June 28, 2020 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am
Zoom Meeting

The New Yiddish Sitcom

Lecture 5 in the Yiddish On Screen / Yiddish Oyfn Ekran Series

In contrast to pre-Holocaust Yiddish cinema, comedy is the least represented genre of new Yiddish cinema. The project of two graduates of Montreal’s Yiddish day schools, YidLife Crisis (Eli Batalion and Jamie Elman, Canada, three seasons, 2014-2020) presents two younger secular Yiddish speakers dialoguing in Yiddish about religion, politics and identity in restaurants, cars and hospitals. This session looks at comedy in pre-War Yiddish film and then examines YidLife Crisis as a contemporary Yiddish sitcom.


Yiddish On Screen / Yiddish Oyfn Ekran

Hearing contemporary Yiddish dialogue spoken in Unorthodox, one of the most popular Netflix series currently screening in this age of pandemic-induced online binge-viewing, is at once compelling, astonishing and a makhaye for Yiddish enthusiasts everywhere. Who would have ever imagined a house-bound global audience tuning in, entranced, to a niche miniseries filmed in Yiddish?! But in fact our Mameloshn has a long and glorious history on the big and small screens, from Michał Waszyński’s recently remastered 1937 classic fantasy drama Der Dybbuk to the hit Canadian comedy webseries YidLife Crisis, created by Eli Batalion and Jamie Elman.

Now, in collaboration with Monash University’s Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation, the Kadimah has a special treat for you. For our second Matone, we are thrilled to offer you Yiddish On Screen, a free, five-part series of live online lectures on Yiddish in film and television. Written and presented by Professor Rebecca Margolis, the new Director of the ACJC and Pratt Foundation Chair of Jewish Civilisation, the series will be in English with a touch of Yiddish.

From portrayals of Hasidim and journeys into the supernatural to modern sitcoms and Israeli perspectives, this intriguing exploration of Yiddish immortalised on celluloid and the internet couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Join us for one event or the whole series, to be delivered by Zoom and designed to be audience-interactive, on Sunday mornings at 10.30-11.30am, starting Sunday May 17.

May 17: From Dybbuks to Unorthodox : What is New Yiddish Cinema?
May 24:  Portrayals of Hasidim in Yiddish Television and Cinema
May 31: The Supernatural in Yiddish Cinema Yesterday and Today
June 21: Representations of the Holocaust in Yiddish Cinema
June 28: The New Yiddish Sitcom


Professor Rebecca Margolis

Professor Rebecca Margolis took up the position of Pratt Foundation Chair of Jewish Civilisation and Director of the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University in February this year. She joined the Centre from a distinguished career at the University of Ottawa, where she held numerous leadership roles, including Director of the General B.A. in the Faculty of Arts, Coordinator of the Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program and Director of the Masters in World Literatures and Cultures. She has a PhD in Yiddish Studies from Columbia University, and has written a prize-winning history of Yiddish cultural life in Montreal.