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18 Elul 5783

Rabbi Aviva Kipen

Progressive Judaism Victoria

Yiddish Vokh – Yiddish Week

By the time Allan Sherman, comedian and TV show host, died prematurely in 1973, he had popularised the American lexicon of Yiddish words and Jewish American humour far beyond his birthplace of Chicago. Sherman’s Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh is a memorable spoof of the summer camp experience beloved of many youngsters, despite its many social, sporting and nature challenges. Camp Granada resembles the kinds of camp locations to which we entrust Netzer campers of all ages. There are also adult versions of those orchestrated camp experiences.

Rukhl Schaechter, Yiddish Editor of The Forward – New York’s English and Yiddish language Newspaper – is the longest-attending camper of Yiddish Week, going back nearly 50 years to her childhood. We, too, can attend a camp like “Granada” in The Berkshires, Massachusetts, should we want an immersive experience of Yiddish. Age is not a barrier, but there is a major hurdle requirement: beginner Yiddish is not sufficient. Campers must be able to speak with enough fluency to participate in the life of Yiddish Vokh.

Welcome to Elul. From year to year, we are expected to continue to develop our repertoire, so that when Elul rolls around, we are able to become participants and have at least some of the terminology in order to use language of review, reflect, and prepare to immerse ourselves in the Yamim Nora’im Awesome Days of Tishrei. But unlike Yiddish Vokh, there is no barrier to those who are beginners, no hurdle requirements.

Everyone is welcome to take on the journey of “speaking Elul”. It is a journey of silence and speech, of heart and mind, of apology and forgiveness, of The Divine and the human, The Sacred and The Sanctity of the Ordinary.

See more Elul Reflections