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S'iz shver tsu zayn a Yid(It's tough to be a Jew) - Yiddish folk saying.
The Yiddish language has survived centuries of fervent anti-Semitism, planned and executed pogroms, and the ultimate evil of the Nazi’s calculated atrocities.
Although the U.S. Census Bureau's 2007 survey of language lists only 158,991 people who speak Yiddish at home, there has been recent resurgence in Yiddish learning and language, with many Jews embracingYiddishkeyt. (Yiddishkeyt- an eclecticmish mashof mannerisms, speech and a cultural and emotional connectivity to things Jewish - is a reflection of a person's "Jewishness.")A growing number of young Jews are reconsidering - or considering for the first time - the meaning of their Jewish heritage as an important part of their Jewish identity.Isaac Bashevis Singer, in his 1978 Nobel Prize in Literature acceptance speech (delivered in both Yiddish and English) said, "Yiddish has not yet said its last word. It contains treasures that have not been revealed... It was the tongue of martyrs and saints, of dreamers and cabalists-rich in humor and in memories that mankind may never forget… Yiddish is the wise and humble language of us all...”
A phenomenal source of information and connection for lovers of Yiddish is found online.The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, whose mission is to preserve, study and teach the cultural history of Jewish life, is a treasure trove. Its alumni newsletter is now posted online and it has an awesome Facebook page.Yugntruf - Yugnt far Yidish, Youth for Yiddish, is aimed at people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who are into Yiddish. You can spend a week (August 13-19, 2013) atYidish-Vokh 2013at the Pearlstone Retreat Center in Maryland. This week-long celebration of everything Yiddish includes classes, movies, plays, music, all in Yiddish. The websitewww.derbay.orglists events around the world, including classes, conferences, and concerts. Your grandparents’Jewish Forwardis now thriving atforward.comand has recently begun publishing an online Yiddish version:yiddish.forward.com.
Klezmer Music Has Achieved Coolness
The word Klezmer comes from the Hebrew words "klei zemer" which mean "vessels of song," and may refer to both musical instruments and the musicians, though the common term for Klezmer musicians is "Klezmorim." Klezmer, Jewish “soul music,” often took on regional characteristics, forming almost regional dialects. Hebrew melodies are intermixed and overlapped with Turkish, Roma, Romanian, Polish, Greek melodies. Klezmer adapted the music of the larger, surrounding culture without ever assimilating completely; borrowing liberally but never sacrificing its Jewish sensibility.
Klezmer music served religious and secular roles, but the most common image is its role in Jewish weddings, which, in Eastern Europeanshtels, could be week-long celebrations, including dancing in the streets. Although primarily an instrumental musical form, Yiddish songs and folk tunes were frequently performed. When played slowly,Klezmer makes you want to cry; when played up tempo, the urge to dance is irresistible.
Yiddish Farm, a Yiddish immersion educational environment and functioning organic farm in upstate NYS, was founded in 2010 on three principles: to foster unity among Yiddish speakers, to create an expanded role for the Yiddish language and to promote environmentalism through organic agriculture. The idea of Yiddish Farm is simple. Create both an immersive environment for speaking and learning Yiddish and a model of sustainable agriculture. It is in its early days and spirits are high. Pioneering cultural and linguistic terrain fits into the larger trend of interest in the sources and origins of things, whether language, culture or food. Farming encompasses not just one aspect of life; it encompasses every aspect of life. Living together, cooking together and working together in an isolated context in order to teach Yiddish in an immersive environment. The farm is Sabbath observant and kosher, but reflects a blend of very progressive and very traditional elements in the Yiddish community.
Yiddish Farm is now a grant-supported organization (Yugntruf — Youth for Yiddish, an established tax-exempt charity, acts as its fiscal sponsor) but aspires to become a self-sustaining non-profit entity.“It’s not easy being a farmer, it’s not easy being a Jew and it’s even harder being a Yiddish-speaking Jewish farmer. But we’re committed to it. Jews have been doing this for a very long time.”yiddishfarm.org
More Online Sources
http://forward.com/articles/yiddish-on-the-farm- Yiddish Farm
www.jewfaq.org/yiddish- Judaism 101 Yiddish language and culture
www.mindingthecampus.com/yiddish_rises_again- How Is Yiddish Doing?
www.jewishmag.com/book-yiddish-language - The Oy Way
www.jewishfederations.org/klezmer - Klezmer makes a comeback
http://german.uchicago.edu/yiddishrenaissance- Yiddish Renaissance- Chicago
www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs - US Census language results
www.jewishdatabank.org North American Jewish Data Bank
www.jpost.com/Yiddish-is-alive-and-well- Mameloshen is cool in Tel Aviv
www.clevelandjewishnews.com/opinion- Yiddish sees a bisl resurgence