קעגן שריבן ייִדיש מיט גױיִש אותיות

פֿון װאַרנער באס

During his lifetime Y.L. Peretz explained that great works of Yiddish literature should be transliterated in Latin letters so as more people would have an easier time learning and appreciating the language.
His idea was a noble one, however extremely misguided and anti-Yiddish. Among nations who have created written language, alphabets have served an integral part of a languages character, not to mention a source of pride. Even if it makes learning the language more of a reality for more peoples, the process of removing one alphabet in favour of a dominant one does more to rob the Yiddish language of it’s spirit than promote that very spirit.
Surely it was not Peretz’s intention to do anything that would harm the Yiddish language, but it is not hard to see that transliteration as an end functions only as a mercenary for the forces of assimilation. One has only to look at its function in this country to understand its backwards role.
Transliterated Yiddish is so widespread in the United States, that many people, both Jewish and non-Jewish, are completely unaware that Yiddish uses the Hebrew alphabet, or was ever a written language in the first place. Transliterated Yiddish enriches the English language, while robbing ours.
In its most widespread form, transliterated Yiddish is the written language of the illiterate semi-assimilated Jewry who grew up with the oral tradition, but not with the accompanying education necessary for literacy. Being literate in English, the modified Hebrew alphabet was replaced with the Latin one when the rare occasion for written Yiddish was called for among the semi-assimilated Jews.
The trend of replacing the Hebrew alphabet with the Latin one is undeniably a sign of weakness. It is an example of bowing down to a dominant culture. Yiddish arose in Germany, but even 1000 years ago it was not written in Latin letters. In fact, where ever a Jewish language has arose in the Diaspora, they have never embraced the alphabet of the non-Jewish population. This goes not only for Yiddish, but Ladino and Judeo-Arabic as well. The Hebrew alphabet is a common denominator for all the world’s Jewry; functioning as the soul of our written communication.
Despite the bankruptcy of transliterary ideals, it does have its uses in the Diaspora. As the current of assimilation continues to sweep our youth away, more and more Jews will grow up with a minimum or non-existent knowledge of our alphabet. For re-education to occur, it will then be necessary to utilize transliteration as a tool to learn the Hebrew alphabet and the intricacies of Yiddish pronunciation. As a means to an end, transliteration proves itself to be a helpful tool in reclaiming our identity. However, as a end in itself, transliteration is just as unacceptable as illiteracy.
With the rise of the internet, there has come new hope for the sharing of Yiddish ideas. However, manipulating Hebrew letters on a machine outfitted with an English keyboard can be difficult and frustrating. Such a harsh set of circumstances has led to an exodus of literate Yiddish writers running to embrace the Latin alphabet for the sake of convenience. But convenience too is a soldier for assimilation. If the dominant culture cannot oust the “foreign” cultures completely, it will still work its hardest to do as much damage as possible.
Despite technological difficulties, the Jewish spirit is one that refuses to die. The magnificent Refoyl Finkl has designed an online program that allows those working on non-Jewish machines to transform the cursed transliteration that we have been damned to make due with, back to the glorious Hebrew letters that givex Yiddish so much of it’s soul. It is accessible at http://www.cs.uky.edu/~raphael/yiddish/makeyiddish.html
For the literate, there is now no excuse to defame our great language on the internet by expressing it in the wretched alphabet of assimilation. Those who are too apathetic to embrace the Hebrew alphabet are an affront to the status of our people.
If a language is the soul of a people, it follows that an alphabet is the soul of a language. In order for the rebuilding of our people to be complete, we cannot return to a soulless language. Our language, like our people, must have a soul if we are to “again become a normal respectable people, worthy of being a member of equal standing in the family of nations constituting humanity!”

!!! ראַקים און גאָסטפֿײס קאָנצערט


צײלן די מינוטן צו די טערקיש אָנפֿאַל

Turkish Tanks being deployed to the Iraqi border.

The bones of Armenians killed in the Genocide.

איז עס מערנישט מיר, אָדער איז דער װאָך אײן פֿון דעם װאָכן
? װוּ דאָכט זיך אַז די װעלט איז גײן צעפֿאַלן

I'm really fed up with the Turkish government. First, their almost century long denial of the Armenian genocide, and now all this bullshit with Iraq. In case your out of the loop, their Parliament just approved an invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan to fight PKK rebels, potentially bringing chaos and instability to the relatively (only) peaceful part of Iraq. From my perspective I'm not even sure if their pulling this shit because the PKK is a threat to their security, or their just "punishing" the House Committee on Foreign Affairs for acknowledging the Armenian Genocide. My fear is that the Turkish government is backwards and immature enough to take the extra step and not just threaten to invade Iraq as "punishment", but actually invade Iraq, potentially bringing Iran and Syria into the mix.

And now this. Turkey's Foreign Minister has said in an interview, "the perception in Turkey right now is that the Jewish people, or the Jewish organizations let's say, and the Armenian diaspora, the Armenian lobbies, are now hand-in-hand trying to defame Turkey." In a separate interview he is reported saying, "we would not be able to keep the Jews out of this business'' if the resolution is adopted. "

(As a member of the Jewish people, I can confidently say that in supporting resolution 106, I am in fact doing the opposite of defaming Turkey. Should the resolution become law, it would put extreme pressure on the Turkish government/state mindset to quit being jerkoffs and accept it's country's dark history. Such an official realization would raise Turkey's international reputation and in turn make it a much more respectable nation than it it currently is. In the same breath, the United States' government is doing itself no favour by not officially recognizing the genocide it committed upon the native peoples of this land. Nor by not officially apologizing for its practice of chattel slavery. The acceptance of such facts does not defame one's country, but in fact elevates it by proving it to be mature.)

What sucks is that the threat to Jewish security both in Turkey and elsewhere has caused a splintering of moral integrity among Jews. While the resolution is complete justified and should pass, the threat to the security of Jews in Turkey, the pending invasion of Iraq, and future relations with Israel is causing many Jewish (and other) groups in the United States to lobby against its passage. (As a side note, the chance of the bill passing the full House is getting shittier with every passing day). The question I pose to those Jews working against resolution 106 is, why? As a victim of genocide, our people should not cease in the fight for the end/recognition of all genocides.

Oh, but Turkey is Israel's ally. Hey, guess what, if the Turkish government wants to be a bunch of backwards fools, Israel doesn't need 'em. Think about it, almost every country in the world has something against Israel, what's one more. If Turkey wants to sever relations with Israel over something as petty as it's own inability to affirm historical fact, then fuck 'em. Go join every other backwards Muslim state.

As for the pending invasion of Iraq, go head Turkey. The war in Iraq is obviously going so well for the United States that Turkey can be confident an invasion will be quick and easy. They're only Kurdish separatists, I heard they love to be occupied.

Finally, regarding the security of Turkey's 23,000 Jews: if conditions are going to get bad there because Jews have the terrible reputation of fighting for social justice, then its time that Jews prepare to fight for social justice. If they aren't already, Jews in Turkey should organize armed self-defence groups to protect their rights as Turkish citizens and as Jews. If extremists/nationalists are going to be genocide denying babies and kill Jews in Turkey over a resolution that they had no control over, then Jews have no other choice defend themselves and their morals. It is truly deplorable that Turkish society would put its Jewish citizens in a position where they have to apologize for the just actions of 27 members of the United States Congress (none of whom are Jewish Turkish Citizens). It is equally deplorable, however, that Jewish citizens of Turkey (or any Jew) would fold to such pressure and speak out against the resolution and thus, historical fact. It is my opinion that such action is tantamount to moral treason. (Maybe I'm going out on a limb, but from what i have learned of the Armenian Genocide, it seems all to similar to the event that put Jews in places like Turkey in the first place...the 1492 expulsion of Jews from Spain...).

This is ridiculous!

One last thing:

! אַ בראָך אױף די טערקיש רעגירונג


אָרטאָדאָקסיש אַנאַרכיסט

NY Post’s Unabashed Unamericanism Masquerading as Patriotism

סימאָן דובנאָװ (Семен Маркович Дубнов) 2

I finished reading Simon Dubnow's essay "The History of The Jewish People", and I must say it was really good. Ill definately be writing on him for the next Jewish Mirror. Below are some excerpts to try to encourage you to download the essay @ Project Gutenberg.

"It follows that the Jewish national idea and the national feeling
connected with it have their origin primarily in the historical
consciousness, in a certain complex of ideas and psychic
predispositions. These ideas and predispositions, the deposit left by
the aggregate of historical impressions, are of necessity the common
property of the whole nation, and they can be developed and quickened
to a considerable degree by a renewal of the impressions through the
study of history. Upon the knowledge of history, then, depends thestrength of the national consciousness."

national _idea_, and the national _feeling_," says
Mr. Dubnow, "must be kept strictly apart. Unfortunately the
difference between them is usually obliterated. National
feeling is spontaneous. To a greater or less degree it is
inborn in all the members of the nation as a feeling of
kinship. It has its flood-tide and its ebbtide in
correspondence to external conditions, either forcing the
nation to defend its nationality, or relieving it of the
necessity for self-defense. As this feeling is not merely a
blind impulse, but a complicated psychic phenomenon, it can be
subjected to a psychologic analysis. From the given historical
facts or the ideas that have become the common treasure of a
nation, thinking men, living life consciously, can, in one way
or another, derive the origin, development, and vital force of
its national feeling. The results of such an analysis,
arranged in some sort of system, form the content of the
national idea. The task of the national idea it is to clarify
the national feeling, and give it logical sanction for the
benefit of those who cannot rest satisfied with an unconscious

"In this case, the future task of Jewish history will prove as sublime as
was the mission of the Jewish people in the past. The latter consisted
in the spread of the dogma of the unity of creation; the former will
contribute indirectly to the realization of the not yet accepted dogma
of the unity of the human race."

"The son of the Ghetto might have worn his badge with
pride, for in truth it was a medal of distinction awarded by the papal
Church to the Jews, for dauntlessness and courage. The awkward, puny
Jew in his way was stronger and braver than a German knight armed
cap-a-pie, for he was penetrated by the faith that "moves mountains."
And when the worst came to the worst, he demonstrated his courage.
When his peaceful home was stormed by the bestialized hordes of
Armleder, or the drunken bands of the Flagellants, or the furious
avengers of the "Black Death," he did not yield, did not purchase life
by disgraceful treason. With invincible courage he put his head under
the executioner's axe, and breathed forth his heroic spirit with theenthusiastic cry: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is One.""

"But at its worst modern civilization has not succeeded in extinguishing the national
spirit in Jewry. The national spirit continues to live in the people,and it is this spirit that quickens the people."

"Jewish history, moreover, arouses in the Jew the desire to work
unceasingly at the task of perfecting himself. To direct his attention
to his glorious past, to the resplendent intellectual feats of his
ancestors, to their masterly skill in thinking and suffering, does not
lull him to sleep, does not awaken a dullard's complacency or hollow
self-conceit. On the contrary, it makes exacting demands upon him."

"Jewish history in its entirety is the pledge of the spiritual union between the Jews and the rest of the nations."


!בלאָג טוּונג טאָג

ניצט דײַן אַוטאָ מערנישט װען דו מוזט. אױב דו קענסט גײן שפּאַצירן,
!גײט שפּאַצירט
(דערטן װעל זײַ נישט אַ װעלט פֿאַר ייִדיש (אָדער אַבי קולטור
!אױב מיר חרובֿ מאַכן עס


פֿרײלעך זײַן

הײַנט איז אַ גוטער טאָג

First things first. The House Committee on Foreign Affairs took up the issue of H.Res. 106, which calls, "...upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide, and for other purposes." (link for the comeplete text of the bill: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/11_10_08_armenia.pdf ). The House has debated the recognition of the ruthless genocide carried out against the Armenian people by the Ottoman Turks many times before, without result. This year is looking better though. In an extremely dramatic congressional committee meeting that I actually cried while watching, the committee voted in favour of the resolution by a vote of 27-21. Instead of dying in committee, the bill will now make its way to the House floor for further debate. 1,500,000 Armenians were killed in the Genocide, however the Turkish government to this day refuses to recognize the genocide as such (and it wasn't even this current democratic state that was responsible for the Genocide, it was the Ottomans. Such backwardness would be comparable to today's modern German government denying that the Nazi government orchestrated a Genocide.) I encourage you to research this story a little on your own, for you'll quickly learn of the ridiculous political maneuvering and threats that have come out of the Turkish government do to the "spectre" of HRES 106 passing the House (Bush will undoubtedly veto the bill if it were to pass the Congress as the man lacks a moral compass.) This issue indeed inspired me this morning to start scripting my first set of rubber ducks for the rubber duck project. On the ducks i included info about the genocide, the resolution, and the phone number of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Following the announcement of the committee's vote, i let out a "tekiah gadola" (i hate transliteration, but i couldnt find the hebrew) from the window of the third floor of my dormitory.

In addition to the aforementioned vote being a reason for today being a good day, i had my first international Yiddish communication (via e-mail) with a dude living in Warsaw. I am really ecstatic about this development, and would much rather spend the rest of today studying Yiddish than doing Anthropology homework, but at least i have a three day weekend!

Also, going down the list of importance, I received my book of Yiddish Proverbs today. I had bought it on ebay a few weeks ago and i am having a good time going through it. I will be posting proverbs sporadically from henceforth.

Finally, I received two t-shirt i designed and bought off of cafepress several weeks ago. One is red and features an army of cartoon Zhitlovskys, with one highlighted in red. The other is yellow (replacing my unfortunately ink stained "I'm dead" Reagan t-shirt) featuring the טשײַניק האַקער pictured at the top of this blog.



סימאָן דובנאָװ (Семен Маркович Дубнов)

"At the very moment when the strength and fertility of the Jewish mind reached the culminating point, occurred a political revolution--the period of homeless wandering began. It seemed as though, before scattering the Jewish people to all ends of the earth, the providence of history desired to teach it a final lesson, to take with it on its way. It seemed to say: "Now you may go forth. Your character has been sufficiently tempered; you can bear the bitterest of hardships. You are equipped with an inexhaustible store of energy, and you can live for centuries, yea, for thousands of years, under conditions that would prove the bane of other nations in less than a single century. State, territory, army, the external attributes of national power, are for you superfluous luxury. Go out into the world to prove that a people can continue to live without these attributes, solely and alone through strength of spirit welding its widely scattered particles into one firm organism!"- And the Jewish people went forth and proved it."
-Simon Dubnow





אין בורמאַ װױנען צװאַנציק ייִדן
דער גלות איז זײער צעװאָרפֿענע
באַפֿרײַ די בורמיש פֿעלקער, און אַלע מענטשן




I had a slight breakdown prior to Rosh Hashanah this year. I found that i really dont know shit about my religion, and this was quite frustrating. During this period i considered two things: cast off religion (to save myself from hypocrisy) and continue on a strict Yiddishist program, or associated myself with an orthodox sect and figure shit out. Then i did a lot of thinking, and reading. I read Torah, and found that there wasnt much at all about Rosh HaShanah in there. This made me frustrated when I realized that much of what I consider "Jewish" (religion) revolves around a group of rabbis that claim that there was an Oral Law handed down along side the Torah at Mount Sinai (Although some Jewish groups reject this notion, but they arent Ashkenazi). Many Jewish practices rely heavily on the existence of the Oral Law (which was subsequently written down and put in books like the Talmud). Fortunately or unfortunately for Jews, the Oral Law is subject to much interpretation (bring in the rabbis). This revelation of sorts brought to me a much more open view of the "lesser" schools of Judaism (Reform in particular). So much of being a religious Jew is left up to interpretation that its almost impossible to point to the law and say "this is final".

I had an interesting conversation with my rabbi-in-training from back home during this ordeal of mine. He related to me a story about his family. He told me thus: his mother's side of the family was Talmudists, his father's side Yiddishists. He said how his father's side all married out of the faith (thus the nation by extension), and left behind even their Yiddishism. By contrast his mother's side remained Jewish. He basically told me, that even if i dont like it, Yiddishism was not a strong enough phenomenon to hold a people together, whereas the faith functioned as a backbone to the Jewish identity (religious or otherwise).

This put me at quite a loss. He appeared to be right; when chilling in a Jewish neighborhood today one doesnt hear Yiddish spoken, all the Yiddishists ended up marrying out, being killed in the Holocaust, becoming Zionists, or just dying in general... without enough of a legacy to keep it going.

It appeared to me that the next step for myself was to absorb a religious unit into my secular Yiddishist beleifs. The boost of religion would serve a preservative function to Yiddishism, keeping it fresh and edible from generation to generation.

I got through Rosh HaShanah okay, celebrating the new year in a Reform (my unlces) synagogue for the first time, then spending the second day in the Conservative synagogue by my college.

The next Saturday was Yom Kippur, and following my recent trend of not blindly doing religious stuff anymore, i read some more Talmud. I resolved not to wear shoes (as is instructed in the Talmud), and i followed all the other laws as set forth in the Talmud. It went pretty well.

Then the next day came...

Part of my daily routine involves shaving in the morning. Shaving smooth/with a razor is prohibited rather clearly in the Torah. Absolved of all my sins, I was faced with a dilemma, my first unnecessary violation of the Law. While i do plan on growing a beard eventually, i wasnt planing on starting now. I shaved, but i felt guilty. Then Shabbos came that next Friday night. I wasnt planning on attending services, but then i received a text message from a friend who, along with two others, needed a ride to synagogue. I had no reason to not drive them, so i did, but i didnt go to synagogue, and once again, i felt crappy. i felt crappy that Saturday too. However, observing the sabbath is a big deal, that, while possible, would be a huge commitment. On top of that there are 3 books of Talmud on the laws regarding the Sabbath, and i wasnt going to start doing something if i couldnt do it right...But i felt guilty none-the-less. Such guilt stemmed from feeling like a i wasnt being the best Jew i could be. Im not yet fluent in Yiddish and i dont know that much about my religion...

After a conversation with my sister, she helped me see that i was putting a lot of pressure on myself. She appluaded my ability to be constantly learning and searching, but she said i shouldnt make myself crazy. Thinking about this now, it really fits into my permenant r/evolution ideal of never settling. Never settling gets you respect i suppose, but it sure is emotionally exhausting, especially when its your identity that your not settling upon.

So what now...I'm not 100% sure, all i know is that im going to keep learning Yiddish, keep finding out stuff about my religion and culture, keep kosher, and keep growing my sidelocks (for freshness' sake)...

"דאָס לעבן פֿון אַ מענטש איז װי אַ טױטן טאַנץ"
(The life of a man is like a dance of the dead)