Rootless Cosmopolitan special Israeli correspondent Shayna sent this to me. It's a Times of Israel piece about Mendy Cahan's Tel Aviv bus station Yiddish center. (By the way, the article calls it a museum. Is that what we're calling it now? That seems new. And significant. But anyway.)
Yung Yiddish has been the subject of numerous, basically interchangeable, articles in the last few years. Tablet, Haaretz (2008), Haaretz (2012), Eretz, Israel Story (Public Radio). If you don't feel like reading those, you can read my breakdown of the standard Yiddish in Tel Aviv Bus Station narrative here.
I like this story. You get two excitingly hacky tropes for the price of one.Yiddish!Revival! as well as Yiddish!In!A!Bus!Station! What's always funny about these revival stories is that the headlines says revival, but the language of the piece is always so dour, so ahistorical, so indicative of anything but a bright future for Yiddish.
My mother always says that Yiddish is the music of the soul and language of the soul,” said [musician Gal] Klein. “It’s burned into our tradition. It doesn’t matter who we are and how far away we get away from it, it’s always a part of us.”
But it’s a fading part. In the Diaspora, Yiddish was the glue that held communities together, a shared language and culture. In Israel, there’s no need for that shared identity."In Israel, there’s no need for that shared identity. 'We’re at a point we have a country and a culture here, so the culture from long ago is a lot less important...'" I mean, I literally LOL-ed. LLOL. I find the total ignorance, and erasure of recent history, to be funny.
“We’re at a point we have a country and a culture here, so the culture from long ago is a lot less important,” said Klein, who tours around the world with his band Ramzailech, a fusion of ecstatic rock and klezmer. On Tuesday, he played with his other band, the Di Gasn Trio, which means “The Streets” in Yiddish.
For the record, Yiddish didn't just happen to end up occupying the literal margins of the Israeli body politic.The position of Yiddish within Israeli culture and life is highly politicized-- it is a product of history and politics and conscious language planning. You can't really engage with Yiddish in Israel without understanding the context of what you're doing. Or... you could, and then you would get every asinine article ever written about Yiddish in Israel. So, yeah. There you go.