Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Yiddish: Some Thoughts

Originally posted on April 22, 2016

I’m am a non-religious Jew. There are millions of us. Many are fairly assimila-ted. More are  My own spirituality has ranged in my life from nominal and dutiful student to informed agnosticism to atheism to mysticism to process philosophy to quasi-Spinozan confabulation. In spite of and informed by all these, I harbor some fascination with aspects of my roots, including the very thick cultural overlay and its heritage.

One aspect of this is the history of Yiddish as a dialect, which was known and spoken by my parents, and largely obscure to me. I have learned some about it, though I cannot speak it fluently, or even haltingly. Rather, I know a few phrases. But I have read a number of books either about Yiddish as a language or about the culture. For example, recently I found a copy of the Joys of Yinglish by Leo Rosten, and also another book on Yiddish titled “Born to Kvetch.” by Michael Wex. Because my parents—mainly my father—had an accent, I’ve found this dimension of language—an accent—fascinating, and humorous stories with a Jewish accent that was demonstrated in old books by Milt Gross funny. But I don’t assume that my grandkids will get the humor.

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