Modern Yiddish Culture: The Story of the Yiddish Language Movement

Modern Yiddish Culture: The Story of the Yiddish Language Movement

Modern Yiddish Culture: The Story of the Yiddish Language Movement

Modern Yiddish Culture: The Story of the Yiddish Language Movement

Synopsis

The phenomenal rise of Yiddish language and culture is one of the most interesting and colorful sagas of modern Jewish history. In this significant book, Dr. Goldsmith relates the growth of Yiddish to the explosion of Jewish literature, the surge of Zionism, and the popularity of Socialism that impacted upon the Jews of Europe, America, and Israel. Including a study of the major personalities associated with the first Yiddish Language Conference (1908,) this is the first comprehensive work to explore a movement that affected the lives of millions of Jews before the Holocaust and continues to influence Jewish life throughout the world.

Excerpt

by Robert M. Seltzer Professor of History, Hunter College of The City University of New York

Emanuel S. Goldsmith's account of the series of writers and ideologists he has called "architects of Yiddishism" is a sympathetic and comprehensive depiction of a striking phase in the modernization of Judaism. Yiddishism, as Goldsmith points out, represents one of the most daring attempts by a large sector of Jewry to confront itself, against the background of the world of the twentieth century, as a "normal" modern nation. Because the Yiddish intellectuals were remarkably open to the new intellectual and literary currents that bedazzled Eastern European intellectuals from the middle of the nineteenth century to the eve of World War Two, yet remained deeply rooted in Jewish values and ethical concerns, they could forge a stance that was perhaps the most hopeful and, for several decades, seemingly the most reasonable of all Jewish ideologies of Eastern European origin-- an optimistic faith in human progress and in the prospects of a vigorous secular Jewish culture in a diaspora that had transcended the premodern without losing touch with the classical heritage of Judaism.

Winning a place for Yiddishism was no easy achievement. The mystique of a normalized, secular Jewishness through the medium of the Yiddish language emerged in Eastern Europe only in the face of considerable opposition from several directions. After surveying the early history of the Yiddish language . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.