Yiddish Mavens

August 3, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The ABC’s Radio National program The Spirit if Things hosts Jewish content this weekend.

Rachael Kohn

Presenter Rachael Kohn describes the edition:

What a klutz. Full of chutzpah. A long spiel. These are just three examples of Yiddish words that have trickled into English.

The language, which is on the UNESCO endangered list, was once the vibrant mother-tongue of Eastern European Jews.

This week, we look at the unique contribution of Yiddish speakers here in Australia.

We begin with Margaret Taft and Andrew Markus, who’ve just co-authored A Second Chance: The Making of Yiddish Melbourne.

Melbourne had one of the largest post-war Yiddish speaking communities in the world, with migrants particularly settling in the suburb of Carlton.

Yvette Coppersmith and her self-portrait

We hear about the circumstances of their arrival, their relationship with ‘establishment’ Jews, and the importance of theatre to the community.

The authors also discuss the Bund socialist movement, and the contribution Yiddish writers made in Australia.

We also speak to this year’s Archibald Prize winner, Yvette Coppersmith.

She won for her painting Self-portrait, After George Lambert.

The artist tells us about winning the prestigious prize and the process of painting the self-portrait.

And, we hear about her family’s Bundist Yiddish heritage, learning the language at school, and her relationship with the Jewish faith.

The program will be aired on Radio National on Sunday ay 6pm and repeated on Wednesday at 1 pm

… or you can listen to on J-Wire at by clicking here

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