Schmooze with the Yiddish Club
Written by Bwog Staff
Diana Clarke reports! Bobbe Bwog kvells!
The second floor of Columbia/Barnard Hillel is more used to the sounds of Hebrew, but on Sunday night a collection of Yiddish speakers gathered at Café Nana for the first ever Columbia/Barnard Yiddish Club’s Tish. (Tish literally means “table,” but think “chat,” or “schmooze” if you’ ve ever seen a Woody Allen movie.) Over Diet Coke, milk, bananas, Oreos, and zucchini bread straight from Israel, the Yiddishists talked school, the decline of modern education, farming, megachurches, Google, and the uselessness of homework. What does this have to do with Yiddish? Nothing, and that’ s exactly the point. Yiddishism is about taking Yiddish out of the classroom, out of dusty books, and making it something useful and alive.
Maddie Provo, BC ’12 and founder of the Yiddish Club, spent this summer interning at the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA, where she (and—full disclosure—this Bwogger) spent all day surrounded by people who loved and spoke Yiddish, and she realized how much she missed it when she got back to school. She got in touch with Naftali Ejdelman, a major Yiddish organizer in the city, and the two of them pulled connections to get about a dozen diverse people in the same room at the same time, all speaking Yiddish.
Murmured “Sholem-aleikhem”’s greeted everyone who scooted up to the table, from Columbia/Barnard/JTS students to a couple Orthodox men from Williamsburg. Ejdelman talked about the Yiddish farm he and a few other people are looking to found upstate, a place where Yiddish can be put into practice. “We’ ll teach classes in Yiddish, but not Yiddish classes. Maybe classes about the earth!” said Ejdelman (in Yiddish). He brought along a few of his friends who together represent Yugntruf, a collective of young Yiddish-speakers looking to keep the language creative and alive and spoken. In fact, Yugntruf is in charge of Yidish Tog (Yiddish Day), a festival of Yiddish language and culture happening at the Stanton Street Shul on Sunday, November 7, and the Yiddish Tish is planning a group outing!
If you RSVP to their Facebook event or email [email protected] by October 27, you can get yourself a free ticket for the day. The Yiddish Tish meets every Sunday night at 9 in Café Nana on the second floor of Hillel, and Yiddish speakers of all levels are welcome. Provo is looking to expand the club and come up with new programs, so if you’ re interested get in touch!
Image via Wikimedia Commons