Kathryn Hellerstein

Ruth Meltzer Director, Jewish Studies Program
Associate Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures (Yiddish)
748 Williams Hall
(215) 898-7103

Dr. Kathryn Hellerstein is Associate Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures, specializing in Yiddish. A poet, translator, and scholar of Yiddish poetry, Hellerstein received her doctorate from Stanford University.

Hellerstein's books include her translation and study of Moyshe-Leyb Halpern's poems, In New York: A Selection, (Jewish Publication Society, 1982), Paper Bridges: Selected Poems of Kadya Molodowsky (Wayne State University Press, 1999), Jewish American Literature: A Norton Anthology, of which she is co-editor (W. W. Norton, 2001), and a critical book, A Question of Tradition: Women Poets in Yiddish 1586-1987 (Standford University Press, July 2014). Here is the link to the Stanford UP site regarding her recent book, A Question of Tradition: http://www.sup.org/book.cgi?id=10593

She is also a major contributor to American Yiddish Poetry: A Bilingual Anthology (University of California Press, 1986).

Hellerstein's many scholarly articles on Yiddish literature, and most recently, on women poets in Yiddish, are published in journals, anthologies, and encyclopedias, including The Jewish Quarterly Review, Prooftexts, Shofar, Source, Chulyot, Borders, Boundaries and Frames...: Essays from the English Institute, Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, The Anthology in Jewish Literature, and Gender and Text in Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literature.

Individual translations by Hellerstein have been published in Forward, Partisan Review, Kenyon Review, Der Pakn Treger, Two Lines, Princeton University Library Chronicle. Her own poems have appeared in the journals Poetry, Tikkun, Bridges, Religion and Literature, Judaism, Gastronomica, and the anthologies Without a Single Answer, Four Centuries of Jewish Women's Spirituality, and Reading Ruth. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Book Review and The New York Review of Books.

Kathryn Hellerstein's current projects include Anthology of Women Yiddish Poets. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, as well as from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at Penn.

Hellerstein's book, A Question of Tradition: Women Poets in Yiddish, 1586-1987 (Stanford University Press, 2014), won the 2014 National Book Award.  Link to press release: http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/news/penn-professor-kathryn-hellerstein-wins-national-jewish-book-award

Courses Taught: 
  • YDSH 101: Beginning Yiddish I
  • YDSH 102: Beginning Yiddish I
  • YDSH 103: Intermediate Yiddish I
  • YDSH 104: Intermediate Yiddish II
  • YDSH 108: Readings in Modern Yiddish Literature
  • GRMN 010: Translating Cultures
  • GRMN 262: Women and Jewish Literature
  • GRMN 265: Yiddish in Eastern Europe
Jewish Studies Program
711 Williams Hall, 255 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
215-898-6654 / 215-573-6026 fax / jsp-info@sas.upenn.edu