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Meet our new faculty members!
Roza Bieliauskiene was born in Vilnius into a native Yiddish-speaking family. Although she was originally trained as an electrical engineer, her passion for Jewish Studies led her in new directions. From 1990 to 2007, she served as chief curator of the Vilnius Jewish Museum, forming, researching, and cataloging the collections, and creating exhibitions. In addition, she fostered the museum’s work through conference lectures and articles, all the while translating Yiddish fiction and nonfiction into Russian and Lithuanian. To enhance her competence in Jewish Studies, beside formal advanced study of Yiddish, in which she already possessed native fluency, she completed courses on Jewish art at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and, at Vilnius University, on the Holocaust, East European Jewish cultural history, and the Oral Torah.
In 2006-07, Roza pioneered the introduction of Yiddish into the curriculum of Vilnius’s Sholem Aleichem School, teaching the language to both pupils and teachers at the city’s well-regarded Jewish comprehensive school. Of her own experience with the program she has said: “It is impossible to describe the feeling of Yiddish-speaking Jews in Vilnius when the Yiddish Summer Program began in1998 at Vilnius University, and, as before the war, our Yiddish language was heard in the old university. It was the beginning of a new era in my life, and in the life of the Jewish community of Lithuania. “ This summer, Roza will team with Professor Verschik as instructor of levels I and II.
Michael Dunayevsky, multilingual like Roza, was born and grew to young manhood in Moscow, where already as an undergraduate he taught Yiddish at the Moscow branch of Touro College (New York). After emigrating to Israel, in 2000 he earned the B.A. degree in general linguistics and history in the Department of Yiddish Language and Literature at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. During this period, he researched and computerized the university’s catalogue of the Yiddish periodical press. Since 2001, he has been working as a Yiddish and Hebrew language and culture specialist at the library of the Jewish Museums in Prague. Also, he has been teaching both beginnng and advanced Yiddish in the Institute of Jewish Studies of the Hussite Theological Faculty at Prague’s renowned Charles University--where he is completing his M.A. degree. Together with Daniel Polakovic, Michael translated the memorial book (yisker-bukh) of the destroyed Jewish community of Ryki, Poland from Yiddish and Hebrew into Czech. Along with Professor Niborski, he will teach levels III and IV.
The addition of these two broadly experienced and dedicated instructors to our faculty promises Summer Program students a rich encounter with Yiddish language and culture in Vilnius.
Written by Prof. Sidney Rosenfeld
|2005 VILNIUS YIDDISH INSTITUTE. Solution: Neosymmetria|