Born in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, he later lived in Moscow, where he turned to writing in Yiddish and worked as Managing Editor of the Yiddish literary journal Sovetish Heymland (Soviet Homeland) from 1988 to 1991. In 1991-2002, he lived in England, where he worked at the Oxford-based Institute of Yiddish Studies and the London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies. In 1996, he received his doctorate from the University of Oxford. His fields of expertise are Jewish intellectual history, Yiddish language and literature, and Soviet Jewish history. His publications include Intensive Yiddish (Oxford, 1996), Soviet Yiddish: Language Planning and Linguistic Development (Oxford, 1999), In Harness: Yiddish Writers’ Romance with Communism (Syracuse University Press, 2005), Yiddish in the Cold War (Oxford: Legenda, 2008), Yiddish Literary Life in Moscow, 1917-1991 (St. Petersburg: European University Press, 2016, in Russian), Yiddish Culture in Ukraine (Kyiv: Dukh i Litera, 2016, in Ukrainian), Transatlantic Russian Jewishness: Ideological Voyages of the Yiddish Daily Forverts in the First Half of the Twentieth Century (Boston, 2020), fifteen co-edited scholarly volumes, and several books in Yiddish.