יום שלישי י"ב בסיון תשפ"ד 18/06/2024
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  • The Mission Continues

    As in the past so it remains today - we were and still are under the selfsame commitment to adhere to the directions of the Gedolei Yisrael, who stand guard against breaches of purity threatening our camp. When we were required to ask – we asked. When we were instructed to depart – we left. The moment we are summoned back to raise the flag, every other consideration is pushed to the side and we answer: We are ready!

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בראי היום

  • Harav Yisrael Friedman zy”a, the Rebbe of Husyatin

    מוטי, ויקיפדיה העברית

    The ancestral chain of Harav Yisrael Friedman, the founder of the Husyatin chassidic court, originates with the holy Baal Shem Tov. The Husyatin chassidus has its roots in Galicia and eventually came to Tel Aviv, during the turbulent years between the two World Wars.

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  • Maccabi'im Gravesite

    In honour of Chanukah, we will discuss a fascinating, ongoing investigation attempting to establish the place of burial of Mattisyahu Kohen Gadol and his family.

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In News

How Do You Say "E-Mail" in Yiddish?

A conference at the Hebrew University to mark a "Century of Yiddish". What does "blitzpost" mean? Look at the headline to find the answer...

Avi Moshe 02/12/2009 14:04
A large number of our "Etrog" readers speak Yiddish fluently. Some understand the language very well, and for many people in the world, Yiddish is the only language they know. Among researchers and linguist, Yiddish is viewed as a disappearing language, at least among the secular Jewish population.

Apparantly, they are mistaken.

An international conference on Yiddish will take place this week at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, which just goes to show that not only is Yiddish not on the verge of extinction, but it is even developing and spreading to new communities across the globe.

Professor Yechiel Szeintuch, Head of the Department of Yiddish at the Hebrew University, and one of the organizers of the conference, said, "Until not too long ago, Yiddish was viewed as a language of jokes. But in the last decade, we are witnessing a renewal of the Yiddish language and culture among young and old secular Jews, who are expressing an interest in learning the language."

Nearly 40 lecturers from Israel and the world will participate in the conference, and a thus far, 550 people have said they will be attending the conference.

Professor Szeintuch points out that Yiddish had its hey-day 100 years ago. "Between the two World Wars, 1700 Yiddish newspapers were published in Poland alone, in 90 different towns and villages. The Holocaust struck a damaging blow to Yiddish, when millions of Yiddish speakers were murdered. But the Yiddish language did not die with them," claims Szeintuch. Recent research has found that today there are between 2 and 3 million Yiddish speakers in the world.

Linguists say that the languages which will disappear in the coming years are those which are spoken by less than one thousand people. Therefore, there is little chance that Yiddish will become extinct in the coming 100 years.

Professor Eli Lederhendler, Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Contemporary Jewry at Hebrew University, who also helped organize the conferences, said, "The fate of the language is connected to the fate of the nation. One of the ways to study a language is to study the demographic and cultural changes that the people who speak that language have experienced. The purpose of this conference is to explore those factors with relation to Yiddish and the Jewish people."

According to researchers at the Hebrew University, the internet plays a major role in spreading the Yiddish language and culture throughout the world. Language buffs and scholars from all across the globe can find on the internet a whole community of people like them who love Yiddish and want to study it further. When you type the word "Yiddish" in an internet search, you will receive between 10 and 13 million results.

However, researchers are convinced that in the last 60 years, the Yiddish language has undergone numerous changes, especially in terms of being influenced by spoken Hebrew, which is a relatively new language in the world. Yiddish has also adapted itself to technological advances in the world, and an ongoing effort is being made to create new words and expressions. For example: internet – "internetz", internet site – "veb art", e-mail – "blitzpost", and laptop – "shleftop".