By Jeffrey Shandler

Adventures in Yiddishland examines the transformation of Yiddish within the six many years because the Holocaust, tracing its shift from the language of lifestyle for hundreds of thousands of Jews to what the writer phrases a postvernacular language of numerous and increasing symbolic price. With an intensive command of contemporary Yiddish tradition in addition to its centuries-old historical past, Jeffrey Shandler investigates the outstanding variety of up to date encounters with the language. His examine traverses the large spectrum of people that interact with Yiddish--from Hasidim to avant-garde performers, Jews in addition to non-Jews, fluent audio system in addition to those that comprehend very little Yiddish--in groups around the Americas, in Europe, Israel, and different outposts of "Yiddishland."

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Additional resources for Adventures in Yiddishland: Postvernacular Language and Culture (S. Mark Taper Foundation Imprint in Jewish Studies)

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That being said, it would be naïve to sever all consideration of post-Holocaust Yiddish culture from its prewar past, especially because the contemporary culture is shaped to such a great extent by efforts to engage with Jewish life “before” (not only before World War II, but also before the Bolshevik Revolution, World War I, the era of mass immigration to America, the Haskalah, the advent of hasidism, the Cossack massacres in Ukraine, the arrival of Jews in Poland, the Crusades). Taking into account the extensive retrospection of contemporary Yiddish culture calls for careful consideration of the “past” and “present” as constructs.

POSTVERNACULARITY 23 Yiddish actor and radio announcer Zvee Scooler in the studio of radio station WEVD, New York City, in the mid-1960s, holding a copy of Instant Yiddish. This sound recording, scripted by Fred Kogos, features Scooler and actress Maria Karnilova in a series of lessons in conversational Yiddish. ” Courtesy of the Theatre Collection, Museum of the City of New York. To understand postvernacularity it is therefore essential not to regard it as any less valid than vernacular engagement with language.

As a result of this disruption, how do these people reconceptualize language and culture, so that they might still be meaningful in relation to one another and meaningful to this people’s collective sense of self? 62 With regard to Yiddish, this investigation has a specific urgency now, with the approach of yet another threshold in the language’s turbulent annals—the eventual passing of the last native speakers of Yiddish who acquired and used the language in prewar Eastern Europe. Well before World War II, Eastern Europe was widely regarded as the Yiddish “heartland,” even as millions of its inhabitants fled geographically, ideologically, and linguistically.

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