Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular and the New Land

Abrams Comicarts  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.

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