"Eastern Europeans and Judaism were marginalized in America by the dominant Christian culture," he said. "But it also entered the mainstream because of media: movies by Groucho Marx, fashion by Levi Strauss … it creates a tension that’s exotic but familiar at the same time."
Michael Wex, the author of the surprise 2005 bestseller Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All Its Moods, thinks a younger generation of secular Jews is seeking a connection to a culture and time they feel removed from.
"The American Jewish middle class is well entrenched and the culture and stigma attached to Yiddish have gone and vanished," he said, referring to a post-Holocaust disassociation of postwar Jews from their culture in an effort to become Americanized. "The vast population of Jews have the vaguest idea of what their religion is: They know about the Holocaust, Israel, holidays, and foods, but beyond that, people don’t know that much. [Speaking Yiddish] is a way to assert and flaunt Jewish identity publicly without necessarily connecting yourself with religious beliefs. Yiddish rises above denominations."
Yiddish has a Problem - the Atlantic
Connecting with young Jews is what inspired our new cabaret series: Hava Tequila Nights at the Triad Theater - 158 W. 72nd Street.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at 9PM