29.1.08

ייִדישלאַנד

There will never be a Yiddishland in the traditional nation-state sense of the word. This is the reality that we are faced with in this new century, however it is not a problem. The Jews as a people have survived for many more years without a state than with a state. We have figured out ways to preserve our identity no matter what corner of the globe we find ourselves inhabiting. Within the context of Diaspora Nationalism, Yiddishland takes the form of a open ended concept rather than a physical tract of land. Who needs land when cultural/spiritual connections are strong?

Yiddishland is the collision of space, time, and culture. It is a verb as much as it is a noun. When a group of Jews come together in space speaking Yiddish, they are doing Yiddishland as much as they are existing in Yiddishland.

This collision of time and space is free flowing and natural. When a Yiddishland comes into existence in a place like a deli, it isn't colonizing that deli. It asks for no right to occupation of that table or booth. It simply comes into being. It dissolves in the same way it formed, naturally and free. When those “inhabitants” pick up and disperse, Yiddishland leaves only memories behind. It then waits in the minds, hearts, and souls of its “citizens” for its next incarnation.

Yiddishland is an exceptionally important concept for a number of reasons. Above all, however, is the fact that as Diaspora Jewry, we’re all we got. Most immigrants to the United States have some centralized civilization of their national identity somewhere in the world. With the descendants of the Yiddish nation, this is simply not the case. Our Eastern European homeland has all but liquidated its Yiddish inhabitants. Without a centralized Yiddish settlement left, it is up to us in this new frontier of the Diaspora to pick up the fallen and tattered Yiddish flag.

This free forming confederacy is the only way in which we can continue to exist as a separate national unit, and interact with all of our brothers and sisters outside that unit. The very nature of Yiddishland is contrary to reactionary separatism, which would have us living in fenced off communities, obsessing only about ourselves. Yiddishland has no boundaries and can be dissolved or established as it’s “citizens” see fit.

The concept and practice of Yiddishland is extremely crucial for those among our nation who derive pleasure from self love, identity preservation, and the Yiddish language. Yiddish was and will forever be something more than just a “foreign language” for our nation, it has followed us to all the corners of the earth. Free of the constraints of a landed existence, the only threat to Yiddishland’s existence is laziness.

As an intangible concept the only way in which we can defend Yiddishland is through education. Proper education in the Yiddish language and culture is what will insure that Yiddishland will have the potential it requires for existence. If we are to continue to derive pleasure and pride from our language and culture, education is vital.

The Yiddish nation is so lucky that it is free from the constraints of an existence dictated by land and property. The Yiddishland concept is a return to a humanity free from petty materialism and chauvinistic violence. Under the present social conditions we will never have to die for Yiddishland. Yiddishland is a concept that only asks us to live for it.

5 comments:

sender hirsz said...

Oysgetseykhnt!
Oysergeveyntlekh!
Yiddishland is a tish!

What a powerfull concept!

Think globally, act locally.
Teach in yiddish un
tish in yiddish! :-D

Jasper Yate said...

i wumbo, they wumbo, he/she wumboes

anyway. to play devils advocate (no idea is complete without an opposition):

i have and still exist in a confined relationship between only myself and another person which i would consider a relationship all tangled up in the concept of love. love is probably a more simple concept that only asks us to live for it, no? and my experience with love and trying to make it an enjoyable experience over an immense distance is not a particularly good one.

you say the reality is that you cannot have the state, i agree that it is an impossibly daunting task to create a yiddish state, but you then immediately move to a concept which isnt tested.

im not saying that it cant dont take this as a downer, but what's to say that if a simple emotion like love, trying to be dealt with over 3000 or so miles with only two people, is a very hard thing to do, that a complex concept, and probably emotion as well (pride, inclusion, fellowship), like yiddishland, isnt infinitely harder to maintain because it is a lot of people over a much larger expanse of land; how can this be dealt with more easily than love is.

i think this needs elaboration. love is a hard thing to maintain because there are necessary stigmas and emotions that are just a bother, people are different and those differences are magnified in the light of this extensive concept that we learn from the lovely ones on tv; this causes quarrels, etc, you can imagine what entails from the cliche of a long distance relationship. i imagine these are larger and more prejudiced when it comes to a semi-religious matter such as a yiddish nation, or a yiddish sect of judaism. people are brought up even more attached to their religious beliefs than they are their beliefs on relationships. how do you form almost a government or a structure of yiddlandia/yiddishopia in order that everyone can get along and not get pissed if someone else has another idea of things?

-eli manning superbowl facts:

tom brady doesnt shave because his cleft is so powerful that women orgasm upon seeing it. eli manning doesnt shave so that when a shaved tom brady walks by people wont expect the truth...

The W said...

there is no centralized structure. it simply happens where it happens. the only structure necessary is educational insitutions, which is a subject that needs to be figured out and carried out.
it does suck not being close to the people though. most are in new york city. its not a religious union. religion is a part of it, a commonality for yiddish folk.

how do you form almost a government or a structure of yiddlandia/yiddishopia in order that everyone can get along and not get pissed if someone else has another idea of things?
^^^
pragmatically. yiddishland is simply the forum, not the actual structural things. groups who want to provide for the educational aspect of it are free to form parties and organization as they like. as long as they work towards the common goal, a yiddish speaking jewish cultural unit, then there is not much to quarrel about.

Naomi said...

Brilliant!
I would love to become a "citizen" of this landless/ nationless nation. Unfortunately I am currently alone in this yearning to learn the culture and language of my grandparents. Do you have any suggestions? Because someday when I find myself in Yiddishland I would like to participate!
thanks for keeping it alive.

The W said...

buy a text book. check out this website http://www.jewishbookcenter.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=9

I have been using College Yiddish. I have heard that Zucker's book is a lot better, especially if youre doing it on your own. I think you can even get an answer key and accompanying cds/tapes for Zucker's book. Try finding a native speaker to help you out. You can call the Workman's Circle and they might be able to help you out. Check out this website too http://www.yiddishculture.org/basiclesson/index.html
I have been finding the anki flashcard computer program a helpful tool as well. good luck!