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A Successful Yiddish Conference at Haifa University

by Staff Reporter

Hundreds of guests and students participated in a most successful conference on Yiddish which recently took place at the University of Haifa. Yiddish culture has a new momentum in Israel. The Israeli Knesset even established a special authority to promote the Yiddish culture and heritage in Israel. This conference was organized by Haifa University together with Shalom Aliechem House in Tel Aviv and the prestigious Lerner Foundation for the promotion of Yiddish.

One should note the special efforts and dedication of the organizers Rachel Rozansky, history professor and Yiddish scholar at Haifa University and Abraham Noverstern, a distinguished professor, a scholar of Yiddish literature at the Hebrew University.

Dr. Rozansky took great care of the details of this successful conference and managed to contribute to its prestige and public relation campaign. It is clear that this conference was a unique one and therefore will encourage more Yiddish scholarship in Israel.

The conference, which took place three days inside the campus of Haifa University, was entitled: 'Yiddish Culture, Ideology, and Politics.' It was opened at the Hecht's auditorium by Dr. Rozansky, the chairperson, and by Dr. Noverstern. Professor Joseph Shitrit, who represented Haifa University greeted the participants. The keynote speaker was the famous author Yosel Birstein. The opening night ended with the singer Lea Shlenger and the musician Shimon Cohen who entertained the guests with the best of the Yiddish songs.

Many scholars who attended this conference contributed to its success and scholarly excellence: Prof. David Ruskis (Yiddish in America), Prof. Mordecai Altshuler (Yiddish in the Soviet Union), Dr. Abraham Noverstern (Yiddish in Palestine), Dr. Rachel Rozansky (Yiddish in the State of Israel), Dr. Chaia Bar-Yitshaq (Yiddish and Folklore in Eastern Europe), Prof. Yoseph Gorni (Yiddish and the 'Bund'), Prof. Leonard Prager (Yiddish in Great Britain), Prof. Matitiahu Mintz (Labor and Yiddish in Russia), Dr. Natan Cohen (Yiddish Press in Poland), Dr. Efraim Zadoff (Yiddish in Latin-America), and many others. Other participants were the author Aharon Meged, the writer Yitshaq Luden, Dr. Michael Guy, and Dr. Menachem Mor.

This conference ended with a great unique performance by the group 'The Livnat Brothers' which integrates Yiddish music, Hassidic music and jazz. They also used a special video of the artistic works of Ariah Merzer, who expresses Jewish life and tradition in his art, as their background. Their performance demonstrated the roots of the Yiddish culture and heritage.


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