I am delighted to share that Yiddish: a tale of survival will be screened On Mountain Lakes PBS, Thursday May 22, at 9pm. Yesterday I was interviewed by Thom Hallock, news anchor and producer for Mountain Lakes Journal. It was a thoughtful interview about the history of Yiddish in Montreal and worldwide since the Holocaust and about the documentary, Yiddish: a tale of survival. The interview segment will be aired this Friday, May 9th, 2014 at 8pm and several times during the weekend.
Avant la Shoah /l’Holocauste, une majorité de Juifs en Europe parlait le yiddish. Apres la decimation des juifs pendant la deuxieme guerre mondiale, la culture yiddish – la langue, la littérature et le théâtre – a été pratiquement, entièrement détruite. Le sort de la langue yiddish était menacée et nul n’osait croire que le yiddish allait revoir le jour. Ce film, crée a Montreal, est un documentaire sur la survie du Yiddish après la Shoa par la route du theatre. Comprenant qu’est-ce que c’est de perdre sa culture, les Quebecois français était des grands amis du theatre Yiddish a Montreal et cela est clairement démontré dans le film.
Ce documentaire se concentre sur trois générations d’artistes yiddish qui examine l’état du yiddish dans le 21e siècle.
Arrivé au Canada en 1950 avec deux jeunes filles, Dora Wasserman, a réussi à créer une troupe de théâtre yiddish composé d’étudiants et de leurs parents, de nombreux survivants de la Shoah. Son travail a été réalisé par sa fille Bryna Wasserman, qui a récemment présidé le cinquantième anniversaire de la Yiddish Dora Wasserman Troupe en lançant le tout premier Festival international de théâtre yiddish à Montréal.
Milena Kartowski, une étudiante de 23 ans qui a exploré la danse, le jazz et l’opéra à Paris, une petite-fille de survivants de la Shoah, a récemment découvert la langue yiddish et sa culture d’origine. Elle est «tombée en amour» avec le théâtre yiddish et sa chanson. Milena comprend non seulement l’essence de la culture yiddish, mais aussi l’importance de préserver une culture qu’elle craint être menacée d’extinction.
Voici Milena chantant à Montreal, 2011 à la Festival Internationale de Theatre Yiddish.
Il y a vingt-cinq ans, Shmuel Atzmon, un survivant de la Shoah, a commencé à faire renaître le théâtre yiddish en Israël. Il a pris les jeunes acteurs de langue hébraïque et leur a enseigné la langue yiddish, sa musique et sa culture. Il est maintenant responsable du yiddish Repertory Theatre à Tel Aviv, appelé Yiddishspiel.
Abigail Hirsch est née dans une famille juive qui a survécu à la Shoah en Europe. Abigail est arrivé au Québec à l’age de cinq ans, finit l’école à Montréal et parle plusieurs langues, mais pas le yiddish. Elle écrit : « J’ai redécouvert la beauté et la profondeur du yiddish à travers le Festival international de théâtre yiddish qui a eu lieu à Montréal en 2009. J’ai été inspirée et je me suis lancée dans ce documentaire. Partout où je suis allé en Israël, aux États-Unis et au Canada, j’ai partagé ce projet avec des gens de toutes les langues, juifs et non-juifs, qui se sont montrés très intéressés par ce sujet.»
Jeudi, le 22 mai, Le documentaire sera presenter sur le canal PBS Mountain Lake à neuf heure du soir.
Après avoir vu la bande-annonce, vous serez sans doute d’accord avec Abigail, comme c’est important de préserver le francais c’est aussi un projet important de continuer à faire des efforts pour préserver l’héritage yiddish pour le monde.
Merci pour Abigail !
Pour plus d’information ou pour contacter Abigail…
This was a play created and performed by the collaboration of students from autistic and non autistic classes, and from two different schools, the students of Ecole de la Madeleine, La Prairie, and students from Herzliyah High School in Montreal, Quebec. The project was conceived by Helene Masse, teacher of autistic students at l’école de La Magdeleine and made possible by a grant from the Ministry of Éducation of Quebec. The collaboration offered these students an excellent opportunity to discover each others’ talents, and to appreciate students from different cultures, different religions, and to uncover their different forms of self expression.
AskAbigail productions videotaped the project.
School year 2010/2011
Below is a series of video compilations from the Project:
Une création collective mise en scène par Hélène Massé réalisée par des élèves autistes et non-autistes de l’école de La Magdeleine, La Prairie, et l’école Herzliah, Montréal. Une bonne occasion de découvrir les talents de ces adolescents, d’apprécier la richesse de ces projets regroupant des élèves de différentes cultures, de différentes religions et qui ont différentes manières d’être, de s’exprimer, de créer.
Après avoir découvert les réalités de la 2e guerre mondiale et les génocides africains, des adolescents autistes se sont demandés « Que pouvons-nous faire devant tant d’horreur? » « Nous pouvons au moins apprendre notre histoire pour ne pas se faire compter des histoires. » a dit Simon C. pendant un cours d’histoire. Puis ils ont fait un diaporama afin d’informer leurs camarades de ce qu’ils avaient découvert. Ils ont ensuite présenté leur diaporama à La Conférence des Droits de l’Enfant, organisée par Human Promise au Centre Gelbert, à Montréal. Par la suite , ils ont correspondu avec les élèves de l’école Herzliah et visité le Musée de l’Holocauste et la Maison Amérindienne. La pièce de théâtre “Qui es-tu?” a finalement est une création collective qui a pour d’éveiller les conscience sur l’importance de connaître l’Histoire et de faire des choix judicieux pour collaborer à un monde meilleur.
La pièce de théâtre Julien est un jeune homme sportif, aimable, sensible mais un peu insouciant. Myriam est intelligente, consciente mais manque de délicatesse avec les gens qui l’entourent. Tout au long de la pièce, les deux personnages apprendront à se connaître. Ils découvriront différentes réalités et leurs valeurs en partageant leurs idées et leurs rêves. Plusieurs personnages aussi spéciaux les uns que les autres, comme des extra-terrestres, Sherlok Holmes, Colombo, et différents personnages historiques, fictifs ou réels participent pour faire de cette pièce de théâtre un moment unique, où la magie, l’humour, la sensibilité, la connaissance et l’engagement sont au rendez-vous.
Voici quelques extraits de cette pièce de théâtre dont la durée est de une heure trente.
Sur la vidéo No 4 vous pourrez entendre un extrait du témoignage de M. André Michel, directeur de la Maison Amérindienne et surnommé le peintre des amérindiens et de M. Walter Absil, un survivant de l’Holocauste qui ont tous deux assister au spectacle.
This was a letter I addressed to Andrea Collins of San Diego University after reading the following press release: SAN DIEGO (Press Release)– StandWithUs-San Diego is calling on the community to join in protest against San Diego State University offering course credit to students to attend a lecture by anti-Israel extremist Richard Falk on April 7. “Richard Falk has built a career on the public advocacy of offensive, extremist, and intellectually irresponsible views,” said Nicole Bernstein, executive director of StandWithUS-San Diego. “By offering course credit to attend a one-sided lecture, it effectively normalizes anti-Israel discourse into acceptable college ‘teaching material.
Professor Richard Falk
I just learned about SDU offering credit for a lecture by Professor Falk. By now I am sure you have educated yourself about the record of this man. I have been aware of Richard Falk’s record for several years. I attended his talk when he was invited to speak at McGill and I wrote about it in a blog: http://www.askabigailproductions.com/who-is-richard-falk
Richard Falk is an academic with excellent credentials, an author, a law professor and a former official with the UN. However, most people do not realize that anti-semitism was and has ever been a mainstream institutionalized ideology. In 1199, Pope Innocent the Third issued the first Papal Letter on how the church should be dealing with the Jews, thereby instituting discrimination based on theology. (The Jews were to be treated as inferior and permitted only certain occupations, but not killed. Every effort should be made to convert them, because the second coming is dependent on conversion of all peoples but especially the Jews who attest to the background of Christ.)
I am sure you are aware that European Nazi Anti-semitism is based on a now debunked “scientific” theory of racism, delegating Jews to be an inferior race. This is only to say that ideologies and academia has been deeply involved in racism and promotion of unjust and false theories. Only recently the notebooks of Heidegger were published in which his personal deeply anti-semitic views are exposed.
Prof Robert Wistrich, the pre-eminent scholar of antisemitism puts it best in this brief clip that I recorded several years ago where he states: “We need to recall that in the history of Anti-semitism intellectuals both in pre-modern and post modern societies have played a leading role in formulating, articulating and propagating the ideology of Jew hatred….Intellectuals invented modern Anti-semitism.”
Freedom of speech is indeed enshrined by the academic charter. But does academia have no standards regarding the search for truth and the condemnation of racism.
It now has been effectively proven to anyone who cares to analyze these issues that “anti-zionism” is anti-semitism in sheep’s clothing and that attitudes towards Israel are tinged with unfairness and lies. Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal has expressed it very well in this talk:
A most interesting talk was given recently by Professor Ottolenghi on Jewish anti-semites. And yes Professor Falk is Jewish.
And if you have any question about the deeply anti-semitic attitudes of Hamas and Hezbollah I refer you to this talk by Dr. Matthew Levitt.
By the way it is not only Jews who attest to these issues. But as Jews we do have a responsibility to speak out.
I am a Jew, educated in Canada the US and Israel who was born in Hungary. I have a six minute about me video on my website which encapsulates the story of my life. www,askabigailproductions.com
I am sure you will not close your eyes to these compelling issues of our day that are being dramatized on our campuses.
Israel Truth Week will be having its second conference this Sunday March 23rd, in Toronto. It is free and open to all. The roster of speakers includes Jews and non-Jews. It is heartening to see the lies, which were spread about Israel and the BDS movement last week during “Israel Apartheid Week” being actively confronted.
Just reviewing the roster of speakers I discovered several Israel supporters I had not been aware of: Chloe Valdary, a Black student interviewed about her pro zionist views in Front Page magazine; Aleysha O’Hare & Dimitri Bazos, students at U of Toronto, Shobie Kapoor, Founder of the Canadian Patriotic Society: ‘A Hindu-Canadian’s Case For Israel’, Mark Vandermaas, Rule Of Law Activist, Founder of Caledonia Victims Project and Israel Truth Week. The organizers also list links to books, posters and booklets available on the web to anyone interested in these issues. I especially appreciated the Israel Truth Videos.
I spoke about these issues myself at the FreedomTalk grassroots conservative conference on political correctness, because I have been so appalled by the rise of the lies of the Arab/Palestinian beligerance against Israel and antizionist academic left of the Israel/apartheid week and self righteous BDS supporters.
The resilience of Yiddish since the Holocaust which wiped out six million potential Yiddish speakers is revealed by exploring the lives and careers of three Yiddish performers. The first, Shmuel Atzmon, an Israeli actor who at the age of fifty, after a lifetime spent in the Hebrew Theatre in Israel, founded the Yiddishpiel Repertory Theater in Tel Aviv. The second, Bryna Wasserman, heir to the legacy of her mother, Dora Wasserman who championed Yiddish Theatre in Montreal, has continued her mother’s legacy and shepherded it into the twenty-first century, by commissioning new Yiddish plays, and also initiating the International Yiddish Theatre Festival in Montreal. And lastly, we meet singer and actress Milena Kartowski, who at the young age of 23 has discovered Yiddish and is helping to bring it to a new generation.
The film explores the paths that brought each artist to Yiddish and how it has shaped their lives. In the words of one reviewer, “The film is deeply moving and surprisingly entertaining. Watching it, one hears the sounds of the almost forgotten language of Yiddish from the echoes of Sholem Aleichem to the young people’s YaYa group performance, Raisins and Almonds. We are reminded of the legacy Montreal’s Jewish community and of Yiddish culture worldwide.”
This subject is particularly poignant in Quebec where awareness of the vulnerability of culture and language is so strong.
The film will be screened twice at the Montreal World Film Festival:
Thursday, August 29, 7:30 pm and Sunday, September 1st at 10am in the Quartier Latin Cinema: Salle 15
World Premiere of documentary film “Yiddish: A tale of survival”
We are excited to announce that “Yiddish: A tale of survival” has been selected for a gala world premiere by the New York City International Film Festival (NYCIFF). “Yiddish: A tale of survival” will be showcased at the festival’s Israel Film Day Event gala at 8pm. Press screening at 5:30, party followed by screening at 8pm, followed by Q and A and an after party.
Shot in Israel, Canada and the United States, “Yiddish: A tale of survival” tells the story of Yiddish since the Holocaust via the personal histories and performance clips of Shmuel Atzmon of Tel Aviv, who started Israel’s first Yiddish Repertory theatre; Bryna Wasserman, heir to the Dora wasserman Yiddish theatre legacy and the initiator of first ever International Yiddish Theatre Festival in Montreal, and Milena Kartowsky of Paris, a youthful performer and activist for Yiddish culture.
Yiddish: A tale of survival” documents the grassroots nurturing and rebirth of Yiddish in the face of severe challenges both in Israel and all over the world. via the personal histories of three amazing individuals: BrynaWasserman, Shmuel Atzmon and Milena Kartovsky.
Before the second world war, Yiddish was the vernacular of over 11 million Jewish people worldwide. Today, there are fewer than 2 million Yiddish speakers. In addition, post Holocaust, the language of Jewish communities all over the world, including Israel, became Hebrew, in order to foster a new Jewish identity. Few worried about the survival of Yiddish, which had been the language of Jewish people in Europe for centuries, and which carried the history and culture of Jews over the preceding 1000 years.
Yiddish: A tale of survival” documents the grassroots nurturing and rebirth of Yiddish in the face of severe challenges both in Israel and all over the world and demonstrates how art can be both revolutionary and political.
For information, contact Abigail Hirsch at 917-647-5540 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yiddish: A Tale of Survival, is a documentary about Yiddish after the Holocaust. It focuses on three generations of Yiddish performers: Shmuel Atzmon, Bryna Wasserman and Milena Kartowski, and examines the state of Yiddish in the 21st century. Here is the trailer:
Yiddish was the main spoken and literary language of Northern European Jews from France to Russia for several hundred years. During the Holocaust a majority of the world’s Yiddish speakers were annihilated. As a result, the Yiddish culture – language, literature, and theatre was nearly destroyed, leaving many wondering whether Yiddish had any future at all.
Twenty-five years ago, Shmuel Atzmon, a holocaust survivor, started a Yiddish Repertory theatre in Israel. He took young Hebrew speaking actors and taught them the Yiddish language, its music and culture. There is now a first rate Yiddish Repertory Theatre in Tel Aviv called Yiddishspiel.
Arriving in Canada in 1950 with two young daughters, Dora Wasserman, succeeded in creating a Yiddish theatre troupe made up of students and their parents, many Holocaust survivors. Her work has been carried on by her daughter Bryna Wasserman, who recently presided over the fiftieth anniversary of the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Troupe by initiating the first ever International Yiddish Theatre Festival in Montreal. Milena Kartowski, a twenty-three year old student of dance, jazz, and opera, from Paris, and a grand daughter of Holocaust survivors, has recently discovered the Yiddish language and its attendant culture. She has fallen in love with Yiddish theatre and song. Milena not only understands the essence of Yiddish culture but also the importance of preserving a culture that is on the verge of extinction.
My name is Abigail Hirsch. I was born into a Jewish family that survived the Holocaust in Europe. I rediscovered the beauty and depth of the Yiddish theatre through the International Yiddish Theatre Festival that was held in Montreal in 2009, and was inspired to initiate this documentary. Everywhere I went in Israel, the US and Canada and shared this project, people of all languages, Jews and non-Jews were excited about it.
We have completed the film and have been submitting the film to Festivals and distributors and potential sponsors. We held a press screening at McGill University in Montreal on December 10, 2012, Human Rights Day and got some very favorable press coverage. Pierre Landry interviewed me on the CBC Home Run radio show on Dec. 10: Janice Arnold published a review in the Canadian Jewish News.
Did you know Montreal has an all Jewish radio station? Radio Shalom Montreal 1650 AM, is located in Ville St. Laurent and is the only Radio station in the city dedicated to a religious group. Radio Shalom plays 24hrs, 6 days a week (sabbath off of course).
I was recently invited onto the program to speak with long time host, Stanley Asher. We discussed my forth coming documentary, Yiddish: A Tale Of Survival, as well as Yiddish culture in Montreal.
It was a pleasure to speak with Stanley, and he is such a professional, I hope to be back soon!