News And Politics


Krakow Jewish Fest Features Notable Absence: Jews

By Rukhl Schaechter

About 13,000 people crowded the main square in the cobblestone-paved former Jewish quarter of Krakow last week for the finale of this year’s Jewish Culture Festival. The event — which is funded by the Polish government, the city of Krakow, the Friends of the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival in New York and the San Francisco-based Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture — boasted a dizzying array of activities, including daily tours of seven synagogues and cemeteries; Yiddish- and Hebrew-language classes; films, lectures and exhibits; workshops in Jewish cooking, calligraphy and Hasidic dance; meetings with Jewish authors, and traditional Sabbath prayer services.Read More


Mamaloshn: Why the Gay Connection?

By Gabriel Sanders

On a chilly Monday evening in January, Yugntruf, a New York-based not-for-profit designed to promote Yiddish, assembled a panel to address the question “What Attracts Us to Yiddish?”Read More


Postcard Collection Reveals Images of a Grandfather’s World

By Jeri Zeder

Back in 1906, when he was 15, Benny Swartzberg could not have foreseen that, a century later, his growing collection of postcards would provide the raw material for an online store managed by his grandson.Read More


Publisher Opens Final Chapter

By Beth Schwartzapfel

Last month’s publication of “The Cross and Other Jewish Stories” by Ukrainian-born Yiddish author Lamed Shapiro marks both a new beginning and the beginning of the end for the New Yiddish Library Series.Read More


Thai Course Launched

By Ran Ezer

A new Yiddish course is debuting in an unexpected place: Bangkok.Read More


Unusual Ingredients Make Social Group Simmer

By Rukhl Schaechter

Where can you find a lively venue these days in which more than a third of the attendees under the age of 30 are fluent Yiddish speakers?Read More


Absurdity Returns to Chelm

By Rukhl Schaechter

Because Jewish folk humor depicts Chelm as a town inhabited by naive fools, few people realize that Chelm is actually a real town in Eastern Poland that was once home to 18,000 Jews and was highly regarded as a center of Torah study.Read More


Northern Exposure: Mameloshn’s Unexpected Fate – in Sweden

By Rukhl Schaechter

In the weeks leading up to Sweden’s national election this month, the government put out public service announcements in the press, encouraging its citizens to vote. But one feature was hardly standard issue: The bulletins informed the readers how to get voting instructions in Yiddish.Read More


When the Anthem Was in Yiddish

By Rukhl Schaechter

The release last Friday of a Spanish version of the “The Star-Spangled Banner” sparked heated debate on radio talk shows and in the blogosphere. Some pundits took to calling the song “The Illegal Alien Anthem.” Even the president has weighed in on the matter. (He’s opposed.)But as one might expect in a country built by immigrants, thisRead More


Monthly Publication Sets Sights on Young Readers

By Rukhl Schaechter

most people agree that the future of yiddish depends on cultivating a new generation of young people who speak and read the language.In response to the glaring shortage of contemporary reading material for today’s students of Yiddish, the Forverts has begun publishing a monthly news supplement called Vayter (a synonym for “Forward”), writtenRead More





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  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
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