Miriam Borden

PhD Student

Office Hours



I hold a B.A. in Jewish Studies (Hons., 2014) and an M.A. in Yiddish Studies (2018) from the University of Toronto. Through the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies and the collaborative program in Book History and Print Culture, I pursue research interests in postwar Yiddish culture, Yiddish publishing, and the material history of Yiddish libraries and sound archives. On the side, I love to research the food history of Jewish immigrants in the twentieth century. My dissertation research is on the Canadian-American Yiddish folksong collector Ruth Rubin, who amassed an archive of over 2,000 Yiddish songs from Jewish immigrants between the 1940s and the 1960s.

I am a frequent researcher at the Ontario Jewish Archives Blankenstein Family Heritage Centre, where I have worked as an Assistant Archivist and translator. Through the Archives, I lead public and private walking tours of the historically Jewish Kensington Market neighbourhood; when possible, I like to include Yiddish sources such as newspaper articles, advertisements, and poetry by Yiddish writers from the 1920s and 1930s. I have researched and translated portions of Toronto’s Yiddish daily newspaper, Der Yidisher Zhurnal, and written for the Canadian Jewish News on 20th century Jewish culture in the Canadian Yiddish press.

I have curated two exhibitions at University of Toronto Libraries: “Discovering the Mame-loshn: The Hidden World of Yiddish at Robarts,” at Robarts Library (August 1-September 1, 2017); and “Komets-alef: o! Back to School at the Yiddish Kheyder,” in May-July 2018. In 2019 the second exhibition traveled to the Canadian Language Museum, where it was featured in “Yiddish Spring,” a celebration of new Yiddish cultural projects. My podcast on the history of the Yiddish libraries of Toronto can be found on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/cz/podcast/leaves-of-history/id1531750173?l=cs

Every Friday you can catch me on the Ontario Jewish Archives’ Instagram account (@ontariojewisharchives) posting a #YiddishWordoftheWeek that highlights a piece of Yiddish history from the Archives’ collection, often with connections to current scholarship, podcasts, or other archival collections.

I also post fascinating and fun tidbits from Yiddish books on my Instagram account @bikher_chick. I post avant-garde illustrations, exceptional endpapers, gold-edged pages, bold typography, experimental page layout, and so much more from the dazzling world of Yiddish publishing!

Awards / Distinctions

  • 2020-2023 Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarship
  • 2020 Naim S. Mahlab Graduate Scholarship in Jewish History
  • 2020 Honey & Wax Booksellers Book Collecting Prize, joint initiative with Paris Review
    1st Prize: “Building a Nation of Little Readers: Twentieth-Century Yiddish Primers and Workbooks for Children”
  • 2019 Ontario Graduate Scholarship
  • 2018 and 2019 Shiff Family Graduate Award in Jewish Studies
  • 2017 Dean’s List, University of Toronto Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • 2017 Granovsky-Gluskin Graduate Scholarship in Jewish Studies
  • 2014 Bella and Solomon Shek Award in Yiddish Literature
  • 2013 and 2014 Dr. Fred Weinberg Memorial Scholarship in Jewish Studies
  • 2013 Dean’s List, University of Toronto Faculty of Arts and Sciences