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.
"To Me, Yiddish Was the Language of Secular Jews and Hebrew Was the Language Of Religious Jews": Associations with Yiddish and How They Changed Over Time
Joanne Borts—Broadway singer and Yiddish activist— discusses how her secular childhood home gave her an idea of Yiddish that later changed as she was exposed to more types of religiously observant Jews.
This is an excerpt from an oral history with Joanne Borts.
This excerpt is in English.
This interview is part of the Yiddish and the Arts: musicians, actors, and artists series.
Other video highlights from this oral history
"To Me, Yiddish Was the Language of Secular Jews and Hebrew Was the Language Of Religious Jews": Associations with Yiddish and How They Changed Over Time2 minutes 39 seconds
"For Me, Yiddish Was Always the Language of Cool": Fond Memories of Camp Hemshekh3 minutes 32 seconds
"You're Absorbing a Piece of the World That May Not Be in Everyone Else's Line of Sight": A Typical Day at Camp Hemshekh, A Socialist, Yiddishist Summer Camp4 minutes 16 seconds
Zalman Mlotek, The "Cool" 'Shule' Music Teacher who Inspired a Broadway Singer3 minutes 34 seconds
The Three Yiddish Divas: A Globe Trotting Yiddish Music Group2 minutes 35 seconds
"So Much Acceptance": Jewish Diversity at KlezKanada2 minutes 14 seconds
"I'm Taking Back Yiddish": Removing the Guilt and Resentment that Became Associated with Yiddish Through Assimilation, the Holocaust, and Israel5 minutes 32 seconds
"If We're Not All Somehow Children of the Survivors, We Might Forget": New Ideas about Remembering the Holocaust2 minutes 18 seconds
"Kop, Akslen, Kni, un Fis": Yiddish "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes"1 minute 10 seconds
The Yiddish Alef-Beys (Alphabet) to the tune of The Sound of Music's "Do-Re-Mi"1 minute 1 second
Camp Hemshekh's Yiddish Anthem1 minute 16 seconds
"Why Shouldn't We Also Bring the Language With Us?" Joanne Borts on Her Kids & Yiddish Program1 minute 34 seconds
More information about this oral history excerpt
- Career and Professional Life
- Jewish professions
- World War II
- Jewish education
- Yiddish language
- Yiddish teaching
- Yiddish learning
- Yiddish revival and activism
- Coming back to Yiddish
- Yiddish scene
- United States
- Jewish community
- Cultural transmission
- Family traditions
- Jewish holidays
- Workmen's Circle
- Arbeter Ring
- Joanne Borts
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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