I am Assistant Professor of Russian Studies and Jewish Studies at the Univ. of Colorado Boulder. I received my PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Harvard and taught at Tufts, Lafayette College, and Rutgers before landing in beautiful Boulder. I'm working on my first book, How the Soviet Jew Was Made.
What's new: Russian American Jewish literature
Of late, I've been doing some writing, thinking, speaking, and teaching about contemporary Russian American Jewish literature (or, literature by Soviet-born American Jewish émigré writers, if you'd rather):
- "Ex-Soviets Adopt America" (essay on Boris Fishman's novel Don't Let My Baby Do Rodeo), Los Angeles Review of Books, 3/8/2016.
- An essay on The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis, The New Republic, 9/19/2014.
- "Russian Jewish American Lit Goes Boom!" (a review essay on several novels by Soviet-born emigre Jewish writers, including Anya Ulinich, Boris Fishman, Lara Vapnyar, and Ellen Litman), Tablet, 6/17/2014.
- A review of Little Failure: A Memoir by Gary Shteyngart, Tablet, 1/6/2014.
- Itty bitty reviews of Irina Reyn's novel What Happened to Anna K. and Nadia Kalman's wonderful novel The Cosmopolitans (The Jewniverse, 2013)
- Check out a video recording of my conversation with the writer Gary Shteyngart at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia in May 2015. We've done similar events at CUNY-Baruch, Lehigh, UConn, and CU Boulder.
- I've given talks and also taught guest seminars on this material at UPenn, Lafayette, UConn, Harvard, the Univ of Michigan, and in the Great Jewish Books program for high school students in Amherst, Mass., and in a number of community / adult ed settings.
- “Soviet Jews, Re-Imagined: Anglophone Émigré Writers from the former Soviet Union,” in David Brauner and Axel Staehler, eds. The Edinburgh Companion to Modern Jewish Fiction (Edinburgh Univ. Press, 2015), pp. 90-104 (peer reviewed).
- “Scenes of Encounter: The ‘Soviet Jew’ in Fiction by Russian Jewish Writers in America” in Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History 35:1, forthcoming 2016 (peer-reviewed).
Moyshe Kulbak's The Zelmenyaners
This is the first complete English-language translation of a classic of Yiddish literature, one of the great comic novels of the twentieth century. Moyshe Kulbak's The Zelmenyaners describes the travails of a Jewish family in Minsk that is torn asunder by the new Soviet reality. Four generations are depicted in riveting and often uproarious detail as they face the profound changes brought on by the demands of the Soviet regime and its collectivist, radical secularism. The resultant intergenerational showdowns—including disputes over the introduction of electricity, radio, or electric trolley—are rendered with humor, pathos, and a finely controlled satiric pen. Moyshe Kulbak, a contemporary of the Soviet Jewish writer Isaac Babel, picks up where Sholem Aleichem left off a generation before, exploring in this book the transformation of Jewish life. Translated by Hillel Halkin; Critical Introduction and Notes by Sasha Senderovich.
Press about the book:
Press about the book:
- Review by Madeleine Cohen in In geveb (2015)
- Review by Sonia Isard on The Jewniverse (2014)
- Interview with me by Mikhail Krutikov in Forverts (2013, in Yiddish)
- Review by Mikhail Krutikov in The Yiddish Forward (2013, in Yiddish)
- Review by Rokhl Kafrissen for the Jewish Book Council (2013)
- Review by Ezra Glinter in The Forward (2013)
- Review by Bryan Cheyette in The Times Literary Supplement (2013)
- Podcast (41 minutes long) produced by the Yiddish Book Center (2013)
- A study guide and essay on teaching the novel I wrote for In geveb (2015)