Sunday, August 3, 2014


Was reading an essay about the book The Yiddish Policemen's Union, by Michael Chabon. A heated argument ensued after the book was published as to whether he had been respectful or disrespectful toward the book Say It In Yiddish, published 1958. He had stated previously that he did not know of any place where this book would be relevant, so he imagined Yiddishland, perhaps in Alaska, perhaps called Alyeska, where Jews escaping from various places in Europe wore fur coats and were active in the salmon industry.

After Chabon's book came out, various Jewish Yiddish-celebratory groups and organizations held "Yiddishland" retreats and conferences at which one could indeed use the phrases from Say It In Yiddish, and many other phrases in Yiddish.

I find myself wishing fervently now that such a place existed. We would talk in Yiddish and sometimes English, wear warm clothing (depending on where we lived), we would be extremely liberal/progressive and peaceloving...

Oh, wait a minute. Such a place did exist once. It was called The Amalgmated Clothing Workers' Union Houses, The Amalgamated for short..And it was part of a number of coops built by American Jews in the Bronx, NY, any of which could also claim to be part of Yiddishland.

With my propensity for imagining utopias, I envision such a place in the future. But this time we must be sure that other groups don't live on it, even under absentee landlords who don't care about the others living on it.

Or would the fact that it would be Jewish cause others to object to it for any number of drummed-up, unsupportable but financeable reasons?

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