Oct 27, 2012

Es Felt Eppes

I attended a shul today that I never attended before.  I just walked in and sat down.  As I listened to the Kerias Ha'Torah which was read in a Chassidic pronunciation that was more "extreme" than some milder ones I'm familiar with, it got me thinking. 

Although unlike many of my peers who grew up in a decidedly European atmosphere, I grew up in quite an American home.  Nevertheless, I absorbed so much of the European-Yiddish flavor in my surroundings.  There was Yiddish spoken all around me and we translated Chumash and Navi into Yiddish in school.  There were many Europeans, mostly Holocaust survivors, everywhere.  Meshulachim who frequently came to our home spoke Yiddish.

As I sat in shul and was able to follow the unfamiliarly pronounced keria,  I thought - today's kids who are growing up much more sheltered than I grew up, are not exposed to that rich, Yiddish atmosphere I was exposed to.  I daresay that my fine, frum nieces and nephews would not be able to find where this baal korei was up to, nor would they be able to understand what he was saying.  They either don't learn Yiddish in school or learn it minimally.  They don't encounter the Yiddish speaking or accented grocer, landlord, or grandparents. 

Life does go on and I feel somewhat saddened that the younger generation felt eppes (are missing something) or more than eppes.  It's not just the language.  It's a culture that they're missing.  A gefil.  Merely speaking Yiddish/Yinglish at home isn't enough, though it's something.  It's the exposure to an Old World culture that is lacking and that you can only get by growing up in and around it.  Years ago, our communities and schools were mixed, with children of American, Polish, and Hungarian parents playing together.  Today, we are far more segregated.  A shod.

1 comment:

  1. The segregation has far more negative implications than simply a language lost. We have lost the tolerance of different groups that comes from forming friendships and seeing them as individuals.