Jerusalem: City of Gold, and of Yiddish

Tucked away under the flyover approaching Jerusalem from Tel Aviv are a handful of dilapidated, abandoned stone houses, clinging to the side of the hill, covered in weeds  and scattered with rotting supermarket trolleys. With the exception of a few snakes and squatters, this area has long been deserted. It’s a village called Lifta, and it tells a story not …

The ‘Mother Tongue’: A brief introduction to Yiddish

Speaking at the Polyglot Conference in Budapest last weekend, I took the opportunity to give some air time to a particular language that might have dropped a little from the agenda. Yiddish (also known as מאַמע-לשון / ‘mame loshn‘ – the ‘mother tongue’) has never been studied to any great extent outside Jewish communities, and now it is under even more threat, as people …