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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  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
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