Do you know the names of more Nazi leaders than Yiddish writers? Or more extermination camps than the towns and villages where Jewish life thrived for a millennium? If you’re like the Jewish students who fill our college classes, odds are you do.
Since I came to Yiddishkayt this past summer, people I meet keep asking just why, in an economic climate like this, I would leave a secure job and head out west to lead Yiddishkayt. To me, though, it was a no-brainer. In all the places I’ve taught—from Berkeley to Boulder—the same, sad fact began to haunt me: the destruction of European Jewish culture has started to eclipse the culture itself.
And something must be done about it.
Since my family moved to Los Angeles, it has been my privilege to become acquainted with this avid community of lovers of Yiddish and Jewish culture you’re a part of. You care about yiddishkayt and in a meaningful way, too — a way that’s sometimes hard to define. A simple word or phrase can trigger your most personal and vivid memories and keep you linked in di goldene keyt — the golden chain of ￼our shared heritage. This connection transcends language. Yiddishkayt connects us to each other and the vibrant legacy of Jewish life throughout the centuries.
It is my hope that I’ll have a chance to meet you sometime in the near future at one of our many events. Please introduce yourself to me as I discuss our forthcoming programs at synagogues, homes, theaters and events. Or, call or email (213-389-8880 or firstname.lastname@example.org) to tell us what kind of programs you would like to see coming from Yiddishkayt.
Please read about our plans for 2012 — including our newest initiatives and our upcoming winter events. Our 2012 Arts events are all about celebrating Jewish life and creativity and I hope you’ll take a look and join us! And it’s never too early to start thinking about the summer. This June, our first group of students will head off on the pilot Helix Project and explore the rich history of Jewish life in the historical Jewish Lithuania (in today’s Northeastern Poland, Belarus, and Lithuania). In August we launch our first two Yiddishkayt Expeditions traveling to the places where Jewish life and Yiddish culture blossomed and the cities and shtetlakh our families once called home.
Lastly, please do consider supporting our efforts to bring these exciting and enriching programs to you. Your gift is an investment in our living culture and means so much to me. I know we’ll have a vibrant future with your help and continue adding new links to the golden chain of Yiddishkayt.
Mit di beste grusn — Best wishes for a happy new year,