About Us

The Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture

The Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture is dedicated to studying and preserving historical Yiddish music and culture, teaching it to new generations, and supporting scholarship and programming that explores it as an important facet of Jewish and American life. Established in 2010, it is named for Sherry Mayrent, an avid collector of historical Yiddish recordings.

The Mayrent Institute has a three-part mission:

  • To provide programming that offers all members of our community opportunities to learn more about Yiddish culture, history, language, music, and art;
  • To support scholarly inquiry about Yiddish culture through classes, lectures, and symposia; and
  • To work with the UW-Libraries to make the Mayrent Collection of more than 7000 historical recordings of Yiddish music accessible for study to those on and off the UW-Madison campus.

July 15, 2013:

The UW–Madison Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture announces its new affiliation with the UW–Madison Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures (CSUMC). The two units share a keen dedication to bringing together the popular, the vernacular, the scholarly, and to producing dynamic programming that engages communities both on and off campus.

Like the Mayrent Institute (MI), CSUMC is dedicated to the active study, documentation, and dissemination of traditional folk culture through innovative research, collections development, programs, classes, partnerships, and projects. This transition to CSUMC allows the MI to honor its core mission of strengthening research and knowledge about Yiddish culture, music, and history while, at the same time, further contextualizing Yiddish culture within the broader frame of American and Midwestern vernacular practices.

The Mayrent Institute would like to thank the Center for Jewish Studies for its hospitality over the last two years, which allowed for an important incubation within the university system. We look forward to future collaborations.



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