The past and present of a language that refuses to disappear. An iluminating post from Matt Adler’s excellent blog planting Roots Bearing Fruits.
One might be surprised to hear this, but Yiddish lives in Israel- and not just among Hasidim. Yiddish is the traditional language of Ashkenazi Jews like me. Before someone says something stupid, let me clarify something- Yiddish is NOT a “mixture of German and Hebrew”. It is also not only a Hasidic language- it has existed for at least a thousand years as a distinct language, whereas Hasidism has been around for about 400. On the eve of the Holocaust, 13 million Jews- socialists, communists, Zionists, anti-Zionists, Hasidim, secularists- spoke the language.
Yiddish is an archaeology of the Jewish people and linguistic proof of our ties to the Land of Israel. About 2000 years ago, Romans expelled Jews from Israel and destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem. The Jews who weren’t executed were expelled or enslaved. Many eventually made their way to other parts of the Roman Empire, where their Aramaic…
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