Dov-Ber Kerler (USA; Yiddish language)

Prof. Dov-Ber Kerler, Yiddish scholar and poet. Kerler was born in Moscow (son of the Yiddish dissident poet Josef Kerler). Raised in an environment steeped in Yiddish culture that included summers spent among traditionally religious communities in the Carpathian Mountains of western Ukraine, he immigrated with his parents to Jerusalem in 1971.
After completing his B.A. in Yiddish literature and Indo-European linguistics in Jerusalem (1983), he became Oxford University's first doctoral candidate in Yiddish Studies in 1984, teaching there from 1984, as fellow at Lincoln College 1989–2000.
His doctoral thesis on the origins of modern (East European-based) literary Yiddish (1988) moved the accepted dating back to the 18th century, forming the basis of his Origins of Modern Literary Yiddish (1999). He edited The History of Yiddish Studies (1991), The Politics of Yiddish (1998), and became editor-in-chief of Yerusholaymer Almanakh in 2003 (after serving as co-editor from 1993). Also an accomplished Yiddish poet, publishing under the pen name Boris Karloff, his books of verse include Vu mit an Alef ("Vu with an Aleph," 1996), and a collection of his and his father's works, Shpigl Ksav ("Mirror Writing," 1996).
Relocated to the U.S. in 2000 to take up the chair in Yiddish Studies at Indiana University, from 2002 he led the Yiddish Ethnographic Project (YEP) to film expeditions to elderly Yiddish speakers in the Ukraine and other parts of Eastern Europe. Kerler was awarded the Hofstein Prize for Yiddish literature (1997), the Modern Language Association's Leviant Prize for Yiddish scholarship (2004), and a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for ethno-graphic expeditions to Eastern Europe (2005–6).

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