Yid­dishkeit: Jew­ish Ver­nac­u­lar and the New Land

Har­vey Pekar & Paul Buh­le, eds.
  • Review
By – November 18, 2011
More than a lit­tle nosh, this comics anthol­o­gy is a ver­i­ta­ble feast for fans of Yid­dish lan­guage and cul­ture. If edi­tors Har­vey Pekar (z”l) and Paul Buh­le had only includ­ed the his­to­ry and emer­gence of Yid­dish cul­ture, dayenu! If they had only intro­duced read­ers to the Yid­dish press and poets, dayenu! If they had only includ­ed a snip­pet of dra­ma, and not a full-length play, dayenu! Not to make a tzimmes, but this book fea­tures orig­i­nal sto­ries by acclaimed writ­ers and artists, such as Pekar, Bar­ry Deutsch, Peter Kuper, Allen Lewis Rick­man, Spain Rodriguez, and Sharon Rudahl. The graph­ic nov­el medi­um is the per­fect venue to show­case the themes of assim­i­la­tion, cul­ture, and the revival of the Yid­dish lan­guage. As defined in the intro­duc­tion, the word Yid­dishkeit means Jew­ish sen­si­bil­i­ty,” but as the authors in this vol­ume so mas­ter­ful­ly show us, Yid­dishkeit must be felt in order to be under­stood. There is no bet­ter way to accom­plish this task than to become immersed in the rhythms of the lan­guage. Go ahead: indulge in this rich treat. Your bubbeh would be proud.
Wendy Was­man is the librar­i­an & archivist at the Cleve­land Muse­um of Nat­ur­al His­to­ry in Cleve­land, Ohio.

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