Anna Shternshis

annaAnna Shternshis, Al and Malka Green Associate Professor of Yiddish, received her doctoral degree (D.Phil) in Modern Languages and Literatures from Oxford University in 2001. She has held a post-doctoral position at the University of Pennsylvania in 2001. She joined the University of Toronto in 2001. Since 2007, she is cross-appointed between the German Department and the Center for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University. Shternshis works in the field of Soviet Jewish history and culture, Yiddish popular culture, and post-Soviet Jewish Diaspora.

One is devoted to the Jewish Daily Life in the Soviet Union during 1930s- 1980s, and the other one to the Evacuation of Soviet Jews during World War II.


Soviet and Kosher: Jewish Popular Culture in the Soviet Union, 1923 - 1939 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006).

“Between Red and Yellow Stars: Ethnic Identity of Soviet Jewish Veterans of World War II in New York, Toronto and Berlin,” The Journal of Jewish Identities, Special Issue: Russian-Jewish Immigrant Identity post-1970, Rachel S. Harris & Anna P. Ronell (eds.) Journal of Jewish Identities, Vol. 4 No. 1, (January 2011), 45 - 63

“White Concert Piano from the Real Shtetl: Material Culture and Ethnic Identity in the

Post-Soviet Jewish Urban Community”, Jewish Social Studies, 16 (2) Winter 2010, 111-126

"Sur les bancs de Brighton Beach" (On the Benches of Brighton Beach), Cahiers du judaïsme, 26, 2009, 74-84

‘May Day, Tractors and Piglets: Yiddish Songs for Little Communists’, in Barbara Kirshenblatt Gimblett and Jonathan Karp, eds., The Art of Being Jewish in Modern Times (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008, pp. 83 – 97

 “Kaddish in a Church: Perceptions of Orthodox Christianity among Moscow Elderly Jews in the Early 21st Century”, Russian Review 66 (2) 2007, 273–294

 ‘Choosing a Spouse in the USSR: Gender Differences and the Jewish Ethnic Factor,’ Jews in Russia and Eastern Europe, Winter 2(51) 2003, pp. 5 - 30

‘Molodezhnaya kultura evreiskogo mestechka v 1930-e gody’ (Soviet Shtetl Youth Culture in the 1930s), Diaspory, 4 (2002), pp. 6- 26 (in Russian)

‘From the Eradication of Illiteracy to Workers’ Correspondents: Yiddish-Language Mass Movements in the Soviet Union’, East European Jewish Affairs, volume 33, no. 1, 2002, pp. 120– 137

‘Отражение в песнях на идиш основных социальных процессов в Советском обществе 20-30-х годов.’ (Reflection of Soviet Society in Yiddish Songs During the 1920s and 1930s), Judaica Rossica 1 (2001) pp. 202-222 (in Russian)

‘Passover in the Soviet Union, 1917 – 41’, East European Jewish Affairs, volume 31, No. 1, summer 2001, pp. 61-76

‘Soviet and Kosher in the Ukrainian Shtetl’, in Gennady Estraikh and Mikhail Krutikov, eds., The Shtetl: Image and Reality (Oxford: Legenda, 2000), pp. 133- 151

‘The Jewish Experience as Reflected in Soviet Yiddish songs.’ Evreiskaia muzyka (1998) 100-104

‘The Red Hagaddah: Anti-Religious Propaganda in the Soviet Union’, Di Pen Oxford, 2 (1998), (in Yiddish)

"Рабби Деникин" и "рабби Колчак": мотивы Исхода в советской антирелигиозной пропаганде среди евреев в 20-30-е годы XX века. (Rabbi Denikin and Rabbi Kolchak: Exodus in Soviet Anti-Religious Propaganda among Jews in the 1920s – 1930s)  От Бытия к Исходу  (From Genesis to Exodus) (Moscow: Sefer, 1998), pp. 243-252 (in Russian)

Encyclopedia entries (refereed)

Moshe Kulbak, Zelmenyaner, The Sami Rohr Library of Recorded Yiddish Books, liner notes, 2009

“Russia, Jews of’, Encyclopedia of Jewish Folklore, edited by Haya Bar Itzhak, M.E. Sharp, in press

 “Beggars and Begging”, in The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, edited by Gershon David Hundert, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008, volume I, 136 - 138

“Dogs” in The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, edited by Gershon David Hundert, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008, volume I, 413 – 415

“Pigs”, in The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, edited by Gershon David Hundert, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008, volume II, pp. 1355 – 1356

Publications in Popular Press

“Jewish Culture and Alternative Passover in the Soviet Union” in Secular Culture and Ideas, 2011

It Is No Longer Just about the Master’s Thesis, Canadian Jewish News, 13 January 2011

“Koscheres Schweinefleisch”, in Identitaten, Berlin: Berlin Jewish Museum, 2010, 240 - 241

‘Gefilte Fish or White Piano’ in Secular Culture and Ideas, 2008

Piety, Klezmer and Queer: Yiddish in the 21st Century,” Idea&s, Fall 2006, pp. 36 -39

Conferences and workshops organized

Jews and Africans in Modern Literary Imagination, University of Toronto, March 3, 2011, International Symposium (together with Ato Quayson)

Ethnography, Culture and Oral History of Yiddish Speakers in Contemporary Eastern

Europe, University of Toronto, March 7, 2010. International symposium.

Staging Minority Voices: Jews and Turks Performing in Germany, University of Toronto, 19-21 April 2009, international interdisciplinary academic conference (together with Erol Boran)

“Yiddish in North American Higher Education: Problems and Challenges,” round table at the annual meeting of American Association of Jewish Studies Association, Toronto, December 2007

Technology and Language Learning, University of Toronto, workshop, March 2007 (together with Mike Hager)

ReJewvenation: Futures of Jewish Culture, University of Toronto, 28–31 October, 2005. International interdisciplinary academic conference and mini-festival (together with Andrea Most and Louis Kaplan)

Soviet and Kosher: A Century of Jewish Culture in Russia, University of Toronto, 26–27 October, 2003. Academic conference and mini-festival (together with Peter Solomon and Sterling Beckwith).

Other academic activities

Served as an external reviewer for Wayne State University Press, Rowman Littlefield Publishers, and SUNY University Press, The Drama Review, Russian Review, Science in Context, Journal of Israeli History, Journal and Religion of Popular Culture, Studies in Contemporary Jewry, and American Jewish History, East European Jewish Affairs

Consultant for the Blavatnik Project on Soviet Jewish Participation in World War II, 2009- 2010

Consultant for the United Jewish Federation Appeal Federation for the Project on Soviet Jewish World War II Veterans, Toronto, 2010

Educational website  - website devoted to Jewish life in the pre-war Soviet Union. Created together with Zvi Gitelman

Courses taught

GER 260 Yiddish Language for Beginners
GER 360 Intermediate Yiddish Language
GER 460 Advanced Yiddish Language
GER 364 History of Yiddish Cinema
GER 361 Introduction to the Yiddish Literature and Culture in Translation
GER 362 Soviet and Kosher: Jewish Culture in the Soviet Union
GER 363 East European Jewish Literature and Culture, 1800 – 2000
GER 365 Knights, Dybbuks and Fairies: Yiddish and German Storytelling before 1700 (team-taught)
DTS 200 Introduction to the Diaspora Studies (team-taught)
DTS 404 Introduction to Jewish Storytelling
CJS 200 Modern Jewish Literary Imagination (team-taught) (core Posen course in Jewish secularism)

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