What does it mean to choose to study an endangered language? Why was there a global Yiddish revival at the turn of the 21st century?
As part of the “visiting scribe” blog series hosted by the Jewish Book Council and MyJewishLearning.com, Hannah Pressman considered these and other questions related to the new generation of Yiddish scholars. In three posts for the Book Council during the first week of February, she provided a behind-the-scenes look at Choosing Yiddish: New Frontiers of Language and Culture, an anthology she co-edited with Lara Rabinovitch and Shiri Goren. Published by Wayne State University Press in December 2012, Choosing Yiddish has been hailed as a cutting-edge collection of exciting interdisciplinary research by a young generation of Yiddish mavens.
Pressman’s first post, “Yiddish and Me,” reflects on the Yiddish-friendly atmosphere in New York City ten years ago, when she started to formally study Yiddish. She explains her uncanny feeling of familiarity with this language:
When I first began studying Yiddish, I felt like I was remembering something I already knew. It was a lovely sensation, this feeling at home in a language I was still acquiring.