Portland festival celebrates Yiddish and its impact on pop culture
Klutz, kvetch, schlock, the bagel – however Yiddish, the language of central and eastern European Jews, exists just in a few scattered enclaves, its impact suffers all through the world.
That was the message this end of the week at the first Maine Yiddish Culture Festival, where several language buffs, customary music lovers and individuals from the zone Jewish community accumulated in Portland to investigate conventional music, nourishment, and humor.
“A lot of people use Yiddish words without even knowing they’re doing it,” said Barbara Merson, executive director of the Maine Jewish Film Festival, which organized the event.
Yiddish has roots in a few languages, including Hebrew and a ninth-century version of German. The language was spoken by in excess of 10 million individuals in Central and Eastern Europe until the Holocaust; presently, just a fraction of that number still utilizes the language, a considerable lot of whom live in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities.
Jamie Isaacson of Portland went to the Jewish Community Alliance expanding on Congress Street on Sunday to find out about his very own legacy.
A third-generation Mainer whose family originated from Belarus and Lithuania, Isaacson heard his folks and grandparents speak Yiddish. In any case, they didn’t pass it down to him; English was the focus, thus, rather, Isaacson’s elders utilized Yiddish when they would not like to be comprehended.
That left him feeling like he was missing something.
“It’s this roots thing,” Isaacson said. “You want to learn about who you are and where you come from.”
In the Jewish Community Alliance auditorium, New England Conservatory musicologist Hankus Netsky gave a lecture on the historical backdrop of klezmer – the musical convention of Eastern Europe’s Ashkenazi Jews. (Klezmer” initially alluded to a musical instrument, however, has developed in a famous speech to include a lot more extensive musical culture.)
He distinguished the traditional instruments – “You can tell how many Jews live in a house by how many violins there are on the wall,” he quipped – and followed the historical backdrop of klezmer from a slump in the mid 1900s to its revival, later in the century, as a feature of an international wave of interest in ethnic music.
After the lecture, Netsky sat at a keyboard and accompanied a traditional dance. Crowd individuals connected hands, forming a ring that broke into a long line and danced its way through the auditorium.
The festival commenced Saturday at One Longfellow Square with a concert highlighting Netsky and Eden MacAdam-Somer of the Klezmer Conservatory Band, situated in Boston, in addition to the Casco Bay Tummlers, long-term performers from Maine.
Prior to Sunday, Michael Wex, a Canadian humorist, and writer, gave a discussion on Yiddish language and phrases. Later that afternoon came a screening of the film “Chewdaism: A Taste of Jewish Montreal.”
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