March 12: The Politics and Meaning of Jewish Archives

Did you ever wonder who decides what items belong in an archive and what is just junk?  What about the archive of an institution? A person? A People?  Join the Berman Archive for an online event to discuss the history,  politics, and meaning of Jewish archives with 3 leading experts in the field. We’ll consider questions of provenance and motivations for creating specifically Jewish archives, as well as the collections and description practices that mark them. We’ll also delve into who exactly these archives are for and explore ways that collections can be useful and meaningful for researchers, Jewish professionals, and anyone with an interest in engaging with artifacts from the past.



  • March 12 at 4:00pm PST
  • Via Zoom


Stefanie Halpern is Director of the Archives at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research where she has worked since 2016. She received her PhD from the department of Jewish Literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary and has a Masters in Archival Studies from Clayton State University. Halpern publishes on archives and Jewish theater and performance. She has a regular column about artifacts from the YIVO Archives in the UK-based journal, Jewish Renaissance, and was the assistant curator of the exhibition “From the Bowery to Broadway: New York’s Yiddish Theater,” held at the Museum of the City of New York.

Eitan Kensky has served as the Reinhard Family Curator of Judaica and Hebraica Collections at Stanford Libraries since 2018. Before coming to Stanford, he worked as the Director of Collections Initiatives at the Yiddish Book Center, taught Yiddish language at Harvard University, and co-founded In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies. He holds a PhD in Jewish Studies from Harvard.

Lisa Leff is Professor of History at American University.  She is a historian of European and Jewish history, specializing in the history of Jews in France. Her books include Sacred Bonds of Solidarity: The Rise of Jewish Internationalism in Nineteenth Century France (2006), Colonialism and the Jews (2017) and The Archive Thief: the Man Who Salvaged French Jewish History in the Wake of the Holocaust (2015), which received the 2016 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish literature. Since 2018, she has also served as Director of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.


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