By Jeffrey Shandler
Adventures in Yiddishland examines the transformation of Yiddish within the six a long time because the Holocaust, tracing its shift from the language of way of life for thousands of Jews to what the writer phrases a postvernacular language of numerous and increasing symbolic price. With an intensive command of recent Yiddish tradition in addition to its centuries-old heritage, Jeffrey Shandler investigates the awesome range of latest encounters with the language. His research traverses the wide spectrum of people that interact with Yiddish--from Hasidim to avant-garde performers, Jews in addition to non-Jews, fluent audio system in addition to those that understand very little Yiddish--in groups around the Americas, in Europe, Israel, and different outposts of "Yiddishland."
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Additional info for Adventures in Yiddishland: Postvernacular Language and Culture (S. Mark Taper Foundation Imprint in Jewish Studies)
42 Thesignalchangesof lifeinpostwarAmerica—large-scaleembourgeoisement,internal migration from cities to suburbs, expanded access to higher education—had a profound impact on the nation’s Jews. 43 The postwar years also witnessed a widespread desire on the part of American Jews to be seen, by other Americans as well as by themselves, as well integrated into the national cultural mainstream. For many American Jews during the early postwar years, Yiddish was an embarrassing vestige of immigrant difference.
18 Zhitlowski roots his vision of Yiddishland in a personal remembrance of a speciﬁc historical and geographical locus, which serves as a model for how Yiddish might function, in later times and other places, as the basis of an autonomous Jewish cultural community with the attributes, if not the actuality, of nationhood. This 36 IMAGINING YIDDISHLAND exercise in conjuring Yiddishland exempliﬁes Benedict Anderson’s notion of “imagined communities” as fundamental to the nature of nationalism. Anderson is quick to point out that the role played by the imagination here ought not to be disparaged as falsehood but, rather, is inherent in the process: “All communities larger than primordial villages of face-to-face contact (and perhaps even these) are imagined.
The question of language was vital to this revolution, linking its national and personal dimensions; the choice of proper language(s) for the modern Jew—with possibilities that included Hebrew, Yiddish, German, Russian, Polish, Hungarian, English, and Esperanto, among others (and combinations thereof )—was one of the most widely and passionately debated issues of the period. From the late 1800s until the end of World War II the discourse about Yiddish ranged widely, from ardent advocacy to equally passionate repudiation.
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