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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Holocaust survivor praises Sheptytsky, shares childhood experiences with youngsters at Bobriwka

COLEBROOK, Conn. – Since 2011, the Bobriwka campsite in northwestern Connecticut has hosted a weeklong music workshop where children and parents have learned how to play the traditional Ukrainian instrument, the bandura. This year, in addition to the usual bandura lessons, choral rehearsals, nature walks, sports and outdoor activities, the children and parents at the “Bandura at Bobriwka” reunion were privileged to host a very special guest.

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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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Ukrainian scholars participated at the 11th Congress of the European Association for Jewish Studies

The 11th Congress of the European Association for Jewish Studies took place in Krakow on July 15–19, 2018. Among the participants of the Congress were 22 Ukrainian scholars (15 are the members of the Ukrainian Association for Jewish Studies), who represented seven institutions from Ukraine (Kyiv, Lviv, and Kharkiv) and three universities from abroad. Due to the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter’s support, three “Ukrainian” panels were organized for this Congress.

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In the Vernadsky Library

Historical narratives are built around artifacts—preserved and frail relics from past epochs. Mythology erupts in the absence of such relics, and it is the sort of absence that doesn’t let one alone. Celebrating its first centennial this year, the Jewish Archive at the Vernadsky Library in Kiev is, perhaps, one of the oddest crossroads of history and mythology: It is filled with incredible artifacts of the Eastern European Jewish past, and yet, it hangs suspended within a cognitive void, in the absence of the community that engendered these artifacts.

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