Home October 2012 Rekindle Your Yiddishkeit

Rekindle Your Yiddishkeit

For those who want to enhance their Yiddishkeit, the Orange County Yiddish Educational Yiddishkeit Forum is set to rekindle the pride and accomplishments of the Yiddish speaking Jews from around the world with “Yiddish Neshama”–Yiddish soul.
Beginning Sunday, October 21, with a series of lectures continuing through 2013 at Temple Beth Tikvah, Fullerton, scholars will bring to light the experiences of the Yiddish-speaking Jews who influenced the country they lived in round the world.
All over Eastern Europe and Russia, Jews were isolated with limited opportunities.  “Doors were closed to them,” explained Ann Nanes, creator of the Forum.  “They had to create opportunities and achievements that later made the world sit up and take notice.  These people fled into Western Europe from Eastern Europe and Russia in search of a better life, only to face WWII and the Holocaust, causing memories of history, culture and heritage to be overlooked.”  The goal of this series is to uncover these memories and the long-forgotten details of this heritage.
The first “stepping stone” to this culture will be presented by Professor Reverend Jonathan Dobrer, minister of the Unitarian Congregation of Fullerton, speaking on “Humor of the Yiddish-Speaking Immigrant and the Birth/Rise of Jewish Humor.”  He has a special interest in the birthing of the Christian gospels from the mating of Jewish stories with Greek mystery cults.  His latest book is Out of My Mind: Memory Morals and Morality Mamaloschen, Mitzvot and Mishigas.
The second featured lecturer, Dr. Michael Steiner, professor emeritus of American studies at California State University Fullerton, will speak on “Michael Gold, Jews Without Money: The Plight of the Jewish Immigrant and its Influence on American Radicalism.”  Named a Distinguished Fulbright Chair both in Hungary and Poland, Dr. Steiner has published prize-winning essays on Frederick Jackson, Turner’s sectional thesis and Walt Disney’s Frontierland. His new book, Regionalists on the Left: Radical Voices from the American West, will be published in 2013.
Panel moderator and leader of the discussions for the Forums is Seymour Scheinberg, Ph.D., professor of history at CSU Fullerton, who has lectured on: history of the Jews, history of the Holocaust, anti-Semitism, history of India and the Jews of India, and the Philips Group survivors of the Netherlands Holocaust.  Dr. Scheinberg is noted for giving his Bar Mitzvah speech in Yiddish.
At the November 11 forum, Cora Granata, Ph.D., will speak of “Survivors of Hitler and Stalin: Being Jewish in Germany after the Holocaust;” and Leiland Zenderland, Ph.D., of “Managing the Past and Present of Germany.”  Dr. Granata will draw from her own oral histories to discuss the experience of Jews in Germany after the Holocaust.  An associate professor of history, director of European studies and associate director of the Center for Oral and Public History at CSU Fullerton, Dr. Granata is completing her latest publication — Celebration and Suspicion: Jews and Sorbs in the German Democratic Republic.  Dr. Zenderland will explore various means used by Post-World War II Germans to “manage” their past and focus on the first book that tried to “come to terms” with the roles that German scholars played in supporting Nazi policies –Max Weinreich’s study called Hitler’s Professors: The part of Scholarship in Hermany’s Crimes Againgst the Jewish People, published in 1946.
The Forum will continue in February 2013 with talks by Dr. Robert Feldman (CSUF): Russia and Its Yiddish/Jewish Past and Present; and Dr. Nancy Fitch (CSUF): The Dreyfus Affair and the Reaction of the Jewish/Yiddish Community of France.
March will feature Dr. Nelson Woodard (CSUF): The Birth of Israel in 1948 and USA Politics; and Dr. Steve Jobbitt (CSUF) on Politics of the Yiddish Speaking Jewes of the USA.
Dr. Wendy Elliott Scheinberg will speak in April on the Yiddish Community of LA/Boyle Heights; and Dr. Allen Zeltzer will discuss Yiddish Theater.
Ann Nanes, director of the Orange County Yiddish Club, is the daughter of German Holocaust survivors, who escaped to Russia and survived WW II, with Ann, in a Siberian camp.  She remembers her mother performing “Schugin Ge Purity,” swinging a chicken over her head “to take your sins away.”
The Forum (admission and parking free) will consist of lectures entirely in English, followed by an intermission with refreshments for sale and panel discussion and question and answer session, from 2 to approximately 4 p.m.
Funding is by the Sam and Lillian Marks Memorial Fund within the Jewish Community Foundation, sponsored by a grant from the Jewish Federation & Family Services Orange County with support from Temple Beth Tikvah.
The Forum is located at the Asa Center for Lifelong Jewish Learning, Temple Beth Tikvah, 1600 N. Acacia Ave., Fullerton.

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