The Arty Semite

Touring Yiddish Tel Aviv

By Ofer Aderet

  • Print
  • Share Share

Crossposted from Haaretz

Aviad Bar-Nes

At the end of his visit to Israel in 1927, Sholem Asch, a leading Yiddish writer, wrote his impressions of Tel Aviv. “When you walk on the street, a Jew is walking in front of you; a Jew is walking behind you. Wherever you don’t look, Jewish eyes are watching you. It is a strange feeling you experience while walking the streets of Tel Aviv knowing that from one end of the city to the other, you are surrounded by Jews, like in a synagogue or a beit midrash (house of study); it is like a synagogue on the street. You can do anything, say anything. I swear I myself had the urge to utter the slur Zhid (Jew boy).”

Tel Aviv may be known as the first Hebrew city, whose residents often struggled with the language of Eastern European Jews, but from its early days, a glorious Yiddish culture thrived there. Yaad Biran, a researcher of Yiddish culture and a tour guide calls the city “a forgotten city, Jewish and cosmopolitan, exciting and entertaining.”

On May 4, Biran will lead “Between Yiddish-land and Alte-neue Land,” a new tour of Tel Aviv under the auspices of the Discover Tel Aviv Center. Biran explains, “We will see the city together with the Yiddish writers who visited or lived there and wrote about it with wisdom and humor in their mother tongue.” The tour will feature writers such as Sholem Asch and Hayyim Nachman Bialik, and Jewish organizations such as the Bund and Poalei Zion, as well as the Schund Theater and the satirical performances of the Yiddish comic duo of Dzigan and Shumacher. The meeting place is the founders’ monument on Rothschild Street at 10 am.

Read more at Haaretz.com


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Yiddish, Haaretz, Ofer Aderet, Yaad Biran

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?








You may also be interested in our English-language newsletters:













We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.