This week's Yizkor book excerpt on the JewishGen Facebook page #general

Bruce Drake <BDrake@...>

I've posted several excerpts about the tensions - for lack of a better
description - between the use of Yiddish and Hebrew in many shtetls. Usually,
the context has been the cultural and generational differences among the
Ashkenazi, the Orthodox and the Sephardim. "How I arrived at Yiddish," >from
the Yizkor book of Zabludow, Poland, near Bialystok, is a different take.
(The title in the book's index is a bit different: "How I Succeeded in
Yiddish.") The author, Avrohom Kotik, is a self-described Russian
intellectual who had grown up in a neighborhood where there were no other
Jewish boys and who in 1888 came to Zabludow "where 'yidishkeyt' oozed >from
every crack and cranny." He was among "kindred," but in the Yiddish-saturated
culture felt like "a duck hatched by a the another species, say by a chicken,
on seeing water." One townsman called him a "Yehudi," or Westernized Jew.
This is his story about how he ultimately came to "a complete and outspoken
conviction as a Yiddishist." It's also an account of the effort to "Russify"
the schools.


Bruce Drake
Silver Spring MD

Towns: Wojnilow, Kovel

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