Yiddish mavens

Listen to this program all about Yiddish on Rachael Kohn’s radio program ‘The Spirit of Things‘.

What a klutz. Full of chutzpah. A long spiel. These are just three examples of Yiddish words that have trickled into English.

The language, which is on the UNESCO endangered list, was once the vibrant mother-tongue of Eastern European Jews.

This week, they look at the unique contribution of Yiddish speakers here in Australia.

They begin with Margaret Taft and Andrew Markus, who’ve just co-authored A Second Chance: The Making of Yiddish Melbourne.

Melbourne had one of the largest post-war Yiddish speaking communities in the world, with migrants particularly settling in the suburb of Carlton.

We hear about the circumstances of their arrival, their relationship with ‘establishment’ Jews, and the importance of theatre to the community.

The authors also discuss the Bund socialist movement, and the contribution Yiddish writers made in Australia.

On the program they also speak to this year’s Archibald Prize winner, Yvette Coppersmith.