YIVO is offering a free lecture on May 5 at 1pm on B. Rivkin on Occultism in America. You can register here.
“WHAT DOES YOUR DREAM TELL YOU?”: B. RIVKIN AND YIDDISH OCCULTISM IN AMERICA
The writer B. Rivkin (Borukh Avrom Weinrebe, 1883–1945) is known to scholars today as an important anarchist thinker. Less known is that Rivkin was also a firm believer in the occult who attended spiritualist séances and speculated about the possibility of telepathic communication. Over the three decades of his literary career in the United States, Rivkin published hundreds of articles on occult topics, edited a short-lived Yiddish journal devoted to the development of latent inner powers, and published a weekly psychic dream interpretation column in the newspaper Der tog in the early 1940s that analyzed dreams submitted by readers. In this talk, Sam Glauber-Zimra will uncover this forgotten side of Rivkin’s literary career. Utilizing materials preserved in Rivkin’s archive at YIVO, he will trace the significance of the occult for Rivkin and his Yiddish-speaking immigrant readers as they navigated religious change and the crisis of the Holocaust.
About the Speaker
Samuel Glauber-Zimra is a PhD candidate in the Goldstein-Goren Department of Jewish Thought at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. His dissertation, “Occult Modernities: Hidden Realities in East European Jewish Culture, 1880–1939,” examines the various expressions of modern occultism within the popular culture and religious thought of Eastern European Jewry and its diaspora in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His most recent article, “Writings on Spiritualism from the Archive of R. Eliyahu Mordekhai Halevy Wolkowsky” appears in the journal Kabbalah, and he is the co-editor of Hillel Zeitlin, In the Secret Place of the Soul: Three Essays (Jerusalem: Blima, 2020) [Hebrew]. He is the 2021-2022 recipient of the The Rose and Isidore Drench Memorial Fellowship and the Dora and Mayer Tendler Endowed Fellowship in American Jewish Studies.