A native of Moscow, Dov-Ber Kerler graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1983 (joint honors BA in Yiddish Literature and General and Indo-European Linguistics) and received his D.Phil. in Yiddish philology from the University of Oxford in 1989.
At Oxford University Professor Kerler was appointed Junior Research Fellow in 1986 and later a Senior Fellow and Lecturer at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, where taught undergraduates and graduate courses and supervised graduate students on various aspects of Yiddish literature, cultural history, Yiddish linguistics, sociolinguistics, and Yiddish in the Soviet Union. He was also instrumental in organizing and co-directing the intensive Oxford summer Programs of Yiddish language and literature (1984-1996) and the new Yiddish language and culture summer course at the University of Vilnius (1997-1998). Professor Kerler joined IU as Dr. Alice Field Cohn Chair in Yiddish Studies in 2001.
Dov-Ber Kerler's research interests include history, dialectology, sociology and the linguistic analysis of Yiddish; history of Yiddish literature and culture, modern Yiddish poetry; Yiddish-Slavic linguistic and cultural contacts; Yiddish and modern Israeli Hebrew (Ivrit). His publications include the edited volumes History of Yiddish Studies (Harwood Academic Publishers, 1991) and Politics of Yiddish; Studies in Language, Literature, and Society (AltaMira Press, 1998). He also co-edited together with his father, the Yiddish poet and editor, Josef Kerler (1918-2000), four volumes of the Yiddish annual for literature and culture, entitled Yerushalaimer Almanakh, Annual for Yiddish Literature, Scholarship, and Culture (Jerusalem, 1993-1998), and together with Professor Dovid Katz three volumes of Yiddish scholarship, entitled Oksforder Yidish: A Yearbook of Yiddish Studies (1990-1995). His book, The Origins of Modern Literary Yiddish, appeared in 1999 (Clarendon Press, Oxford). Most recently, he edited and published Yerusholaimer Almanakh, periodical collection of Yiddish language and culture (Jerusalem, 2003).
In 1997 Dov-Ber Kerler was awarded, together with Josef Kerler, the Dovid Hofstein Prize for Yiddish Literature (Israeli Association of Yiddish Writers and Journalists, Tel Aviv), for editing Yerushalaimer Almanakh, and in 1999 the European Science Foundation Grant (Strasbourg), which enabled him to organize together with Dr Joel Berkowitz the First Academic Conference on Yiddish Drama and Performing Arts at Oxford University and the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies (June 29-July 2, 1999).
In 1996 Professor Kerler also published two volumes of Yiddish poetry, under the pen-name Boris Karloff, entitled Vu mit an alef ("Where with an Aleph," Three Sisters Press, Wales) and, together with Josef Kerler, Shpigl-ksav ("Words in a Mirror", Yerusholaymer Almanach Press, Jerusalem).