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by Alyssa Goldstein
If you still have electricity this week, be sure to check out Yiddishkayt’s website. Based in Los Angeles, Yiddishkayt is an educational center for Yiddish language, culture, and history. It challenges the narrative of European Jewish history as little more than a series of pogroms and massacres, and asks, “Do you know the names of more Nazi leaders than Yiddish writers? Or more extermination camps than the towns and villages where Jewish life thrived for a millennium?” Guided by the idea that “we cannot appreciate a thousand years of Jewish life with our eyes fixed only on its end,” Yiddishkayt offers educational expeditions to central and Eastern Europe to explore its rich Jewish cultural history. It offered two expeditions this year: one on Jewish theater and song, the other on Jewish writers.
College students can take part in Yiddishkayt’s new Helix Project: an intensive summer learning experience led by graduate students that takes place in both Los Angeles and in Europe. This year, the project visited “the heart of the historical Grand Duchy of Lithuania — traveling through eastern Poland into Belarus and ending in the Jerusalem of Lithuania, today Vilnius.”
If you’re in LA, check out Yiddishkayt’s Klezmer jam sessions, and follow them on facebook and twitter for updates on their upcoming events.