Czernowitz at 100: The First Yiddish Language Conference in by Joshua Fogel

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By Joshua Fogel

Czernowitz at a hundred represents a set that assesses the achievements and destiny of these who participated within the 1908 Yiddish Language convention that used to be held in Czernowitz, referred to now as Chernivtsi in Ukraine. that includes contributions from a brand new iteration of students re-examining jap eu Jewish lifestyles, every one contributor examines the successes and screw ups of the Yiddishist flow.

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Additional info for Czernowitz at 100: The First Yiddish Language Conference in Historical Perspective

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26 Soon after this meeting, a circular was distributed in Yiddish newspapers throughout Europe and the United States announcing the convening of a “conference for the sake of the Yiddish language” in Czernowitz, Bukovina. The date was not specified, but the conference was to take place in the late summer or early autumn of 1908. The authors of the circular noted enthusiastically the great leaps in Yiddish literature and cultural consciousness in recent years, the mass dissemination of Yiddish newspapers and journals, the profusion of Yiddish popular and high culture, and the explosion of interest in the Yiddish theater.

In one photo modern mass politics with all its tumult and dynamism; in the other, classic earnestness and gravity. To understand the change reflected in these two images, it is important to know their central figure, Nathan Birnbaum. 2 He was a major participant in not one, but several of the definitive Jewish national projects of fin de siècle Central Europe. Simply reviewing some of the testimony to his place in the cultural and political debates of this period, offered by names far more famous now than his own, provides an illuminating metric of his stature.

Birnbaum was reluctant at first, and indulged his son with a paragraph or two appended to the lengthier replies in German; after a while, though, he began to write whole letters to his son in Yiddish. ” 45 While one would not want to read too much into this simple sentence, it speaks eloquently to the very heart of Birnbaum’s internal intellectual struggle. In New York, as the same ambassador of the East European Volksgeist he had been for the better part of a decade in Central Europe, Birnbaum had spoken in German.

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