Hitler killed Yiddish — now these scholars are trying to revive the culture

CHERNIVTSI, Ukraine – In the elegant, slightly faded lobby of the Hotel Bukovyna, a group of gray-haired, eccentrically-dressed academics sipped cognac and argued in Yiddish. The collective represented just a handful of the over 100 scholars, enthusiasts, and Jewish community advocates from 12 countries around the world that assembled earlier this month for the International Commemorative Conference of Yiddish Culture and Language in western Ukraine.

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Tel Aviv on the Black Sea

The Ukrainian port city of Odessa, once home to hundreds of thousands of Jews, is experiencing a ‘golden age’ – with modern Israel proving an unlikely inspiration. If you know where to look, the ghosts of Odessa’s Jewish past are everywhere, haunting and playful: in the pizza restaurant blaring “Hava Nagila” across from the Potemkin Steps; in the forshmak (chopped herring), tzimmes and gefilte fish served in the city’s oldest eating establishments; in the Jewish jokes and Yiddish words that pepper local patois; to the sign above an overgrown courtyard that reads “The State of Israel was born here.”

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Volunteers rescue Jewish headstones used to pave street in western Ukraine

Volunteers have rescued dozens of Jewish headstones used to pave a street in the western Ukraine city Lviv.

“The whole street is made from ‘matzevot,’” Sasha Nazar, director of the Lviv Volunteer Center of the Hesed Arieh All-Ukrainian Jewish Charitable Foundation, told Jewish Heritage Europe, using the Hebrew word for gravestones.

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