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VIDEO: Moving film about seven young Yiddish scholars is now on YouTube


A remarkable documentary about the passion of seven young people for the Yiddish language, and in particular for Yiddish poetry, was posted on YouTube this week. 

In the film, The Secrets of Yiddish Poetry, French director Nurith Aviv, who was born in Tel Aviv, gives viewers a chance to hear these students and scholars — both Jews and non-Jews — describe how Yiddish inspires them in their work and in their lives. 

Each of them shares their connection to a particular poet they love from the years between the two world wars, and some recite a favorite excerpt of their work. Among the poets discussed are Celia Dropkin, Moyshe-Leyb Halperin, Anna Margolin and Abraham Sutzkever. The interwar period was an exceptional era for the Jews of Eastern Europe, one which saw a deep flowering of Yiddish culture and creativity, including modernist, avant-garde poetry. 

Aviv makes the point that the poets of that period were polyglots, often moving from one country to another. “The protagonists of my film also move between countries and languages,” she writes in her description of the film.

Filmed in France, Germany, Israel, Lithuania and Poland and released in 2020, The Secrets of Yiddish Poetry is itself multi-lingual, including conversations in French, Hebrew, Yiddish and English. The entire film is accompanied by English subtitles.


The post VIDEO: Moving film about seven young Yiddish scholars is now on YouTube appeared first on The Forward.