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Curt Leviant, one of the world's leading translators of Yiddish literature and an award-winning novelist, visited Dartmouth College on May 14-15, 2001 as guest of the Dept of Asian & Middle Eastern Languages & Literature.

Leviant delivered a public lecture on May 14 at 4 pm, entitled: Sholem Aleichem's "Song of Songs"

He taught a class on May 15 for HEBREW 62 "Midrash".

Curt Leviant, Professor of Hebrew and Yiddish at Rutgers University, is author or translator of 25 books, among them five Sholem Aleichem collections and four of Chaim Grade's novels, including The Agunah and The Yeshiva, which won a National Jewish Book Award.

Mr Leviant's edition of a new volume of Isaac Bashevis Singer, More Stories from my Father's Court, will be published in November. Two stories from this collection recently appeared in The New Yorker.

The holder of literary fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Rockefeller Foundation, his four novels, The Yemenite Girl, Passion in the Desert, The Man who Thought he was Messiah and Partita in Venice, have won praise from Saul Bellow and Eli Wiesel.

Curt Leviant's translation of Sholem Aleichem's love story, The Song of Songs, was adapted into a musical and given an Off-Broadway production at the Greenwich Theater this past spring.

Chasidic Folklore

The first Dartmouth Festival of Chasidic Folklore was held at the Roth Center for Jewish Life on October 17, 1999.

The event attracted a large number of students and faculty, both Jewish and non-Jewish, and many members of Jewish communities from across New England. The sun shone on the festival, the fall leaves were at their most riotous, and the authentic Bratslav Chasidic klezmer band had the crowds clapping and dancing across the Hillel lawns. While munching on a glatt kosher buffet, visitors were able to browse a book fair on Jewish spirituality by the the Vermont-based Jewish publishing house "Jewish Lights."

Lewis Glinert, Professor of Hebrew Studies and coordinator of the Hebrew Studies program, who organized the festival, is grateful to the Dartmouth College Bildner Foundation, to the Merchants Automotive Group of Hookset NH, and to the Jewish Studies and Music Departments for co-sponsoring the event.

The program was as follows:

12:30 p.m Buffet reception and Chasidic dancing by Fishel Bresler and his Chasidic Band.
1:15 Welcome by Susannah Heschel
1:30 Chasidic story-teller: Tales of the Baal Shem Tov by Rabbi Yisrael Korff
2:00 Talks on Chasidic thought: Andrea Cohen-Kiener, Ehud Benor, Nechemia Polen
3:15Text workshops: Lewis Glinert, Janet Zimmern
4:00 Keynote lecture: Arthur Green "The Elusive Essence of the Baal Shem Tov"
5:00-5:30Refreshments and Chasidic dancing

About the guest speakers:
  • Arthur Green, Philip W. Lown Professor of Jewish Thought at Brandeis University. Among his books is Tormented Master: The Life and Spiritual Quest of Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav, described by Elie Wiesel as "a major contribution to the understanding of Chasidic wisdom."
  • Rabbi Yisroel Korff, the Zvhil-Mezbuz Rebbe, a direct descendant of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov and an exponent of his teaching.
  • Andrea Cohen-Kiener, Hartford, CT, translator of "Conscious Community," a Chasidic text prayer, and "Kavannah/Mindfulness" by Kalonymos Shapira, the Rabbi of the Warsaw Ghetto.
  • Janet Zimmern, a clinical social worker, who teaches Chasidic texts and spirituality for their application to daily life in the Adult Education Program of Hebrew College, Brookline, Mass.
  • Nechemiah Polen, professor of Jewish thought at Hebrew College, Brookline, Mass. Among his recent publications are "Miriam's dance: radical egalitarianism in Chasidic thought" and "Divine weeping: Rabbi Kalonymos Shapiro's theology of catastrophe in the Warsaw Ghetto."



Last Modified February 12, 2006