The word means “Jewish character or quality” or “Jewish way of life.”
Pete Seeger is revered for popularizing such songs as ‘This Land Is Your Land.’ Somewhat less celebrated is the role that Yiddishkeit played in the progressive icon’s career.
Claude Lanzmann, director of the film “Shoah,” has been busy of late. In February, his documentary, “Karski Report,” about how a Polish resistance fighter tried to warn American officials of the Holocaust as it was happening, was released on DVD. Also in February, Lanzmann, who will turn 87 on November 27, encountered some resistance on his own, when he gave a female security guard at the Tel Aviv airport what he called “one accolade around her shoulders – in English, a hug.” This resulted in Lanzmann’s being arrested and finger-printed for alleged sexual harassment.
An anthology, “Isaac Rosenberg: 21st-Century Oxford Authors,” reminds readers of a major modern writer who died in the trenches during World War I. Born in Bristol to Yiddish-speaking Lithuanian Jewish emigrants, Rosenberg (1890-1918) moved with his family to London’s East End, where he continued to face economic hardship.
Just because people don’t know a language doesn’t mean they won’t use it in all kinds of crazy ways. Cartoonists use Yiddish icons without understanding them.
The city of Boston was one of the pivotal players in early American history. A popular rhyme declared: “Here’s to the city of Boston, the land of the bean and the cod, where the Lowells speak only with Cabots and the Cabots speak only with God.”