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Justin Cammmy

Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and of Comparative Literature


email Send E-mail office Office: Seelye 203 phone Phone: 585-3639

Office hours Fall 2014: W 9:00-11:00 & by appt.

Justin Cammy, associate professor of Jewish Studies and Comparative Literature, is a specialist in modern Jewish literature and culture. He received a PhD in Yiddish Studies from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University, and a BA in Middle Eastern Studies and Political Science from McGill University. Cammy was a featured cast member on Nickelodeon's You Can't Do That on Television (1982-1984) and did voice work in the animated television special that launched the Care Bears franchise, proving that even scholars have embarassing childhood pasts accessible on YouTube.

Professor Cammy's scholarly interests in the ways in which Jewish history, politics and culture intersect are reflected in his teaching which includes courses on Yiddish, Hebrew, and American-Jewish literature and culture, thematic courses on Holocaust literature and Jewish comedy, history courses on the Jews of Eastern Europe, the Holocaust, and Jerusalem, and broad surveys of comparative modern Jewish literature and Jewish civilization. Since 2011 he has brought Smith students to Jerusalem to study the religious and political history of that city as part of the Global Engagement Seminar program.

Professor Cammy is the translator and editor of Hinde Bergner's On Long Winter Nights: Memoirs of a Jewish Family in a Galician Township, 1870-1900 and co-editor of Arguing the Modern Jewish Canon: Essays on Literature and Culture, which includes his own scholarship on Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem. A monograph, Young Vilna: Yiddish Culture of the Last Generation, will be published by Indiana University Press in 2014. He is at the early stages of a new project which will involve a scholarly edition and translation of Abraham Sutzkever’s memoir of the Vilna Ghetto. He has been an associate editor of Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History since 2005.

In addition to teaching at Smith, Cammy has served as Mellon Senior Scholar on the Holocaust and Visiting Professor of English at UCLA (2009), as visiting scholar at the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2007), as visiting professor of American Jewish literature at Oberlin College, and as a visiting faculty member at the internationally acclaimed Yiddish summer program at Tel Aviv University. He regularly teaches or serves as an adviser on various projects and courses at the National Yiddish Book Center. Cammy believes in the importance of branching out beyond the classroom to share his learning with adults; he has led Smith alumnae trips to both Poland and Israel, and taught courses as part of Hebrew College’s Meah program in Boston and the Jewish Theological Seminary’s Contexts program in the Berkshires.

In addition to his teaching and administrative responsibilities in Jewish studies, he is a member of the Program in Comparative Literature, the Program in Middle East Studies, and the Archives Concentration.

Justin Cammy will be on sabbatical in Tel Aviv in 2013-14 academic year. He will spend part of 2014 as a postdoctoral fellow at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

In 2006 Justin Cammy was awarded Smith's Sherrerd Prize for Distinguished Teaching.

Selected Publications


Young Vilna: Yiddish Culture of the Last Generation. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014.

Arguing the Modern Jewish Canon: Essays on Jewish Literature and Culture edited by Justin Cammy, Dara Horn, Alyssa Quint, and Rachel Rubinstein. Cambridge: Harvard Center for Jewish Studies, 2008, 721 pages.

Hinde Bergner, On Long Winter-nights: Memoirs of a Jewish Family in a Galician Township 1870-1890. Translated from Yiddish, edited, and with an introduction by Justin Cammy. Cambridge: Harvard Center for Jewish Studies, 2005.

Work in Progress

Abraham Sutzkever, Vilna Ghetto—a translation and scholarly edition of the Yiddish poet’s memoir of the Vilna ghetto, testimony at Nuremberg, and recollections of his encounters with Soviet-Jewish writers and cultural figures in Moscow



The Untold Story of Yungvald (Cambridge: Harvard College Library, 2010), 45 pages.


Chaim Grade and His World. (New York: Yivo Encyclopedia Extracts No. 3 - Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, 2010), 22 pages.


“Judging the Judgment of Shomer: Jewish Literature versus Jewish Reading” (article) and “The Judgment of Shomer, by Sholem Aleichem” (annotated translation from Yiddish). In Arguing the Modern Jewish Canon, 85-185. Cambridge: Harvard Center for Jewish Studies, 2008.


Cammy and Marta Figlerowicz (co-authors), “Translating History into Art: The Influences of Cyprian Kamil Norwid in Avrom Sutzkever’s Poetry,” Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History 27:3 (2007), 427-473.


“Vision and Redemption: Abraham Sutzkever’s Poems of Zion(ism).” In Yiddish after the Holocaust, ed. Joseph Sherman, 240-265. Oxford: Boulevard Books, 2004.


"The Politics of Home, the Culture of Place: 'Yung Vilne': A Journal of Literature and Art (1934-1936). In Judische Kultur(en) im Neuen Europa: Wilna 1918-1939, edited by Marina Dmitrieva and Heidemarie Petersen, 117-133. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2004.


“Jung Wilnie i kultura jidysz w miedzywojennym Wilne.” In Poezja i poeci w Wilnie lat 1920-1940, edited by Tadeusz Bujnicki and Krzysztof Biedrzycki, 257-286. Krakow: Taiwpn Universitas, 2003. Translation into Polish and expansion of “Tsevorfene bleter: The Emergence of Yung-Vilne.” In Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, Vol. 14, edited by Antony Polonsky, 170-191. London: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2001.


Encyclopedia Entries

“Chaim Grade,” Yung Vilne,” “Leyzer Volf,” “Elkhonen Vogler,” Yivo Encyclopedia of Jewish

Eastern Europe, ed. Gershon Hundert, 626-627; 1981-1983; 2105-2106. Yale University Press, 2008.


“Abraham Sutzkever”. Dictionary of Literary Biography: Writers in Yiddish, ed. Joseph Sherman, 303-313. Thomson Gale/Brucolli Clark Layman, 2007.


“Abraham Sutzkever,” Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd edition, vol. 19, 330-331; “Leyzer Volf,” “Yung-Vilne,” vol. 21, 138; 428. Thomson Gale, 2007.


“Hinde Bergner.” Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. ed. Paula Hyman

and Dalia Ofer. Jerusalem: Shavli Publishing and the Jewish Women’s Archive, 2006.


“Chaim Grade,” “Moyshe Leyb Halpern,” “Anna Margolin.” In Jewish Writers of the Twentieth Century, 204-206, 218-220, 359-361. Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2003.


“Abraham Sutzkever,” “Di festung.” In Reference Guide to Holocaust Literature, 307-309, 435-436. St. James Press, 2002.


Popular Press

“His Poetry Remembers,” The Republican (Springfield MA, April 9, 2010), E6.


“Between Midnight and 6am” (co-authored with Rachel Rubinstein), Pakn Treger (Spring

2006), 28-31.


“From Right to Left by Yankev Glatshetyn” (Three Yiddish poems introduced and translated

Justin Cammy) The Harvard Mosaic (Winter 1999), 40-44.



A Micro History of the Holocaust (with Chloe Brownstein) http://sophia.smith.edu/~jcammy