Review. Hasidism, Haskalah —why are these significant for the history of Yiddish culture in particular? What is the debate about how these movements affected the internal hierarchies within Jewish culture?
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Who is which classic Yiddish writer?
What makes you think that?
Here lies a simple Jew,
Who wrote yidish-taytsh for women,
And for the common people—
He was a humorist-writer.
He ridiculed all of life,
Reviled the world.
The whole world made out very well,
And he—alas—had troubles.
And precisely when his audience
Was laughing, applauding, and having a good time,
He was ailing—only God knows this—
In secret, so no one would see.
1. First published in KolMevaser, first modern Yiddish newspaper, Odessa, 1860s. The Little Man (Dos kleynementschele), The Mare (Di kliatshe).
2. Who is Mendel the Book Peddler?
3. What do we make of the opening, about Western newspapers flocking to hear of the Benyomin story?
4. How is the relationship between Hebrew and Yiddish figured?
5. Note the power of books to spark imagination
6. How is the shtetl figured? A closed place? A place of exile. How do non Jews figure in the story? Note the satire with which he describes Moochville.7. Why is Benyomin fleeing town?8. Is there an overall point to the story? Note echoes with Don Quixote8. How does this story reflect the maskilic background of Abramovitch? How is it showing something new?
1.How are we to relate to Tevye? As a pathetic character? Sad? Letting the world pass him by?2.How do you think the author judges the daughters?3. How are gender roles being portrayed? Positively, negatively?
4. How is Yiddish talked about in his stories?
1. Why is it important that the woman is a non-Jew? How do we know she’s a non-Jew?2. What is a Litvak? How is he portrayed?3. What is the overall point of this story?