As many of you know I am working on a documentary on the transmission of Yiddish since the Holocaust. Many people say to me, Yiddish? Why? Of what use is it? Yiddish was the day-to-day language of 11 million Jews living in Northern Europe, from France to Russia, for over a thousand years. The Holocaust caused the deaths of millions of European-born Jews many of whom spoke Yiddish. Yiddish in our time could easily be lost to us since the primary language of the Jewish people has now become Hebrew, the national language of Israel. Hebrew, the language of our holy texts, the Torah, has been revived as a spoken language during the last century and is the official language of Israel, spoken by Israelis. Most of the Jewish world now lives and breaths in Hebrew.
So of what use is Yiddish? Israel Bercovicci wrote … it is through Yiddish theatre that “Jewish culture entered in dialogue with the outside world,”both by putting itself on display and by importing theatrical pieces from other cultures. So “Is Yiddish important”? Is culture important? Is being Jewish important? Only you can answer that question.
In my documentary I focus on the lives of three characters who have devoted their lives to ensuring the survival of Yiddish: Shmuel Atzmon, a Holocaust survivor; Bryna Wasserman, a second generation Yiddish artist, and Milena Kartovsky, a third generation Yiddish performer from Paris.
So, is Jewish history and literature important? If your answer is yes! that Yiddish is part of the Jewish legacy! and you feel it is important to appreciate the story of Yiddish in our time with future generations, I invite you to watch this important documentary about Yiddish which talks about the transmission of Yiddish from generation to generation in North America, in Israel, and in Europe.