Keynote Speaker


Aaron Lansky

The keynote speaker at the conference will be Aaron Lansky, the founder and president of the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Mr. Lansky is responsible for revitalizing the study of the Yiddish language and motivating hundreds of young scholars to study and teach Yiddish. He has saved over a million Yiddish books since he started collecting them as a 23-year old graduate student in 1980. His mission to rescue Yiddish literature earned him a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" in 1985.

By collecting books once destined for dumpsters, Mr. Lansky has been able to establish or strengthen Yiddish collections at 700 libraries in 26 countries. With help from Steven Spielberg, his Yiddish Book Center has digitized most of its collection, including many Yizkor books, and posted them online. The Center now sponsors a range of educational and cultural programs that not only preserve Yiddish culture of the past but also bring it to younger generations for the future. Mr. Lansky has told the story of his lifelong work in his best-selling book, Outwitting History, which was awarded the Massachusetts Book Award in Non-Fiction.

Mr. Lansky will speak at the opening plenary session on Sunday evening, August 4. He also will be available to meet with attendees at a "Breakfast with the Experts." There will be a special bus tour to the Yiddish Book Center offered during the conference.

To view a YouTube video with Mr. Lansky talking about the Center, click here.


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Aaron Lansky