DON'T MISS OUR EXHIBIT AT THE CENTER FOR JEWISH HISTORY
IN NYC UNTIL NOVEMBER 15
OTHER ZIONS: FROM FREELAND TO YIDDISHLAND
Land and Language in Three Intertwined Yiddish Entities
Michael Chabon's best-selling novel The Yiddish Policeman's Union imagined European Jewish refugees colonizing Alaska as a Yiddish-speaking homeland. In fact, the Freeland League for Jewish Territorial Colonization, with its organ Afn Shvel, attempted that and much more.
The League for Yiddish, in conjunction with the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, opened a special exhibit in honor of several important anniversaries relating to its history: the 70th year of publication of the all-Yiddish Afn Shvel; the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Freeland League, the first publisher of Afn Shvel, and the 30th anniversary of its current publisher, the League for Yiddish.
For over 30 years, beginning in 1935, the Freeland League worked to create a mass Jewish settlement outside the Land of Israel in order to rescue Jews and Jewish culture from Europe as it became increasingly hostile and anti-semitic. Its most notable projects include attempts to establish settlements in Australia, Tasmania, Suriname, and yes, Alaska. Over time, especially following the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, the Freeland League gave up all territorial goals; however, the organizational devotion to Yiddish language and culture continued, and was even strengthened.
Finally, in 1979, the then-executive director of the Freeland League, renowned linguist and Yiddish professor, Dr. Mordkhe Schaechter, fully supported by the executive board, legally changed the name of the organization from the Freeland league to the League for Yiddish. Today the League for Yiddish continues its mission of finding a place for Yiddish within Jewish life by means of encouraging people to speak Yiddish in their everyday life; enhancing its prestige as a living language, both within and outside the Yiddish-speaking community; and promoting the modernization of Yiddish. Afn Shvel, still its organ, and now an attractive magazine with multifaceted articles on Yiddish and Yiddish culture - covering cultural, historical, literary and linguistic topics - is one of the leading Yiddish publications in the non-Orthodox world today. Curated by Krysia Fisher of the YIVO Institute, the exhibit is devoted to these three intertwined Yiddish entities.
THE EXHIBIT will be open until November 15, 2011, in the 3rd Floor Gallery outside the Reading Room at the Center for Jewish History: 15 West 16th Street, NYC, between 5th and 6th Avenue (Avenue of the Americas).
HOURS: Mon and Wed, 9:30 am-8pm, Tue and Thu, 9:30 am-5pm, Fri, 9:30 am-3pm, Sun, 11am-5pm.
Nearby subway stops include:
*Union Square (L, N, Q, R, W, 4, 5, 6)
* 14 Street and 6th Avenue (F, L, V, PATH)
* 14th Street and 7th Avenue (1, 2, 3, L)
* 14th Street and 8th Avenue (A, C, E, L)
The Center can also be reached by bus on the M2, M3, M5, M6, M7 and M14 lines.
The The exhibit is free and open to the public.