The Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture leads the initiative at UW–Madison to educate students, faculty, and the wider community about the vitality of modern Yiddish culture—music, literature, history, and art. Established in 2010, the Institute is named for Sherry Mayrent, an avid collector of historical Yiddish recordings. The year 2020 marks the tenth anniversary of the Institute and the beginning of Professor Sunny Yudkoff’s role as its new director.
Since its founding in 2010, the Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture has approached the project of supporting Yiddish culture at UW–Madison in three ways. First and foremost, Mayrent works to create programming that offers the community diverse opportunities to learn more about Yiddish culture, history, language, music, and art. The work of Yiddish culture is multi-medial and the Institute’s aim is to introduce its breadth and depth with equal enthusiasm.
The Mayrent Institute is fortunate to be based at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, an institution that has long fostered innovative scholarship in the interdisciplinary field of Jewish studies. Mayrent contributes to this tradition with its second goal: to support scholarly inquiry into Yiddish culture through classes, lectures, and symposia. The Institute stands as an active resource for faculty and students seeking to advance conversations about Yiddish culture, past and present.
Finally, at the core of the Institute is the Mayrent Collection of Yiddish Recordings, a repository of more than 9,000 historical recordings of Yiddish music. The Institute continues to work with the UW-Libraries and Mills Music Library to make these recordings accessible for study to those on and off the UW-Madison campus.