By Jeffrey Shandler
Adventures in Yiddishland examines the transformation of Yiddish within the six many years because the Holocaust, tracing its shift from the language of lifestyle for hundreds of thousands of Jews to what the writer phrases a postvernacular language of various and increasing symbolic worth. With a radical command of recent Yiddish tradition in addition to its centuries-old historical past, Jeffrey Shandler investigates the notable variety of latest encounters with the language. His learn traverses the wide spectrum of people that have interaction with Yiddish--from Hasidim to avant-garde performers, Jews in addition to non-Jews, fluent audio system in addition to those that be aware of very little Yiddish--in groups around the Americas, in Europe, Israel, and different outposts of ''Yiddishland.''
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Additional resources for Adventures in Yiddishland: Postvernacular Language and Culture. S. Mark Taper Foundation Imprint in Jewish Studies
In 2000 New York Times columnist Clyde Haberman observed that while “a fair amount of Yiddish . . has become mainstream in America, . . the Yiddish that Americans tend to know (most Jews included) consists of only a word here, a word there, and often those words are exceedingly vulgar. ”45 Paradoxically, at the same time that Yiddish was becoming, for many Jews, a lost language, it also gained new value as a signiﬁer of loss. This association was forged during World War II, when Yiddish was quite literally “written .
Constituting “a major watershed in the history of Jewish culture and consciousness,” this response was anything but uniform, but its impact was “so immense that [it] undermined all certainties of the Jewish community in Eastern Europe,”33 compelling millions to question every aspect of Jewish life, from what constitutes a proper sociopolitical vision of Jews as a people to how a Jew should eat, dress, and talk. The question of language was vital to this revolution, linking its national and personal dimensions; the choice of proper language(s) for the modern Jew—with possibilities that included Hebrew, Yiddish, German, Russian, Polish, Hungarian, English, and Esperanto, among others (and combinations thereof )—was one of the most widely and passionately debated issues of the period.
Yiddish pedagogy also provides a strategic opportunity for tracking shifting notions of the symbolic value of the language as it passes from one generation to the next, conﬁgured variously as an emblem of emergent Jewish nationalism, an exercise of homage to ethnic heritage, or, among khareydim, a bulwark securing religious tradition. Chapter 3 considers the role that literary translations from and into Yiddish have played in the conceptualization of Yiddish culture, beginning with the earliest works of Yiddish literature in print and concluding with certain recent translations of works of world literature into Yiddish, which exemplify postvernacularity’s distinctive privileging of a language’s symbolic level of meaning.