A growing collection of in-depth interviews with people of all ages and backgrounds, whose stories about the legacy and changing nature of Yiddish language and culture offer a rich and complex chronicle of Jewish identity.
"Better Dead than Red" - The Cuban Missile Crisis
Mark Gerstein, z"l - former high school history teacher and Wexler Oral History Project volunteer - remembers how during the Cuban missile crisis, Americans never challenged government policies and accepted the possibility of a nuclear holocaust. See more on how Mark's political identity was shaped by the period of history in which he grew up: http://www.yiddishbookcenter.org/video/1960s-formed-my-ideology-mark-gerstein-remembers
This is an excerpt from an oral history with Mark Gerstein.
This excerpt is in English.
Mark Gerstein was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1949. Mark, z"l, died in 2013.
Other video highlights from this oral history
"Better Dead than Red" - The Cuban Missile Crisis2 minutes 20 seconds
Jewish Immigration: Examining the Categories on My Grandfather's Ship Manifest2 minutes 20 seconds
The Continuum of the Jewish Past and Present1 minute 41 seconds
Conveying Yiddish Expressions to the Younger Generation2 minutes 33 seconds
Teaching Jewish Life and Values through Yiddish Literature6 minutes 14 seconds
"Would You Have Fought Hitler?": Jews and the Vietnam War1 minute 38 seconds
Talk to Your Grandparents! The Importance of Asking Questions and Family History40 seconds
Students Grapple with the Meaning of the Holocaust1 minute 50 seconds
"Bloody Sunday" in Selma and "Judgment at Nuremberg"3 minutes 1 second
Mishugas and Mentch: Yiddish Expressions in American Movies1 minute 54 seconds
The Jewish Cemetery in Zamosc2 minutes 19 seconds
Teaching the Holocaust and Jewish Identity1 minute 9 seconds
My Mother's Reaction when Jack Ruby Shot Lee Harvey Oswald3 minutes 53 seconds
The Holocaust and Human Choice4 minutes 39 seconds
World War One: My Family Flees Zamosc and Settles in Minsk2 minutes 54 seconds
The Rabbi Told Stories in Yiddish on Yom Kippur1 minute 59 seconds
1920 Pogrom in Zamosc, Poland3 minutes 27 seconds
Examining the Ellis Island Card1 minute 56 seconds
"That's the Shul I Don't Go To": Choosing A Synagogue2 minutes 37 seconds
An Assimilationist Impulse: My Jewish Family Celebrating Christmas2 minutes 36 seconds
Americanization of Jewish First Names In My Family1 minute 55 seconds
November 15, 1969: Massive Anti-War Rally6 minutes 27 seconds
Taking a Course in Elementary Yiddish with Aaron Lansky3 minutes 41 seconds
Studying for His Bar Mitzvah1 minute 50 seconds
Sean Furgeson, a Good Yiddish Name: On How Officials Changed Names Upon Immigrating Through Ellis Island1 minute 33 seconds
Visiting the Zamosc Synagogue in Poland3 minutes 53 seconds
Learning Social Distinctions in the Synagogue2 minutes 22 seconds
Decision to Immigrate to the United States1 minute 29 seconds
About the Wexler Oral History Project
Since 2010, the Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project has recorded more than 500 in-depth video interviews that provide a deeper understanding of the Jewish experience and the legacy and changing nature of Yiddish language and culture.
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Do you (or someone you know) have stories to share about the importance of Yiddish language and culture in your life?