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Justin Cammy

Professor of Jewish Studies and of World Literatures

Justin Cammy


Justin Cammy is a literary and cultural historian who specializes in Yiddish literature and modern Jewish culture. He is chair of both the Program in World Literatures and the Program in Jewish Studies, and also holds appointments in Russian and East European Studies, Middle East Studies, and Translation Studies.  

Cammy's publications range from essays on Yiddish literary history to scholarly translations of foundational texts to introductions to new editions of works by Yiddish writers and memoirists that open them up to a broad readership. His scholarship on the generation of “when Yiddish was young” challenges post-war myths of Yiddish. His critical edition and translation of Abraham Sutzkever’s From the Vilna Ghetto to Nuremberg (McGill-Queen’s UP) won the 2022 Fenia and Yaakov Leviant Memorial Prize in Yiddish Studies from the Modern Language Association, the Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Yiddish, and the Finestone Prize for the best translation of a book on a Jewish theme from the J.I. Segal Awards. He has been an associate editor of Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History since 2005.

Cammy served as Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, in fall 2023, and in spring 2024 he was the Aresty Visiting Scholar at the Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life at Rutgers University. His past honors include resident research fellow at the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan (winter 2020); translation fellow at the Yiddish Book Center (2018); resident research fellow at the International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem (2014); and Mellon Senior Scholar on the Holocaust and visiting professor of English at UCLA (2009). He also is a longtime faculty member of the Naomi Prawer Kadar International Yiddish summer program at Tel Aviv University (for which he served as on-site director from 2019-2023) and the Steiner Yiddish summer program at the Yiddish Book Center. 

At the 2023 Commencement, President Kathleen McCartney presented him with the Honored Professor Award, acknowledging "distinction in teaching, research, scholarly work, and service to Smith College." 

Justin Cammy also is a 2006 recipient of the Smith College’s Sherrerd Prize for Distinguished Teaching. 

Course Rotation

Literary and Cultural Studies

  • Yiddish Literature and Culture
  • American Jewish Literature
  • Israel Through Literature
  • Modern Jewish Fiction
  • Kafka (with Joel Westerdale) 
  • Holocaust Literature

Historical Studies

  • Jews in the Medieval World (with Josh Birk)
  • The Jews of Eastern Europe
  • History of Israel 
  • The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
  • The Holocaust (with Ernest Benz)
  • Yiddishlands

Selected Publications

Books (Edited and/or Translated)

Translator and editor, From the Vilna Ghetto to Nuremberg: Memoir and Testimony by Abraham SutzkeverMontreal McGill-Queen's University Press, 2021.

Justin Cammy, Dara Horn, Alyssa Quint, Rachel Rubinstein, Arguing the Modern Jewish Canon: Essays on Jewish Literature and Culture. Cambridge: Harvard Center for Jewish Studies, 2008 (721 pages). Includes Cammy, “Judging the Judgment of Shomer: Jewish Literature versus Jewish Reading” (article) and “The Judgment of Shomer, by Sholem Aleichem” (annotated translation from Yiddish), pp. 85-185.

Translator and editor, On Long Winter Nights: Memoirs of a Jewish Family in a Galician Township 1870-1890, by Hinde Bergner. Cambridge: Harvard Center for Jewish Studies, 2005.

Articles or Book Chapters

“The Poetics of Landkentenish: Elkhonen Vogler, Forgotten Poet of Yung-Vilne.” In Polish Jewish Culture Beyond the Capital: Centering the Periphery, ed. Nancy Sinkoff and Halina Goldberg. Rutgers University Press, 2023.

“The Prose of Everyday Life: Moyshe Levin’s Vilna Peoplescapes” (journal article with 3 original translations). Colloquia: Journal of the Lithuanian Institute of Literature and Folklore (2021).

Thinking Through Yiddish, ed. Julian Levinson and Justin Cammy (University of Michigan Library, 2020), including Cammy, "Oysdakhtungen: The Yiddish Trace in Contemporary Jewish Fiction."

“Introduction.” In The Canvas and Other Storiestrans. Ruth Murphy. Teaneck: Ben Yehuda Press, 2020, xiii-xxiii.

“Unsettling the Linguistic and Geographical Borders of Jewish American Literature: Régine Robin’s La Québécoite.” In Teaching Jewish American Literature, ed. Roberta Rosenberg and Rachel Rubinstein. MLA, 2020.

Introduction to The Full Pomegranate: Poems of Avrom Sutzkever, selected and translated by Richard Fein. SUNY Press, January 2019.

The Untold Story of Yungvald,Catalog of the Leyzer Ran Collection. Cambridge: Harvard College Library, 2017, 23-42.

Avrom Novershtern and Justin Cammy, “Written in Moscow, Summer 1944,” Hebrew introduction to Avrom Sutzkever, Geto Vilna. Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 2016, 9-49.

“Foreword,” Vilna, My Vilna: Stories by Abraham Karpinowitz, trans. Helen Mintz. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2015, ix-xxiii.

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

Cammy and Marta Fliglerowicz, “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),” Yiddish After the Holocaust, ed. Joseph Sherman. Oxford: Boulevard Books, 2004, 240-265.

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

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

Public History and Online Journals

Theresienstadt Archive: A Woman's Micro-History of the Holocaust (2018)

Inhabiting Multiple Homelands: Teaching in a Yiddish Summer Program (2017)

Office Hours

On sabbatical 2023-24

Please email to set up a Zoom appointment. 


Pierce Hall 102


A.M., Ph.D., Harvard University
B.A., McGill University
JYA, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Selected Works in Smith ScholarWorks

Justin Cammy - CV - 2024 (PDF)