For our last day of Yiddish class our lovely linguist Lily brought us some traditional and yummy Yiddish foods to enjoy through the course of the session. Hummus and Matzo. Matzo has an interesting universe surrounding it that the Yiddish-enthusiast is recommended to research in their free time. A morsel of knowledge I enjoyed was that it’s mentioned repeatedly in biblical text, a food therefore that’s survived the journey of time and religion. [This unleavened bread is traditionally eaten by Jews during the week-long Passover holiday as celebratory commemoration of the exodus from Egypt back in the day. So whilst matzo symbolizes redemption and freedom from a historical context, it is also known as “lochem oni/poor man’s bread”, so as to serve as a reminder to be humble and enjoy the simplicity and solitude life offers.]
Whereas the hummus, due to its ingredients, is one of the few foods that can be combined with a wide variety of meals whilst remaining consistent with Kashrut (Jewish dietary laws). [So popular in fact that is has become a national food symbol in Israel and is apparently consumed more than twice as much than neighbouring Arab countries. Which says a huge lot, for Arabs truly love their hummus. 😀 As I say, food for thought for our Yiddish-enthusiasts and food-fanatics to explore.]
We learnt about the definite articles of Yiddish grammar as well as its gender-specificity. We were introduced to the classic works of Mark Warshavsky’s songs and delved into the world of Yiddish humour via the famous folk culture of the Jews of Chelm.
A Yiddish class reading of the “2 Chelemer Jews and a chair” joke proved highly entertaining. Not only for its ridiculous humour. But because it is a stark reminder of how far our progress has reached. We’ve come so far from knowing nothing to being able to speak, write, read, joke and sing with the complexities of Yiddish in 8.5 days. Albeit a lot of practice is still left to be desired, it’s only left us with a greater thirst to keep learning and a healthy amount of Yiddish enthusiasm to last us for quite some time. (If the ability to play Yiddish-monopoly isn’t motivation enough to continue with the language, I would kindly advise one to rethink their priorities.) A fuelled interest and positive progress that I imagine is reflected in all the language groups in this programme. A delightful Danubian souvenir and skill set therefore left for us to enjoy, wherever our everyday adventures may take us after this final Friday.
As for the tutorial sessions, it compromised of an amalgamation of hard work and necessary silliness whilst attempting to finish our poster and film documentary projects. I won’t spoil the surprise. All shall be revealed on Friday’s exciting exhibitions. But for now, let’s just say a healthy dosage of juicy Yiddish-ness is brewing in the midst, so be patient a little while longer and stay tuned! And as ever dear Yiddish-enthusiasts, sholem alaykhim (peace be with you ^-^).