The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research has dismissed the dean of its Max Weinreich Center for Advanced Jewish Studies and eliminated the position, according to YIVO executive director Jonathan Brent. Paul Glasser, a linguist and columnist for the Forverts who was previously in the position, ended work August 19.
According to Brent, the position was eliminated in an effort to redirect funds toward research and teaching positions, rather than administrative posts. The administrative work of the Center will be handled by its director of education, Jennifer Young.
“We feel it’s less important for us to have a dean of the Weinreich center than it is for us to attract new scholars and researchers into the center. And so what we’re set to do is rebuild the Max Weinreich Center with new positions of various sorts,” Brent said.
YIVO is currently reaching out to Yiddish scholars to serve as consultants, and will compensate them according to their level of involvement, Brent said. Eddy Portnoy, a professor in the Department of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University and a contributing editor to the Forward, was recently named an academic adviser.
“I’ll be serving as a liaison of sorts to the academic world,” Portnoy said. “Though Paul is a linguist so to not have that is kind of a blow.”
Glasser did not respond to request for comment by deadline.
The Institute is also looking to create a chair in Yiddish language and linguistics, which will be a teaching and research position.
“People from around the country are going to come and we’re going to talk about the direction that Yiddish studies should take,” Brent said. “We don’t need administrators. What we need are people to do the research and the teaching and to bring new ideas into the organization. “