In miten drinen, Yiddish is spoken in the Knesset

By Marian Lebor
May 26, 2009

This is no bubbe maisse: the Knesset really did mark Yiddish Language and Culture Day today, the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Yiddish author Shalom Aleichem. This week was also the 20th anniversary of the founding of Yiddishshpiel, Tel Aviv's Yiddish theatre. Among today's events was a special Knesset session during which the place of Yiddish in modern Israeli society was discussed.

MK Lia Shemtov (Israel Beiteinu), chairperson of the Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee, led the unique initiative. Shemtov grew up speaking Yiddish in her family home in the Ukraine.

"This language represents for me the language, culture and history of the Jews of Europe," she said. "Yiddish is a rich, pungent, humorous, sweet and indulgent language. ...Yiddish, for me, is mein mameloshen, mein tateloshen, mein bubbeloshen und mein zeydeloshen ('my mother tongue, my father tongue, my grandmother tongue and my grandfather tongue')."

The two parties with the most Yiddish speakers, Shemtov said, are Yisrael Beiteinu and the United Torah Judaism party. Three Yisrael Beiteinu MKs, including Avigdor Lieberman, speak Yiddish, as do all five MKs from UTJ.

For a full report see Israel National News on this link:



Sat, 05/30/2009 - 22:47

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And not before time. what a shandah that some of the most right wing MKs, kholile, are the remaining Yiddish speakers. Yiddish was treated abysmally in Israel very soon after the holocaust, targeted by petty laws and street vandalism. Kiosks sellng yiddish literature were attacked and set of fire. The building of the Yiddish writers union was taken over by the Hebrew writers union with the connivance of the authorities. When the proceedings of the Eichman trial were translated into more than 20 languages they omitted to translate them into Yiddish - as if Yiddish speaking survivors were irrelevant.

Yiddish, nebekh, was only the everyday language of those jews targeted by the Nazis.It was the language in which the most progressive Jewish thinkers thought and wrote about equality and liberation for all. it was a language of people that didn't know from being occupiers or building separation walls against humanity.

As for Leiberman - er zolt vaksn vi a tsibele mit'n kop in dr'erd!


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