London Yiddishtown: A Glimpse into the Jewish East End Through Yiddish Song and Story
Hosted By: The National Library of Israel (NLI)
The immigration of Yiddish-speaking Jews from Eastern Europe beginning in the mid-1880s developed London’s East End into a bustling Yiddish center with its own theater, press and publishing. This lecture will give you a taste of what we can glean from this popular Yiddish culture about immigrant life, with its debates and arguments reflected in work, family and community.
Morris Winchevsky’s socialist verse of the 1880s explores poverty, class inequality and union activism with earnestness and satire. The comic music halls of 1905 make fun of acculturation to Britain, changes in religious practice and the role of women with poignancy and slapstick. The stories from the Yiddish press of the thirties engage with the fight against fascism, synagogue politics and generational conflict with energy and belly-laugh humor.
Taken together, we see a view from below, crafted as fiction, yet revealing historical secrets of the changing Jewish East End. This talk will be in English. No knowledge of Yiddish necessary.
With Dr. Vivi Lachs, part of the National Library of Israel series: “In Her Majesty’s Kingdom – Celebrating the Rich History of Anglo-Jewry”.
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