About This Site

The Sholem Aleichem online project grows out of the New Media in Jewish Studies Initiative, a joint initiative of Citizen Film and the Institute of Israel and Jewish Studies at Columbia University.

This website is a collaboration between Citizen Film, Columbia University professor of Yiddish literature Jeremy Dauber, the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning’s Alex Gil, Columbia Jewish Studies Librarian Michelle Chesner, Columbia Students, Riverside Films director Joe Dorman, the Yiddish Book Center and the Sholem Aleichem Network, made possible through generous support from the Sholem Aleichem Network and the Covenant Foundation.

THE SHOLEM ALEICHEM NETWORK, INC. helps keep the legacy of the great Yiddish author and playwright Sholem Aleichem alive, into the 21st Century. The SA Network is a continuation of the Sholom Aleichem Foundation initiated by Olga Rabinowitz, Sholem Aleichem’s widow. Through our work, the Russian emigre to New York who so excited readers and audiences one century ago remains alive in our memories today. While our communities no longer live in the shtetls of ages past, the humor and wisdom that Sholem Aleichem wrote into them remains timeless, most well known in the tales of Tevye that were the basis for the musical Fiddler on the Roof.

Citizen Films

CITIZEN FILM is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 production company dedicated to crafting films and digital multimedia works that foster constructive engagement in cultural and civic life.  Our work has been featured at many of America’s most prestigious venues for documentary art, from Sundance to MoMA New York.

THE NEW MEDIA IN JEWISH STUDIES COLLABORATIVE is an initiative of Citizen Film and Columbia University’s Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies, launched in order to engage students and the general public at the new, visual turn in Jewish Studies scholarship.

THE INSTITUTE FOR ISRAEL AND JEWISH STUDIES, Columbia University’s center for the academic study and discussion of Jewish life, history, and culture, has long been a national and international leader in the field. Its scholars and students have produced lasting and central works of scholarship in a field that continues to grow exponentially across the United States. The Institute is dedicated to the academic study and discussion of Israel and Jewish Studies. Committed to blending rigorous scholarship with cutting edge teaching and intellectual opportunities, IIJS explores the best that’s been thought and said in the field and examines the length and breadth of Jewish history and culture, as well as Israel and all of its complexities.

THE CENTER FOR NEW MEDIA TEACHING AND LEARNING supports excellence and innovation across educational programs at Columbia University. Working in close partnership with the entire Columbia teaching community, the CTL is committed to advancing the culture of teaching and learning for professional development, curricular enhancement, and academic support through its programs, services and resources.

RIVERSIDE FILMS was founded by award-winning filmmaker Joseph Dorman whose work has appeared on PBS, CBS, Discovery Channel and CNN. In addition to his current film Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness, Mr. Dorman made the award-winning theatrical feature Arguing the World, about the controversial sixty-year political journey of the eminent political writers and thinkers, Daniel Bell, Irving Howe, Irving Kristol and Nathan Glazer. Mr. Dorman also wrote the feature documentaries Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry and The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Journey, which was named the best documentary of 2001 by the National Board of Review. Mr. Dorman is a winner of television’s prestigious George Foster Peabody Award. He has also twice been nominated for Emmy Awards for outstanding cultural and public affairs programming.

THE YIDDISH BOOK CENTER is a nonprofit organization working to tell the whole Jewish story by rescuing, translating, and disseminating Yiddish books and presenting innovative educational programs that broaden understanding of modern Jewish identity. Saving a million Yiddish books was just the beginning. Our priority now is to advance knowledge of the content and literary and cultural progeny of the books we’ve saved.

THE COVENANT FOUNDATION recognizes the diversity of strengths within the field of Jewish education in North America, across all denominations and settings. By honoring outstanding Jewish educators and supporting creative approaches to programming, the Foundation works to strengthen educational endeavors that perpetuate the identity, continuity and heritage of the Jewish people.