Budapest.

She has taught Yiddish language, literature and folklore at various universities in the US (University of Michigan, Stanford, the University of Washington) and in Israel (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev) as well as in various intensive summer programs (NYU/YIVO, Vilna, and Tel Aviv University.) She currently teaches the advanced Yiddish course at Tel Aviv University and various levels at Beth Shalom Aleichem.

Vera also translates literary and non-literary texts from Yiddish and Hungarian into English. Her research interest is Yiddish folklore. A certified yoga teacher, Vera has been teaching yoga in Yiddish for the past five years in Jerusalem, where she resides. More information on her website: