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NAOMI PRAWER KADAR, PH.D. (1949 - 2010)

Naomi Prawer Kadar, Ph.D., z”l, is the inspiration and driving force behind the Naomi Foundation. Naomi was a lifelong educator and a Yiddish scholar who inspired her students, colleagues, and all who knew her to reach their potential. With her unique energy and passion, Naomi transformed each classroom she entered into a second home for her students.

Naomi’s spirit and contributions continue to make a profound impact on the lives of thousands of students around the world through the initiatives of the Naomi Foundation.

Formative Years
  • Pre
    Naomi's parents, Lola and Kiwa Prawer, were from Sosnowitz, Poland and belonged to the Poalei Tzion Zionist Youth Movement. After losing nearly all their relatives in WWII, they married in a displaced persons camp and immigrated to New York.
  • 1949 Naomi Carol Prawer is born. She is the eldest of her siblings Murray (Muz) and Renee (Rivke).
  • 1957
    Naomi attends Sholem Aleichem Folkshul 45 in the Bronx, New York, and graduates from United Jewish Mitelshul high school. She was a Style Editor for Yugntruf, Youth for Yiddish.
  • 1970 Naomi graduates with a BA in literature from City College of New York after studying abroad at the Teachers Seminary & People's University in Herzeliya during her junior year.
  • 1973 Naomi graduates from the American Student Program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with a Teaching Certificate in English as a Second Language.
  • 1996 Naomi pursues her passion for language at Columbia University where she earns her MA in Yiddish Studies.
  • 2007 Naomi earns her PhD in Yiddish Literature from Columbia University. Naomi writes her dissertation on Yiddish children's literature in America between 1917 and 1950.
  • 1969 Naomi meets the future love of her life, Avraham Kadar, at a New Year's Eve party in Jerusalem.
  • 1976 Naomi and Avraham are married in Shulchan David in Jerusalem. Two years later they are blessed with their first child, Maya, and the next year their second, Nadav.
  • 1983 Naomi and her young family move to the United States and first settle in the Bronx, New York. They later move to Rockville, Maryland.
  • 1987 Naomi's youngest child, Einat, is born.
  • 1989 The family moves to Bedford, New York where Naomi teaches and studies and Avraham sets up a medical practice.
  • 2006 Maya marries Gil Kovalsky. Two years later, Naomi welcomes her first grandchild, Eden, to the world. Eden's sister Alma is born in 2011.
Career Highlights
  • 1973 Naomi launches her career teaching English and ESL in Israel. The seeds of her passion for education are sewn as she saw first hand the transformative impact she had on her students.
  • 1983 Naomi begins work in New York at the Workman's Circle. She also teaches Yiddish in numerous high schools and synagogues.
  • 1987
    Naomi teaches Yiddish in Rockville, MD.
  • 1990
    Naomi continues teaching while also working as the National Director of the Workmen's Circle Schools.
  • 1995 Naomi receives the Attran Fellowship and the Center for Israel and Jewish Studies Fellowship.
  • 1996 Naomi receives the Littaur Fellowship.
  • 1997 Naomi receives the GSAS President's Fellowship.
  • 1998 Naomi receives the German Department Scholarship at Columbia University.
  • 2000 Naomi teaches Yiddish at the Uriel Weinreich Program in Yiddish Literature, Language and Culture through YIVO/Columbia University. She teaches here again in 2003 and 2006.
  • 2002 Naomi begins teaching Yiddish at Columbia University.
  • 2003 Naomi begins teaching Yiddish at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York.
  • 2007 Naomi starts teaching Yiddish at the Tel Aviv University Summer Program.
  • 2008 Naomi teaches Yiddish at the Free University of Brussels Summer Program.

Naomi transformed the lives of all those around her. She is missed every day by her family, friends, colleagues, and students, but her incredible energy, deep intelligence, and emanating kindness continue to inspire.

  • 2010 Naomi's family starts the Naomi Prawer Kadar Foundation to honor Naomi's memory and support the causes she held dear.
  • 2011 Chotam's teacher training institute is named "Chotam Naomi" because of Naomi's inspired commitment to teaching and her involvement in Chotam's founding.<br> The first Annual <def>Naomi Memorial Lecture at YIVO</def> is given to honor Naomi and make scholarly topics in the field of Yiddish accessible to a wider audience.
  • 2012 <def>The Tel Aviv University Yiddish Summer Program</def> is renamed in Naomi's honor.
  • 2013 Dr. David Roskies teaches as <def>the Naomi Prawer Kadar Visiting Professor of Yiddish at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem</def>.
Bibliography & Publications
  • Naomi continuously created teaching materials in Yiddish and English from 1983 to the end of her life.
  • Naomi served as the Stylistic Editor for Yugntuf Magazine.
  • Naomi Publishes a book review in Kultur un Lebn.
  • Yiddish Hagode for the Workman's Circle, Naomi Prawer Kadar, trans and ed. (1991).
  • Naomi Prawer Kadar and Roselyn Bresnick-Perry, Guide to Teaching Jewish Literature to Children (1992).
  • Naomi Prawer Kadar, Di kats der payats: Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat in Sholem Berger's Yiddish translation, Mendele Review, Vol. 7, No. 10, Sept. 30, 2003.
  • Naomi Prawer Kadar, Far di Kinders Vegn: Yiddish Periodicals for American Children 1917-1950 (Doctoral Dissertation, 2007).
  • Naomi Prawer Kadar, Leon Elbes Yiingele Ringele – A nayer min kinder-literatur afn amerikaner bodn” Afn Shvel, Issue 346-347 Winter/Spring 2009-2010. English Translation: “Leon Elbe’s Yingele Ringele – A New Kind of Children’s Literature on American Soil”.
  • Naomi Prawer Kadar, Raising Secular Jews: Yiddish Schools and Their Periodicals for Children, 1917-1950, Brandeis University Press, 2016