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: