Yiddish and the Left
Papers of the Third Mendel Friedman International Conference on Yiddish
Edited by Gennady Estraikh and Mikhail Krutikov
Law and society
National and cultural identity
Studies In Yiddish 3
Legenda: Oxford, 2001
For over a century Yiddish served as a major vehicle for expressing left-wing ideas and sensitivities. A language without country, an ‘ugly jargon’ despised by the assimilationist Jewish bourgeoisie and nationalist Zionists alike, it was embraced as a genuine folk idiom by Jewish adherents of socialism and communism worldwide. On the eve of the Holocaust, Yiddish was the primary language of education, culture and propaganda for millions of people on five continents. The present volume examines the rich diversity of relationships between Yiddish and the Left, from the attitude of Yiddish writers to apartheid in South Africa to the vicissitudes of the Yiddish communist press in the Soviet Union and the USA.
The editors of the volume, Gennady Estraikh and Mikhail Krutikov, had first-hand experience of "Yiddish and the Left" as staff journalists of the Soviet Yiddish magazine Sovetish Heymland. They now teach Yiddish language and literature at University of London School of Oriental and African Studies and are also the editors, for Legenda, of the two previous Mendel Friedman Conference proceedings: Yiddish in the Contemporary World (1999) and The Shtetl: Image and Reality (2000).