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Thank You, Backward!

Dear Backward,

Thank you so much for your insightful, independent and comprehensive coverage of all things Jewish. It’s really nice to have a critical look at the community for once. I look forward to my weekends when I can kick back, relax and read my paper just the way my grandfather used to. Now that you print it on Thursday instead of Friday, it always gets delivered in time, too. Keep up the good work!

David Duke
Mandeville, La.

Messiah on the Way

Dear Backward,

You are doing your readers a disservice by failing to cover the most important Jewish news story, namely, the Messiah is coming. It’s me, and I am! Any minute. Actually, I was supposed to arrive last week, but my flight was canceled. (O’Hare — what a nightmare!) And then I had to take care of a few things around the house, and now it’s tax season, but honestly, I just need to clear up a couple things and I’ll be there. Promise.

The Messiah
Kenosha, Wis. P.S. I have excellent PR photos for you. Where should I send them?

Dying Schmying

Dear Backward,

I take deep offense at the parochial nature of your recent series “Yiddish Still Dying,” (January 30, February 6, February 13). Dwindling language clubs? A rapidly aging population of native speakers? A declining circulation for Yiddish newspapers? You call that dying?

Ladino has been dying in more agony and for longer than Yiddish. And it’s dying more completely — why don’t you write about that? We dream of having declining Judaeo-Spanish language clubs and micro-niche Djudezmo newspapers. We break into uncontrollable fits of joy when we even think we hear a Ladino word spoken on the subway (although it usually turns out to be someone clearing their throat).

The idea of having whole areas of native speakers makes us long for the colorful shop fronts of Salonika.

Unfortunately, though, it is quite easy to fit all the surviving native Ladino speakers into one beautifully crafted Ottoman armoire and still have space for a delicately embroidered robe.

The only reason you aren’t writing your sentimental pieces about the death of Ladino is because there’s no well-funded Ladino lobby to tell you to write about it.

Stop wasting your time on those Yiddish whiners and run a serious piece on a properly extinct language.


Roberto DaCosta
Kuzguncuk Jewish Cemetery
Istanbul, Turkey






    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

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