Judith Laikin Elkin

Judith Laikin Elkin is an associate of the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan and founding president of the Latin American Jewish Studies Association. A graduate of the University of Michigan and Columbia University, she is the author of The Jews of Latin America and co-editor of The Jewish Presence in Latin America. She edited the semiannual journal Latin American Jewish Studies for eighteen years.

A former United States Foreign Service Officer, Elkin has travelled widely in Asia, Europe, and South America. Her memoir, Krishna Smiled, recounts her adventures collecting books in South Asia for US government libraries. On her return to the United States, she developed a column of foreign news analysis for the Detroit Free Press and Toledo Blade. She has taught history and political science at Wayne State University, University of Michigan, Ohio State University and Albion College. During the Columbus Quincentenary Year, she directed a yearlong series of conferences funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities on the theme “Jews and the Encounter with the New World, 1492/1992” and also served as consulting historian on several exhibits, including “Voyages to Freedom: Five Hundred Years of Jewish Life in Latin America and the Caribbean” and “Mosaic: Jewish Life in Florida.”

“I Carry My Roots with Me,” an exhibition of Latin American Jewish arts and culture for which Elkin was historical consultant, opened at the Washington, D.C. Jewish Community Center on May 18, 2000.

Articles by this author

Celia Adler

Celia Adler’s popularity as a Yiddish actor made her a force in the Yiddish art theater movement, where she succeeded despite her lack of a powerful male protector. She was acclaimed for her ability to combine pathos and charm, and those who witnessed her performances especially remember her talent for comedy.

Sara Adler

Although her reputation as an artist must have benefited from the association with her husband, Jacob P. Adler, Sara Adler was an admired actor and a strong presence on the Yiddish stage.

Stella Adler

At Stella Adler’s death in 1992, Robert Brustein wrote in The New Republic, “Stella Adler’s death … represents a major loss in the pantheon of theater greats. Through the strength of her convictions, the integrity of her character, and the brilliance of her mind, Adler embodied the art of the dramatic profession and remained an influential figure throughout a career that spanned most of the century.”

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Judith Laikin Elkin." (Viewed on September 23, 2019) <>.


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