Vardit Lightstone

Life stories, migrant culture, identity formation, performance, Yiddish folk literature, Canadian Jews.

Vardit Lightstone is a doctoral candidate in a Joint Education Placement Program between the Germanic Languages and Literatures Department and the Collaborative Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto and the Folklore and Folk Culture Program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is completing her dissertation, entitled “Performing Immigrant Identity: Canadian Yiddish Life Stories”, under the guidance of Prof. Anna Shternshis (UofT) and Dr. Dani Schrire (HU).
Vardit’s research focuses on the life stories of Yiddish speaking immigrants to Canada from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In her research she interrogates both the folk literary genre of life stories and the ways migrants use folklore as they adapt to their new situations. Vardit’s work also considers how migrants create and express community identities, within and outside of Canada, through their life stories.
In 2010, Vardit received her B.A. (Hons.) from the University of Toronto. In 2015, she received her M.A. in Folklore and Folk Culture from the Hebrew University for her thesis, “Tomás Writes a Book: Folk narrative style and cultural contexts in the Irish autobiography An tOileánach”, written under the guidance of Prof. Galit Hasan-Rokem and Dr. Dani Schrire.
She is currently a recipient of the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Doctoral Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2017-18). During the 2015-16 academic year she was the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Graduate Fellow at the Center for Jewish Studies, University of Toronto. During her M.A. she received the Kaete Klausner Scholarship (2012-15) from the Hebrew University and the Raphael Patai Award (2014-15) and the Walter Plaut Foundation Scholarship (2012-13) both from the Folklore and Folk Culture Program, Hebrew University.

Selected Publications

“How Do You Say “Parents” in Yiddish?.” In geveb (May 2016)