Virtual Panel: “COVID in Context: Health Culture among Yiddish and Pennsylvania Dutch Speakers”

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Virtual Event
@ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

The Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture &
The Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies present

Covid in Context: Health Culture among Yiddish & Pennsylvania Dutch Speakers
A panel discussion featuring
Zackary Sholem Berger, Heather Mundro, Mark Louden, and Cara Rock-Singer

How do diverse religious groups respond in the face of global pandemic? This panel will explore how the coronavirus has affected Hasidic Jewish and Plain Anabaptist communities at the global, communal, and individual levels—in English, Yiddish, and Pennsylvania Dutch.

Via Zoom – Please register in advance using the following link: 

About the speakers 

An internist, clinical epidemiologist, and bioethicist, Dr. Zackary Sholem Berger’s clinical, educational, and research work is located at the intersection of shared decision making, patient-centered care and evidence-based medicine. How to make sense of a sharing patient-physician relationship in the context of social and political inequities is a central question underlying much of our health system’s imperfections. Dr. Berger is using interdisciplinary techniques to explore possible answers, especially among vulnerable and victimized populations. He has been conducting research on the experience of Latinx and Charedim, among others, during the Covid pandemic.



Dr. Heather L. Munro is an anthropologist with special interests in religion, gender, identity, the state, and public health. Her doctoral thesis, Identity, Religion, and the State: Haredi Politics and Social Change in Israel, was completed at Durham University in the United Kingdom in 2021, and a book manuscript is expected in 2022. Most recently, she has been researching public health attitudes and experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic among ultra-orthodox Jews in the New York area and London, in conjunction with Dr. Zackary Berger at Johns Hopkins and Dr. Anna Dowrick at the University of Oxford.


Mark L. Louden is the Alfred L. Shoemaker, J. William Frey, and Don Yoder Professor of Germanic Linguistics and Director of the Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where is also an affiliate of the Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies and the Religious Studies and Language Sciences programs. He received his undergraduate and graduate training in Germanic linguistics at Cornell University and taught for twelve years at the University of Texas at Austin before joining the UW–Madison faculty. Most of his research deals with Pennsylvania Dutch and the faith and culture of its speakers. He is the author of Pennsylvania Dutch: The Story of an American Language, for which he received the Dale W. Brown Book Award for Outstanding Research in Anabaptist and Pietist Studies. He is actively engaged in public outreach to Plain communities across Wisconsin and other states, with a major focus on health care.

Cara Rock-Singer is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is also affiliated with the Center for Jewish Studies, Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies, and the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies. Her research and teaching center on the relationship among gender, Judaism and science in the contemporary United States. Her book project, Gestating Judaism: The Corpuses and Corporalities of American Jewish Feminisms, sheds new light on the role of women in producing American religion and on the embodied politics of reproducing and reviving tradition.