Yiddish, Ladino, & Other European Literature

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Just as the Yiddish short stories often feature Herschel, a hapless fool, or a town golem, or village idiot, so the Ladino stories feature Jocha, who is either a sneaky trickster or a very dumb local. Like the Yiddish stories, Ladino writers tend to emphasize the need to be happy with one's lot, the wisdom of considering another perspective, and the joy that is still possible despite poverty, discrimination, and persecution. This message seems especially poignant when delivered in the traditional Jewish languages of Europe. For Yiddish and Ladino as languages and literatures, survival has been possible through travel and translation--despite the immense obstacles of history and exile.

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