Page 13 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 34

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STEINBACH / INTRODUCTION
3
daytime sessions at Columbia University, papers were read on
“Language and Linguistics," “Folklore and Ethnography,” and
“Yiddish Literature.” At the YIVO Institute sessions, papers were
read on “Western Yiddish Cultural History,” and “Poetry and
the Poet, with A. Sutzkever.” Helping to support the colloquium
were the Department of Yiddish at the Hebrew University in
Jerusalem, the Jewish Studies Program at McGill University,
Montreal, and the Culture Department of the World Jewish
Congress, Jerusalem.
The broad spectrum of the Yiddish revival is further con­
firmed by the forthcoming World Conference in Israel for Yid­
dish and Yiddish Culture, to be held in Jerusalem from August
23 to August 26, 1976. Delegations will be present from Jewish
communities throughout the world: United States, Canada,
France, Argentina, South Africa, Australia, Mexico, Belgium,
Great Britain, among others. Our JWB Jewish Book Council
will send a delegation to participate in the World Conference.
The proliferation of college campuses that provide courses in
Yiddish studies seems to be gaining momentum. According to
Dr. Joseph C. Landis—Chairman of Yiddish Program and of
Jewish Studies Program at Queens College of the City University
of New York—that university alone “enrolls close to 400 students
a semester in Yiddish language and literature courses.” He em­
phasized the spontaneity of the Yiddish revival: “It simply
welled up from the student body. There it was, like the unin­
vited poor relation in the song '
nit kayn gebetene, aleyn geku-
men.’”
It appears as though a submerged distillation of nostalgia is
plucked out of the past and evokes in the Jewish students a need
to identify with Yiddish in order to galvanize their self-aware­
ness and their self-acceptance as Jews by linking themselves with
a continuum of generations they never knew. (Perhaps they are
making an unconscious commitment to
Dos Pintele Yid.)
This
same nostalgia is probably responsible for the appearance of two
new books relating to Yiddish songs: an anthology of 90 Yiddish
folksongs entitled
Mir Trogn A Gesang,
edited by Eleanor G.
Mlotek; and
Great Songs of the Yiddish Theater,
selected by Nor­
man H. Warembud, with a Foreword by Molly Picon. There we
find such nostalgic songs as
“A Brivele der Mamen,”
and
"Vos
iz gevorn fun mayn shtetele.”