Leo Baeck Institute London Lecture Series 2022


Popular Culture, Politics and Jews


A lecture series organised by the Leo Baeck Institute London in cooperation with the German Historical Institute London.

This season’s lecture series Popular Culture, Politics and Jews delves into the rich world of German-Jewish and European-Jewish popular culture, examining its diverse manifestations, forgotten origins, creative adaptations, mass appeal and political dimensions and motivations in history. It explores the topic by looking at a cross section of its expression in film, television, theatre, dance, music and literature.

For more information on the lecture series please refer to the leaflet here.

We are delighted to resume our LBI Lecture Series on Zoom. Dr Daniel Wildmann (Director, Leo Baeck Institute London) has the pleasure of warmly inviting you to the first lecture in this series:


Dr Sonia Gollance

University College London, UK

Dangerous Attractions: Mixed-Sex Dancing and Jewish Modernity 

6.30pm, February 3rd 2022

Contemporary popular culture often portrays Jewish mixed-sex dancing as either absolutely forbidden or as the punchline of a dirty joke. Fictional portrayals of women who leave Orthodoxy sometimes use transgressive dancing to underscore the temptation of secular society – and gentile men. Yet long before the Netflix miniseries Unorthodox, Jewish writers used partner dance as a powerful metaphor for social changes that transformed Jewish communities between the Enlightenment and the Holocaust. Scandalous dance scenes in German and other literatures are part of a larger conversation about acculturation and courtship norms. Writers deploy these scenes to convey their concerns with Jewish modernity while simultaneously entertaining their readers.

Sonia Gollance is Lecturer in Yiddish at University College London. She taught previously at the University of Vienna, The Ohio State University, and the University of Göttingen. She is the author of It Could Lead to Dancing: Mixed-Sex Dancing and Jewish Modernity (Stanford University Press, 2021). Dr Gollance is Managing Editor of Plotting Yiddish Drama, an initiative of the Digital Yiddish Theatre Project.


This lecture will be held online via Zoom on Thursday, February 3rd 2022 and will start punctually at 6.30pm (UK time).

To join the event please click this link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/89772203672?pwd=Q0t2QVBwVkp3amc3T3JqcTdiMDI0QT09 at the appointed date and time, wait to be admitted by the host and follow the instructions on your screen. If you have any difficulty joining us on the night, please contact volunteer@leobaeck.co.uk and a member of staff will be able to assist you. 

Admission is free but we would welcome if you could inform us of your intention to participate prior to the event by emailing us on info@leobaeck.co.uk. This would help us to prepare in advance for participant numbers and management.