If you happen to be in the area, head on down to the 31st annual Yiddishfest happening in Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale. Klezmer music and Israeli dancing and a celebration of 350 years of Jewish immigration.

To be honest, this whole Yiddish Revival thing is still a bit strange to me. I grew up in a very goyishe town, so the first time I sneezed in Israel and someone said to me ‘gazay gazunt’ I completely freaked out. I had never heard anyone use that word outside my immediate family. The assumed thought from my childhood was that it was some made up word my father had invented, but this Hasid almost certainly did not know my father. I called home immediately; horrified that someone else knew our family’s quirky little secret language. After that, I just had to go home, kick off my shechela, rest my keppele, take a shluff and forget about all this tzuris.

But now, even the non-Jews are speaking it; Madonna is singing in it, and this Japanese guy knows it better than most Jews ever will.

Within the tribe, however, recent news suggests that Yiddish might help you find your soulmate, or even save your life. Bubbie would shepp such naches!

About the author

Laya Millman