European Jewish Congress
Former Warsaw ghetto site comes to life as Yiddish summer institute
Former Warsaw ghetto site comes to life as Yiddish summer institute

When Golda Tencer, the director of the Shalom Foundation and the Jewish Theatre in Warsaw, lit the Sabbath candles last Friday, she was accompanied by dozens of people from various countries. Though their mother tongues differed, the voices at the table were united by a common language: Yiddish.

The assembled crowd of about 60 had come to this capital city for three weeks in July to study Yiddish, learn its grammar, sing songs and discover something about Jewish-Polish history.

The International Seminar in Yiddish Language and Culture, which Tencer founded, is now in its 15th year. Classes are held in Muranów, a district that was once heavily Jewish and where the Warsaw Ghetto was established. It was here, during the Second World War, that Emanuel Ringelblum hid his archive that contained thousands of Yiddish documents about the extermination of Jews. And it is here that the seminar seeks to build upon the rich legacy of the Yiddish-speaking world.

“The nation died, but culture and Jewish literature did not perish,” said Tencer, who grew up in Lodz. “Our duty is to pass this thread of our Jewishness.”

In the mornings, students learn Yiddish. In the afternoon they listen to lectures and take walks.

“The extra programme, the walking tours, is very important,” Krynicka said. “We can realize how much history can destroy and how much literature can save.”

 Click here to read the full article in Jerusalem Post

Monday, July 17, 2017
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