Shachar Pinsker, a scholar of Hebrew literature, argues that coffeehouses anchored a silk road of modern Jewish culture. This lecture will uncover a network of interconnected cafés that were central to the modern Jewish experience in a time of migration and urbanization—in Odessa, Warsaw, Vienna, Berlin, New York City, and Tel Aviv. Drawing on stories, novels, poems, newspaper articles, memoirs, archival documents, photographs, caricatures, and artwork, Pinsker will show how Jewish modernity was born in the café, nourished, and sent out into the world by way of politics, literature, art, and theater. What was experienced and created in the space of the coffeehouse touched thousands who read, saw, and imbibed a modern culture that redefined what it meant to be a Jew in the world.
Shachar Pinsker is an associate professor of Hebrew literature and culture at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Literary Passports: The Making of Modernist Hebrew Fiction in Europe, which won the 2011 Jordan Schnitzer Book Award from the Association for Jewish Studies. He the editor of Where the Sea and Earth Meet: Israeli Stories in Yiddish (2016) and Meager Gifts from Desert Islands: Women’s Hebrew Poetry on American Shores (2016), and the co-editor of Hebrew, Gender, and Modernity (2007). He has published numerous articles dealing with Hebrew, Jewish, and Israeli literature and culture. His most recent book, A Rich Brew: Urban Cafés and Modern Jewish Culture, will be published later on this year.
This event is open to alumni, faculty/staff, and students.