My Dear Friend, Yiddish
By Philip “Fishl“ Kutner
Someone said, “Yiddish is the language and culture of the Ashkenazi Jews.” That’s probably correct, but to me, it sounds so frigidly cold and extremely aloof.
When I think of her, she is both Mama of beloved memory and a vibrant charming lass. Yiddish is my main source of dear friends. She continues to introduce me to folks who lead lives filled with warmth and caring.
Gone are all of my high school friends, most of my college buddies and those from back East. Our ever-increasing circle of friends is from my blind group and those who share my interest in Yiddish, my own Miss World.
Yiddish speak to me, sing to me, recite poetry to me and in return for all of this love and caring I give you my undivided attention—much of the time.
Sure there are the intricacies of gender, case, number and tenses. Sure there are the spelling variations, the pronunciation variants and the Hebrew words which are a challenge.
None of the above can dissuade me from loving
you. I am too old just to study you, and just to be
a perfectionist. As a beautiful woman, I want to watch and admire you. I want to look at your beautiful face, listen to your melodic music.
Hear your wisdom and your humor.
Yiddish, come share yourself with my many dear friends—my sisters and brothers who love you as
I do. Even Israel who had shunned you is now looking at you differently. There are now classes, theater, conferences and publications extolling your virtues at Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Bar Ilan University.
Your patriarchs, Sholom Aleichem, Peretz and Mendele must be smiling down at you as also are
the many talented matriarchs who are just now beginning to get their much-deserved honor for
their efforts in beautifying you.
So dear friends, readers of Der Bay, listen to Yiddish, my love, she wants and needs to be enjoyed and adored. She does not want to be a
cold statue on a pedestal or bedecked with a
gown and jewels. Come with me and look at her as I look and admire her, caress her as she entwines you in her sweeping arms—yes, I am mesmerized, so too can you be.