shavuos anarchist bookfair 5783/2023

talks on queerness, jewishness, yiddishkeyt, and anarchism

all talks will be livestreamed on our youtube channel, and will have automated closed captioning.

most (but not all) will be recorded and posted on youtube for posterity. talks with a 🖤 will also be presented live at the café.

all times are BST (london time)

thursday may 25
cafe closed; all talks are online


opening remarks
with the peacock’niks


קװיר ייִדיש׃ בײַשפּילן זינט 1877
מיט דזשייק שנײַדער

ייִדיש איז אַ קװירע שפּראַך. דורות לאַנג מישן ייִדיש־רעדערס זײער קװירקײט מיט זײער ייִדישקײט, שעפּנדיק פֿון דער אינטערנאַציאָנאַלער שפּראַכס אינטערסעקציאָנאַליטעט כּדי צו שאַפֿן טעאַטער, מוזיק, קונסט, פֿילם און ליטעראַטור װעלכע שטײען צו להכעיס אַקעגן אַלטע טאַבוען. אַ רעפֿעראַט מיט כּלערלײיִקע בײַשפּילן – בילדער, טעקסטן און װידעאָס – פֿון 1877 ביזן הײַנטיקן טאָג.

דזשייק איז אַן איבערזעצער, ליטעראַלישע אָנפֿירער, און יידישיסט אין בערלין


jewish prostitution in the archives
with joanna zofia spyra

a brief, critical overview of the historiography of sex work activities in the early twentieth century argentina. spyra explores how “the troubling terms” used to describe jewish prostitution have changed from the passive victims of “white slavery” to the complex, transnational industry of sex workers claiming respectability and agency. spyra will present how complexities and nuances of the ethical commitments that balance the need for embracing the past and concealing true identities can contribute to the marginalization of certain groups not only in the past but also in the present and lead to further discrimination of the living and perpetuation of the stigma associated with sex work.

joanna zofia spyra is a PhD candidate in history at the university of bergen, norway. her doctoral project explores the relationship between sexuality, health, and philanthropy in 1930s argentina. her research is situated at the intersection of migration history, minority studies, and gender theory. joanna is a graduate of jagiellonian university and cracow university of economics and has a master’s degree in near eastern and judaic studies from brandeis university.


living with ghosts in jewish life
with ami weintraub

what jewish practices and traditions help us connect to the ghosts we encounter in our lives? join ami for an exploration of tools and rituals that can help us recognize and work with spirits. ami will also be reading from their forthcoming book, “to the ghosts who are still living,” which explores their relationship to the ghosts of their jewish ancestors.

ami weintraub (he/they) is a jewish anarchist writer and rabbinic student. ami’s work and community organizing focuses on building a world without domination where people can freely connect to their cultures, lands and bodies. he calls the hills of pittsburgh, pa and the creeks of silver spring, md home.


“with freedom in our ears”: translating jewish anarchism
with anna elena torres, kenyon zimmer, & ania aizman

“with freedom in our ears” brings together more than a dozen scholars and translators to write the first collaborative history of international, multilingual, and transdisciplinary jewish anarchism. the editors zimmer and torres and contributor aizman explore the role of translation in researching jewish anarchist history.

ania aizman is an assistant professor in the department of slavic languages and literatures and the college. her current book project is titled “anarchist currents in russian culture from tolstoy to pussy riot.”

anna elena torres is an assistant professor of comparative literature at the university of chicago. torres is the author of “horizons blossom, borders vanish: anarchism and yiddish literature” (yale university press, 2023).

kenyon zimmer is an associate professor of history at the university of texas at arlington. he is the author of “immigrants against the state: yiddish and italian anarchism in america (university of illinois press, 2015) and editor of the english translation of joseph cohen’s “the jewish anarchist movement in the united states: a historical review and personal reminiscences” (forthcoming from ak press).


how to establish free community fridges
with stacey holleb

stacey will share their experience(s) regarding setting up a free community fridge in her neighborhood. Ii you would like to help those who are food insecure, he hopes to offer you some insights.

stacey (any pronouns) is a queer, non-binary, jewish adjacent, activist and an anarchist, trying to make the world a little bit better each day.


closing remarks
with the peacock’niks

friday may 26
café open 12:00pm–7:00pm

🖤 1:40–1:50pm

opening remarks
with the peacock’niks


ashkenazi identity, torah meditation, and yiddish proverbs
with alexandra corwin

join alexandra for an open conversation on ashkenazi identity, be led in a meditation on torah verses, and leave with some new favorite yiddish proverbs. come ready to connect, meditate, listen, and discuss.

alexandra (she/hers) is rooted in her jewish, ashkenazi, peruvian, and quechua heritages. she has a bachelor’s in women’s and gender studies and african black diaspora studies from depaul university. she has a master’s in education from harvard university and a certificate in restorative justice at the intersections of indigeneity, spirituality, and race from the harvard divinity school. alexandra’s many interests include teaching children yiddishkeit, community organizing, torah learning, creating affinity spaces for jews of color, poetry, vegan cooking, values based leadership, soft sculpture, and reading non-fiction.


understanding the right and the center’s playbook: the mechanisms of bad-faith accusations of antisemitism
with sophie ellman-golan

this presentation from jews for racial & economic justice (JFREJ) will discuss the ways in which antisemitism and accusations of antisemitism are wielded as political cudgels in the united states — and new york city specifically — and review ways the left can counter this dangerous strategy.

sophie ellman-golan is the director of strategic communications at jews for racial & economic justice (JFREJ). prior to joining the JFREJ staff, sophie worked as a political and messaging strategist with a focus on antisemitism, and white nationalism, helping to expose ties between far-right movements and elected officials. she was one of the national organizers of the 2017 women’s march on washington, and later served as the director of digital outreach at the women’s march organization. the forward named her one of the nation’s 50 most influential jews in 2017, the jewish week named her on their list of 36 under 36 in 2018, and JTA named her one of 50 jews to follow on twitter in 2019.


אַ גלאָסאַר פֿאַר לגב“ט+ טערמינאָלאָגיע אין יידיש
מיט סימה בארי

אַ קורצעע פּרעזענטאַציע וועגן דער וויכטיקייט פֿון לגב“ט+ טערמינאָלאָגיע גלאָסאַר אויף יידיש פֿאַר אַלעמען. אי פֿאַר דער לגבט“ט+ קהילה, אי פֿאַר די אַנדערע וועלכע רעדן יידיש אין אונדזעע צײַטן

dr sima beeri is a native yiddish speaker and a passionate advocate of yiddish language, culture and history. she has an ma arts, university of southampton (1999), and a PhD (2013) in modern jewish history from the department of hebrew and jewish studies at ucl. she has a keen interest in promoting and preserving the yiddish cultural heritage through teaching, education and translation. she is teaching yiddish (language and culture) at various levels as well as participating at the ot azoy yiddish summer program in london. dr beeri is currently working on yiddish literary and educational projects in england and abroad and she just finished a publication of jewish traditional food, called “and what about the taste?”

🖤 5:00–5:45pm

know your rights
with scottish community & activist legal project (SCALP)

this workshop is a legal briefing for activists in scotland, covering important topics such as interactions with the police, your rights in ‘stop and search’ situations, and how we can best support ourselves and each other at protests and demonstrations.

scottish community & activist legal project (SCALP) is a collective of people offering legal support. they attend protests, challenge police abuse, support people in the case of arrest, and provide legal guidance. find out more online and follow them on twitter and instagram @activists_legal.

🖤 6:00–6:45pm

why jewish anarchists should look at the moon
with eydl/alice ross

so what’s the deal with the moon? it’s a marker of time, a powerful symbol and a source of wonder. we’ll look at some reasons, drawn from science, yiddishkeyt, and strategy, for jewish anarchists (and anyone else) to incorporate regular moon-gazing practices into our lives.

alice | אײדל | eydl (she, they) is a linguist, anarchist, reader and moon enthusiast based in edinburgh. eydl cherishes sincerity and connection.

🖤 6:50–7:00pm

closing remarks
with the peacock’niks

saturday may 27
café open 12:00–7:00pm

🖤 12:10–12:20pm

opening remarks
with the peacock’niks

🖤 12:30–1:15pm

creating an accessible yiddish future
with sorke schneider

a workshop tying together disability justice and yiddish, and exploring how disability justice provides a framework for creating a more just and accessible yiddish future (originally given at 2023’s farbindungen conference with sorke and others).

sorke (sarah) schneider is a klezmer, dancer, and yiddishist based in the US. she organizes with rad yiddish and queer yiddish camp, plays in several bands (not just klezmer!), goes hiking at every opportunity, and serves as treasurer for a local arts organization. sorke works for the ecological society of america when not playing gigs, organizing yiddish events, or putting on folk dances.


a brief history of vulvas in art
with florence schechter

there is the misconception that vulvas have been obscured and oppressed until feminism came along in the 20th century and liberated them. but nothing could be further from the truth. vulvas have been portrayed in art in celebration and in disdain, subtly and in-your-face, and on all kinds of people. this talk explores art from all over the world and covers topics from sex to childbirth to religion to health.

florence schechter is the director and founder of the vagina museum. her background is in science communication and she has a degree in biochemistry from the university of birmingham. since it opened in 2019 in camden market, the vagina museum has been covered in international news from the new york times to the lancet to time magazine to even appearing in a joke in snl’s weekend update. the museum relocated to bethnal green in 2022. the museum has received over 175,000 visitors. florence came highly commended in the women of the future awards 2017 in the arts and culture category for her work in the museum sector, won a sexual freedom award in 2019 and was nominated for the rising star of the year award by diva in 2020. her debut book, “v: an empowering celebration of the vulva and vagina” was published by penguin random house in march 2023.

🖤 2:30pm

radical singing session
with red and black song club

the red and black songclub lead a radical singing and discussion session. come join in and learn about the history behind the songs. no experience necessary!

the red and black song club is a glasgow libertarian left choir celebrating songs of working class struggle, anti-fascism and resistance. keeping the tradition of radical song alive.


bodies beyond good and evil
with lexi kohanski

on this day of revelation, what could it be to dream beyond the defensive—to try to know ourselves outside the framework of our oppressors? lexi shares how her search for meaning in the torah led her to a new understanding of what it means to be a trans jew.

lexi is the director of online learning at the torah studio and the creator of youtube channel T4Torah.


against cop city, against hollywood dystopia: an introduction to the movement to defend the atlanta forest
with a local atlanta jewish construction worker

a “brief” insight into the movements to defend the atlanta forest and stop cop city, the history of the movement until now, the future of the movement, and the oddly overwhelming involvement of jewish rebels.

🖤 6:20–6:30pm

closing remarks
with the peacock’niks