Modern Yiddish Culture: The Story of the Yiddish Language by Emanuel Goldsmith

By Emanuel Goldsmith

The outstanding upward push of Yiddish language and tradition is likely one of the best and colourful sagas of contemporary Jewish heritage. during this major e-book, Dr. Goldsmith relates the expansion of Yiddish to the explosion of Jewish literature, the surge of Zionism, and the recognition of Socialism that impacted upon the Jews of Europe, the US, and Israel. together with a research of the key personalities linked to the 1st Yiddish Language convention (1908,) this is often the 1st finished paintings to discover a move that affected the lives of thousands of Jews ahead of the Holocaust and maintains to persuade Jewish lifestyles during the world.

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25 Despite such attitudes, a few German maskilim did contribute to the development of Yiddish literature. Isaac Eichel and Aaron Wolfson, for example, wrote Yiddish dramas. Eichel (1756-1804), a distinguished biblical scholar who edited the Haskalah journal Hameasef, turned to Yiddish out of despair at the sight of young German Jews at the baptismal font and the sacred Hebrew tongue abandoned. His satire Reb Henokh could not be written either in Hebrew, which people no longer understood, or in German, which the enemies of the Jews might read.

His 12. See Elye Bokher, Poetishe Shafungen in Yidish, vol. 1, ed. J. A. , ed. M. Gaster (Philadelphia, 1934). 13. I. Zinberg, Di Geshikhte fun der Literatur bay Yidn (Buenos Aires, 1967), 6:95. 14 The seventeenth-century mystic, Rabbi Yekhiel Mikhl Epstein, author of liturgical and moralistic works, has been described as an early champion of Yiddish. He encouraged the study of Yiddish pietistic tracts and also advocated praying in the language. He recognized that Yiddish could render an important service in the development of piety and ethical conduct.

Who wanted to play such a role?... 35 By the 1850s Yiddish books of a secular character began to be printed in large quantities. The inexpensive pamphlets containing simple stories by Isaac Meyer Dik (1814-1893) of Vilna and other writers helped create a mass audience for secular Yiddish literature. Dik, the most popular Yiddish writer of the time, took an attitude toward Yiddish that was typical of the East European maskilim. The old German proverb says that a man without a language is not a man.

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