Longtime Members on Why They Support the Center
Supporters of the Yiddish Book Center since 1983, Bunny and Jack Hoffinger have strong ties to yidishkayt. Jack, a renowned criminal defense lawyer, and Bunny have three children and reside in New York City. We recently asked them about their reasons for supporting us.
Kvel: You have supported the Yiddish Book Center for thirty years. What keeps you coming back?
Jack: Yiddish was my first language; I was brought up by maternal grandparents, who spoke only Yiddish. And Bunny’s parents spoke Yiddish, and she spent summers at Unser Camp, a labor Zionist Yiddish speaking camp. Yiddish is still alive for us.
Kvel: In 2004 you started sponsoring a student each year in the Center’s Steiner Summer Yiddish Program. In 2013 you fully endowed one student. What do you hope your student will take away from the experience?
Bunny & Jack: That Yiddish literature and art and music is our collective history; whether Yiddish is widely spoken is good, but not critical to the window it presents into our collective Jewish experience.
"Yiddish language provides an entryway into our rich heritage."
Kvel: You obviously have a deep connection to Yiddish. Do you have a favorite Yiddish expression?
Jack: No. All of Yiddish is available to Bunny and me. Further, Americans have adopted favorite Yiddish phrases into everyday language, a tribute to the richness of Yiddish and to its enduring presence.
Kvel: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Bunny & Jack: That Aaron is to be thanked, and congratulated, for recognizing that the Yiddish “art” he has collected, and the Yiddish language, provides an entryway into our rich heritage. After all, without the writers and books, and songs and visual art, how would historians be able to record who and what we were, to say nothing of our personal history? Our “roots” exist in the collective memories of our literature and art and music for us secular Jews. Our Torah is more than the Hebrew Bible.
From Kvel, the newsletter of the Yiddish Book Center (Fall 2013).
The following is an excerpt from Jack and Bunny Hoffinger’s interview for the Wexler Oral History Project.
View the couple's full-length interview.
View Jack Hoffinger's interview.
View Bunny Hoffinger's interview.