YidLife Crisis in Tel Aviv – Pt. 1 – YUNG YiDiSH
The premise of this uh… mini-series, is that Jamie and Elie will search for Yiddish language and culture in Tel Aviv. In this episode they find a Yiddish library and cultural center in the deepest bowels of the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station – a white elephant that is one of the biggest bus stations in the world and has been slated for demolition for years. It’s interesting because historically, in the early years of its existence, the Jewish State actually suppressed Yiddish language newspapers so that people would be forced to learn Hebrew. Yiddish was seen as the language of the ghetto, the diaspora etc. Yiddish was the language of weak Jewish victims and Hebrew the language of strong, brave sabras. Today hardly anyone speaks Yiddish anymore, just old people and Hassidic Jews. And Montreal Bialik High School graduates of course, though apparently Jamie and Eli’s Yiddish is fairly awful. Who knew! I mean I wouldn’t know Yiddish from Bananas, but that’s what I’m told.
In any case, Jamie and Eli seem to have hit a nerve. The folks over st Slingshot are so enamored of YidLife crisis that they have listed them in this year’s Slingshot Guide to Jewish Innovation. Slingshot describes itself as “…an annual compilation of the most inspiring and innovative organizations, projects, and programs in the North American Jewish community today.” Some previous recipients of this honor include such winners as JDub Records who were listed in every Slingshot Guide and who received funding from Slingshot in 2007, 2008 and 2010 before folding in 2011. Another Slingshot fave was 6 Points Fellowship, an arts group aimed at fostering Jewish leadership within the Jewish arts community. Six Points received a grant from the Slingshot Fund in 2010 and effectively folded in 2013, presumably after funders realized that many Jewish artists had no interest in promoting the funders’ agendas as part of their art. Rebecca Guber, who was the founding director of Six Points has moved on to the Schusterman Foundation supported Asylum Arts project whose lofty mission is to support “…contemporary Jewish culture on an international scale, bringing greater exposure to artists and cultural initiatives, providing opportunities for new projects and collaborations and elevating the level of excellence and artistic activity.” Not to be too ominous or anything but Asylum Arts has also been listed in the 2016 Slingshot Guide.
But it’s all good Jamie and Elie! You guys rock! Yiddish is now hip yo!