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« Sing-Along Sophie’s Choice | Main | Happy Birthday, Olivia! »

June 30, 2010

Comments

Fascinating! I also grew up w/ yiddish speaking grandparents, their first language, and huge fans of yiddish comedy theatre! even if we didn't get into as kids, it sure has influenced us as adults in ways that we now treasure! thank you for sharing, and sam specter by darling grampa who came here as a litle kid, absolutely adored american musical theatre, and Oklahoma was his very favorite!!!!

As you know, I went to a Workmen's Circle summer camp in upstate New York for eight years called Kinder-Ring. (Barbara Boxer, too!) It was a Jewish, but not religious, socialist oriented camp with lessons in Yiddish culture. Which was a bit weird, since most of the campers were third generations well-off Jews from Long Island. I had a great time there, and I still enjoy many of the great Yiddish storytellers, albeit in English translation. During the final year, your "group" put on a teen show to all the other campers. For my year, it was.... yes, Oklahoma. I was one of the Cowmen in the Farmers and Cowmen Should be Friends number. I think someone has some photos on Facebook. I will try to show it to you.

Same story here. My Zeide spoke Yiddish to my mother but I had no interest at all. He was in Pennsylvania so I wasn't surrounded with Yiddish speakers year-round, but still, you'd think I'd at least have shown interest once. Have you seen the Yiddish Book Center website? I've found some interesting (in English) books there.

Dear Danny,
Thanks for the memories.... I too grew up in a yiddish-speaking house and heard all the old records by Yusella Rosenblatt, Moisha Oysher, Molly Picon and many others. Too bad most of our kids have grown up with very little yiddish in their backgrounds, but if I know anything, you will keep it going for Leah and Charlie. Abei gezunt!
Love,
Bubbe Marilyn

Like so many other of your readers, I also grew up in a home where Yiddish was spoken, but only by my mother and her parents. When they talked about things they didn't want the kinder yo hear, yhe key word was 'zoognischt' and they switched over to Yiddish. I never realized how much gossippy Yiddish I picked up until I moved to Israel after high school and was able to understand pretty much everything said by the many survivors I met there.

I've thought of taking classes at the Workman's Circle here to hone my Yiddish. And I second the suggestion that you should check out the Yiddish Book Repository in Amherst. Only I think you should take a field trip. :-)

Wow, I can't believe I didn't know about the Yiddish Book Center. LOVE their website and I want to go there!

There are many elderly Yiddish speakers in the Pittsburgh area. I saw a lot of them at the Jewish Music Festival early in June. One show in the series was about Folksbiene and the efforts to preserve the history of Yiddish theatre in New York. Since I'm not Jewish, and at age 48, was just about the youngest person at the presentation, I had to wonder if any of the younger generation of Jews not in attendance were interested in this fascinating tradition. I hope so.

I first became aware of Yiddish when visiting a family of Holocaust survivors here in the early 1960s. I used to have a collection of Yiddish language learning tools that I donated to our local JCC some time ago in the hopes of keeping the language alive among the younger generation.

Another great blog. I am reminded of my parents who spoke yiddish when they didn't want my sister & i to know what they were talking about. I wish I tried to learn yiddish back then but i plan to learn soon. Like you, I missed so many opportunities to ask my grandmother about coming to America from Romania with her 5 brothers but your previous blog about pogroms seemed to give me answers.
When I tried to ask my father's mother about the trip to America, all she would say was it was terrible. I couldn't get her to reminisce about her life before America. My daughter's grandfather didn't take her seriously when she tried to tape him talking about his life in Germany and coming to America. He was too old when she was ready to ask.

Dear Danny,
Thanks for that wonderful post. What a sweet man he was. I was surprised that his singing voice was so strong and clear, even as an elderly man.

It's so important to remember the family members who came before us, and to know as much as possible about them.

A couple of weeks ago, I happened to Google my grandfather's name, and up popped an entry from the "Flickr" web site, with a bunch of very old family photographs (with names) which I had never seen before. The best ones were pictures of family members whose names I knew, but now I had faces to go with them.

Thanks,
Gordon

Not only is this a great post, the comments are fabulous! I grew up speaking Yiddish, which was the only way that I could communicate with my maternal grandmother. And, Seymour Rechzeit was a household name at 5716 Kimball (along with Boris Tomashevsky, Molly Picon, et al). When cleaning out my mother's garage, the contents of which could only be described as being "fon Tomashevsky's tseit," I came across several 78's of Yiddish music and theater. Needless to say, they did not go into the dumpster!

Thanks, Danny, for reminding me of some of the better moments of my childhood!

Sheila

Charlie's hair is really growing---it looks as if it might be changing color a bit. Toward redhead?

Yiddish ANYTHING -- language, music, films, theater, literature -- is so rich!! It so finely captures the Jewish experience through the years, and I'm glad it's had some form of resurgence over the years among younger people.

Zei gesundt, "Tatty"!

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