Friday, July 20, 2012

What Grows on a Yiddish Farm? Yiddish Speakers, of Course


Did you ever wonder what it would be like to go back to nature and work on a farm for the summer while speaking only Yiddish? A group of ten eager participants are doing just that this summer in a farming community located in Goshen, New York, just an hour north of New York City.

Founded by Yisroel Bass and Naftali Ejdelman and funded by grants from Jewish foundations, the Yiddish Farm was established as a venue for Yiddish language immersion and Yiddish programs, ranging in length from a weekend to three months. It functions as a real organic farm, raising vegetables for sale in nearby towns.

In 1939, over 75% of Jews spoke Yiddish as their primary language. There were over 150 daily newspapers worldwide, and at least 12 Yiddish theaters in New York alone. Tragically, the language has been passed down to only a fraction of today’s youth, though more than 50% of American Jews descend from Yiddish-speakers.

In recent years there has been a Yiddish revival, with the language now being taught in over 50 universities throughout the world. The Klezmer revival has popularized Jewish folk music across continents, and over 10,000 Yiddish books are now available on the internet free of charge. 

Workers on the farm and attendees at its programs are now getting the opportunity to speak Yiddish outside of the classroom and restore it to a living language.

Get a close-up view of how these goals are being met in this video of life on the Yiddish Farm. Enjoy!

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)