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By Naomi Seidman

With remarkably unique formulations, Naomi Seidman examines the ways in which Hebrew, the Holy Tongue, and Yiddish, the vernacular language of Ashkenazic Jews, got here to symbolize the masculine and female faces, respectively, of Ashkenazic Jewish tradition. Her subtle historical past is the 1st book-length exploration of the sexual politics underlying the "marriage" of Hebrew and Yiddish, and it has profound implications for figuring out the centrality of language offerings and ideologies within the building of recent Jewish identity.Seidman really examines this sexual-linguistic process because it formed the paintings of 2 bilingual authors, S.Y. Abramovitsh, the "grand-father" of recent Hebrew and Yiddish literature; and Dvora Baron, the 1st sleek girl author in Hebrew (and a author in Yiddish as well). She additionally offers an research of the jobs that Hebrew "masculinity" and Yiddish "femininity" performed within the Hebrew-Yiddish language wars, the divorce that eventually ended the wedding among the languages.Theorists have lengthy debated the position of mom and dad within the kid's courting to language. Seidman offers the Ashkenazic case as an illuminating instance of a society within which "mother tongue" and "father tongue" are basically differentiated. Her paintings speaks to big matters in modern scholarship, together with the psychoanalysis of language acquisition, the feminist critique of Zionism, and the nexus of women's stories and Yiddish literary heritage.

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Additional info for A Marriage Made in Heaven: The Sexual Politics of Hebrew and Yiddish (Contraversions, 7)

Example text

Peretz walking away from the wealthy older woman enthroned under a banner proclaimi ng her "ha'isha hagevirta mares hebre'ish" (Madame [Wealthy] Lady Missus Hebrew). On the writer's arm is the barefoot, graceful young Yiddish. 40 The title of the cartoon is "Y. L. Peretz's folkstimlikher roman" (Y. L Peretz's Popular Novel). The caption reads, The Missus (Hebrew) says, "Woe to me that I have lived this long! " Peretz: The poor old thing! .. It breaks the heart . . she says! . and meL .. My heart is breaking too ...

Peretz: The poor old thing! .. It breaks the heart . . she says! . and meL .. My heart is breaking too ... nevertheless she's a noblewoman . but my child! love! a young heart . young blood-don't take notice ... it rages ... fire and flame ... torches! you are mine ... come! we will ride in the chariots of time ... we will spin gold and silver ... we will build palaces of marble- come! This cartoon shows Peretz moving from Hebrew to Yiddish, the reverse of Bialik's abandonment of Yiddish for Hebrew.

When Hebrew asks the poet if Yiddish was a "Iinke Jibe," she is not only asking whether his affair was clandestine (link literally means "left," but also "wrong" or "seamy") but also implying that Yiddish is a leftist radical. The cartoon reminds us of the associations between Yiddish and the working classes while editorializing, in the title, on the political "correctness" of Bialik's early affection for Yiddish. An earlier cartoon uses a simila r pictorial code to describe a bilingual writer choosing Yiddish, this time, over Hebrew (see fig.

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