Norton & Elaine Sarnoff Center for Jewish GeneticsNorton & Elaine Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics
button-previous button-next
Jessica Kirzane

Jessica Kirzane

Want to honor this person? Make a donation to JUF in recognition of this 36 Under 36 honoree. Any donation up to $36 will be matched in full⁠—doubling your impact!  DONATE NOW

Think your Bubbe is the only person who still speaks Yiddish? Think again. Jessica Kirzane on a mission to bring new attention to the Yiddish language. Whether teaching, translating texts or creating programming around the Yiddish culture, Jessica works tirelessly to promote the lives and work of women who wrote in Yiddish. 

Since social distancing began, Jessica has spent hours each week curating, producing, and sending a weekly roundup of online Yiddish activities in addition to expanding her Yiddish speaking and reading club, "Yiddish tish," to be available to the broader public via Zoom. She has also contributed to the weekly global Yiddish speaking circle convened by "Vaybertatsh: A Feminist Podcast in Yiddish."

When she's not doing all things Yiddish, Jessica is an active member of Oak Park Temple, where her husband is a rabbi, and she is involved in her daughter's preschool and son's Kindergarten class.

Jessica has taken her love of Yiddish outside of her professional career, donating time to the Association for Jewish Studies, Teach Great Jewish Books, and other academic organizations. 

Jessica exemplifies the Jewish pursuit of meaning through discovering and (re)interpreting the past through literature, heritage, and words themselves.

AGE:
33

PRIMARY GIG:
Assistant Instructional Professor of Yiddish, University of Chicago; Editor-in-chief, In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies; translator

ON THE SIDE:
Mom (and in these pandemic times that takes up a great deal of my time)

RELATIONSHIP STATUS:
Married

HOW DO YOU GIVE BACK:
Beyond my duties as a Yiddish instructor, I see it as a privilege of my role that I have the opportunity to foster community among Yiddish speakers and learners in and beyond the University community.

DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN 10 WORDS OR LESS:
Yiddish scholar, literary translator, language instructor, editor, feminist

CHICAGO'S JEWISH COMMUNITY IN 10 YEARS:
I hope that our Jewish community grows in its commitment and practice of pursuing justice. I would like to raise my children in a Jewish community that honors, acknowledges and learns about and from Jewish pasts and uses them to inspire us to build a better world.

AdvertisementAcademic Approach box ad
AdvertisementSpertus box ad
AdvertisementJUF Identity ad