Oh, let me through to the joy of the Yiddish word. Give me whole, full days. Tie me to it, weave me in, Strip me of all vanities. Send crows to feed me, bestow crumbs on me, But give me whole, full days, Let me not forget for a moment The Yiddish word.
The Joy of the Yiddish Word • Jacob Glatstein
Mentshlekhkayt… means humaneness, being decent, being good to other people, believing that the tradition of Jewish socialism has something to offer the world.
Religion? I am an atheist. Jewish nationalism? I am an internationalist. In neither sense am I therefore a Jew. I am, however, a Jew by force of my unconditional solidarity with the persecuted and exterminated. I am a Jew because I feel the pulse of Jewish history…
Once Yiddish has taken hold of you...then you will no longer recognize your earlier tranquility. Then you will feel the true unity of Yiddish so powerfully that you will be afraid, though no longer of Yiddish, but of yourself.
Franz Kafka • Introductory Lecture on Yiddish
Oh, that ‘sublime silence of eternity’ — into which so many cries of anguish have faded away unheard — thunders so strongly within me that I have no special place in my heart for the ghetto: I feel at home in the entire world, wherever there are clouds and birds and human tears.