Looking at old Bais Yaakov Williamsburg yearbooks with Naomi Seidman

Looking at old Bais Yaakov Williamsburg yearbooks with Naomi Seidman

Today I am sharing a YouTube conversation with Naomi Seidman, from the Bais Yaakov Project. I hope that this will be part of a series of conversations with great people on the story of Williamsburg — I’ve already published a conversation with Nathaniel Deutsch as well as with Nelly Grussgott. Next week I hope to share a conversation with Elena Solomon on shpanier arbet. Make sure to follow my YouTube channel to get updates, as I don’t always share my videos in a blog post.

Here, I have the great pleasure to talk to Naomi Seidman.

Naomi Seidman is the Chancellor Jackman Professor of the Arts in the Department for the Study of Religion and the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto, and a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow. Her publications include Faithful Renderings: Jewish—Christian Difference and the Politics of Translation (Chicago, 2006), The Marriage Plot, Or, How Jews Fell in Love with Love, and with Literature (Stanford, 2016), and Sarah Schenirer and the Bais Yaakov Movement: A Revolution in the Name of Tradition (Littman, 2019), which won a National Jewish Book Award in Women’s Studies. She is presently working on a study of Freud in Hebrew and Yiddish translation.

Bais Yaakov, the revolutionary Orthodox girls’ school system that began in Poland, has its American origins in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Its iconic early seminary on South 8th Street is now an artists co-op as well as a historic landmark. In this conversation, Naomi Seidman walks me through two old girls’ yearbooks from this school. I had a great time and hope we’ll do something like this again. Naomi is the author of the wonderful book Sarah Schenirer and the Bais Yaakov Movement. She and I are working on some parts of the story of Bais Yaakov history for her beautiful website.


The Eastern District High School, across the street from an early Bais Yaakov

Vien Girls School Building; the Williamsburg Story

My Hasidic Report Card versus My Son’s Public School Version

Hasidic Satmar girls’ Creative Writing

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