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A Settled Schtick

How to write a Yiddish trend piece

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Hy Wolfe, this week’s melancholy champion of a dying language.(NYT)

Picture of forlorn-looking older Jewish man: Check.

Lead with acknowledgment that everyone knows and writes about the fact that Yiddish is dying: Check.

Superimpose cultural connotations of Yiddish onto subject of article, with a phrase like “flinty Yiddish contrarianism”: Check.

Name-drop Sholom Aleichem and Isaac Bashevis Singer: Check.

Note that language is actually on the rise in Hasidic communities: Check.

Name-drop a Gentile Yiddish enthusiast (in this case, Shane Baker, whom Tablet Magazine has profiled): Check.

Mention the Lower East Side and a particular Brooklyn neighborhood (Brownsville, in this instance): Check.

End on mournful note: Check.

I’ll be honest: I could read a new one every week.

Shop That Speaks Yiddish Needs a Rich Man’s Help [NYT]
Related: The Ventriloquist [Tablet Magazine]
Earlier: Amid Dying Languages, Yiddish Lives On

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I’m surprised that neither Hy Wolfe nor the NYT reporter mentioned the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts.
A huge library of Yiddish books, Yiddish classes, college students doing internships… Check it out!

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Yogi Berra~ Congratulations. I knew the record would stand until it was broken.

The world goes as it will and not as you or I would want it. – Darkovan Proverb


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A Settled Schtick

How to write a Yiddish trend piece

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