University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Oct. 2, The “Mendel Beilis Epidemic”: A Blood-Libel Trial on the Yiddish Stage

A lecture by Joel Berkowitz, director, The Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies.

Wednesday October 2, 2013
Congregation Emanu-El B'ne Jeshurun
2020 W. Brown Deer Road
Admission is Free

Part of the "Art and Conflict: Ashkenaz and Beyond" Series

Exactly 100 years ago, in October 1913, a Russian Jewish brickyard foreman named Mendel Beilis was put on trial for the ritual murder of a Christian boy on the outskirts of Kiev. Long before the trial ended, Yiddish theatres began advertising dramatizations of it in a number of American and Canadian cities as well as London. The announcements created an uproar, as critics and readers debated the propriety of turning a grim situation right from the headlines into vehicles for entertainment. Never before had one event received so much attention at once on Yiddish stages; the Beilis plays, and the heated (and sometimes hilarious) response to them, paint of picture of the complex implications of the dramatization of current events in the Yiddish theatre.

Back to Announcements Listing