Israel News | Zionism Israel Center | Zionism History | Zionism Definitions | ZioNation | Forum | Zionism FAQ | Maps| Edit

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Yiddish in Lithuania

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/10/yiddish-in-lithuania.html

"Nahas" from an unexpected source. ("Nahas" in Yiddish, or "Nachat Ruach" in Hebrew means 'Satisfaction' - approximately. Like many Yiddish expressions, it does not lend itself to good translation.) It is mixed "Nahas," since it is difficult to understand why Jews would want to continue to live in Lithuania. Some people like to live dangerously I guess, or perhaps it is the perverse streak in the Jewish people noted since the time of Moses.
 
Ami Isseroff
 
 
 
By Patrick Lannin and Nerijus Adomaitis 37 minutes ago
 
VILNIUS (Reuters) - If you are having a shmooze over some nosh, but maybe you do not like schmaltz then, whether you know it or not, you are talking Yiddish.
 
Though the language -- known to Jews as the mame-loshn or mother tongue -- has made inroads into English, it has all but died out in daily use in its homelands of eastern Europe.
 
This includes Lithuania, which was once home to more than 200,000 Jews. But now schools and universities are trying to spread Yiddish again.
 
"Yiddish is a key to the rich culture of eastern European Jews, the heritage of European culture," said Roza Bieliauskiene, a former engineer who teaches at Lithuania's only Jewish school -- named Sholom Alecheim after the famed Yiddish writer whose stories inspired the "Fiddler on the Roof" musical.
 
"I feel a very rich person by knowing this language."
 
The school has 260 pupils, between the ages of seven and eight. Children take only one hour of Yiddish a week, starting at age 15, in a small step towards reviving the language.
 
Yiddish was originally seen as the language of women and children as opposed to the holy tongue of Hebrew that was studied by men, earning it the name mame-loshn, literally a mother tongue for Jews.
 
Yiddish writers also include Isaac Bashevis Singer, the only Yiddish writer to win the Nobel Literature Prize, in 1978. It was once spoken by about 13 million Jews in eastern Europe from all walks of life, but the combined effects of the Holocaust and Soviet repression caused a drastic fall.
 
At the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, founded in 2001 and the only one of its kind in eastern Europe, Professor Dovid Katz is keeping the flame alive with more than talk of matzo balls, gefilte fish and schmaltz (which is Yiddish for chicken fat).
 
"Our institute is committed to real Yiddish, rather than the touch and the feel and the sound and the cooking," he said.
 
He said non-Jews were more interested in learning the language than Jews: "There is an interest, some of it superficial, some of it deeper."
 
MISHMASH
 
The language is a mishmash -- itself a Yiddish word -- of German, Aramaic, Hebrew and Slav, but written in Hebrew characters. The word Yiddish means Jewish.
 
Estimates vary widely of how many people speak Yiddish worldwide today, ranging between about two to four million. It is mainly the language of everyday use among Orthodox Jews. Otherwise, it is mainly spoken by older people.
 
Emigration took it to the United States: New York still has a Yiddish weekly, The Forward (Forverts), and there are many Yiddish sites on the Web.
 
Its rich history in Lithuania came from the fact that Vilnius, or Vilna in Yiddish, was a strong regional Jewish centre. Jews from Lithuania had their own name, Litvaks.
 
Vilnius -- once known as "the Jerusalem of Lithuania" -- used to be home to the Yiddish Institute of Learning (YIVO), which had the largest collection of Yiddish books in the world but which moved to New York in 1940.
 
Much of the heritage was lost when Nazi forces marched into Lithuania and the other Baltic states during World War Two, killing much of the Jewish population.
 
Today, only between 4,000 and 5,000 remain in Lithuania and Yiddish was dealt further blows in the former Soviet Union due to pressure to speak Russian.
 
Even the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 did not help, because Israel adopted Hebrew as its official language.
 
But Simon Gurevicius, 26, has a passion for Yiddish -- he learnt it from his grandfather and speaks it as a native language.
 
"It (Yiddish) was like on a heart machine, the signal was at the lowest level for a long time, but now it is picking up again," said Gurevicius, sitting in the headquarters of Lithuania's Jewish community in downtown Vilnius.
 
"There is too much that we would lose if we lose the language," he added.
 
Perhaps more typical of young people, eighth-grader Katerina Soldatova, 15, is less enthusiastic. She already has to deal with learning Lithuanian, Russian, Hebrew and English.
 
"It is only history," she said dismissively after her Yiddish class.


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/10/yiddish-in-lithuania.html. Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment



<< Home


FREE EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION
Subscribe to
ZNN
email newsletter for this site and others

Powered by groups.yahoo.com


Feedblitz subcription
To this Blog only

You can receive our articles by e-mail. For a free subscription, please enter your e-mail address:


Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Web Logs & Sites

This Site

Zionism & Israel
Zionation Web Log
IMO Web Log (Dutch)

ZI Group
Zionism-Israel Pages
Israël-Palestina.Info (Dutch & English)
Israƫl in de Media
MidEastWeb Middle East News and Views
MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log

Brave Zionism
Israel: Like this, as if
Israel & Palestijnen Nieuws Blog

Friends and Partners
EinNews Israel
Israel Facts
Israel Proud Adam Holland
Middle East Analysis
Irene Lancaster's Diary
Middle East Analysis
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Israpundit
Israel Facts (NL)
Cynthia's Israel Adventure
Jeff Weintraub Commentaries and controversies
Meretz USA Weblog
Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers
Simply Jews
Fresno Zionism
Anti-Racist Blog
Sharona's Week
Z-Word Blog
Z-Word
Jewish State
Take A Pen - Israel Advocacy
Zionism on the Web
UN-Biased
ZOTW's Zionism and Israel News
Zionism On The Web News
ZOTW's Blogs
Christian Attitudes
Dr Ginosar Recalls
Zionism
Questions: Zionism anti-Zionism Israel & Palestine
Southern Wolf
Peace With Realism
Sanda's Place
Liberal for Israel
Realistic Dove
Blue Truth
Point of no Return
Christians Standing With Israel
Christians Standing With Israel - Blog
Liberticracia
CNPublications
SEO

Reference
Zionism
Anti-Semitism
Anti-Zionism
Encylopedic Dictionary of Zionism and Israel
Middle East Encyclopedia
Bible
Zionism and its Impact
Zionism & the creation of Israel
Zionism - Issues & answers
Maps of Israel
Christian Zionism Resources
Christian Zionism
Albert Einstein
Gaza & the Qassam Victims of Sderot
Islamism
Jihad
Zionist Quotes
Six Day War
Jew Hatred
Israel
Jew
Learn Hebrew
Arab-Israeli Conflict
International Zionism
Russian

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Israel Boycott
Boycott Israel?
Amnesty International Report on Gaza War
Boycott Israel?
Dutch Newspaper Reporting: A Study of NRC Handelsblad
Hamas (Dutch)
Dries van Agt (Dutch)
Experimental
Isfake lobby
Mysterology

At Zionism On the Web
Articles on Zionism
Anti-Zionism Information Center
Academic boycott of Israel Resource Center
The anti-Israel Hackers
Antisemitism Information Center
Zionism Israel and Apartheid
Middle East, Peace and War
The Palestine state
ZOTW Expert Search
ZOTW Forum

Judaica & Israel Gifts
Jewish Gifts: Judaica:
Ahava Products
Mezuzah

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]


RSS V 1.0

International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory