“A Foreign and Grating Language”? Yiddish In Israel – A History

Challenging the commonly held view that Yiddish was suppressed and even banned by the Israeli authorities, Rachel Rojanski offers a radical new interpretation of the interaction between Yiddish and Israeli Hebrew culture. Based on detailed archival research, this talk will follow the development of Yiddish in Israel and present Yiddish culture’s vibrant growth in Israel’s first decades. It will argue that although the Israeli leadership made promoting Hebrew a high priority, it did not have an explicit policy on Yiddish. The language’s varying fortunes in Israel over the years were shaped less by governmental policy than by social and political developments as well as by the state’s changing cultural climate.