A Language With Chutzpah: Yiddish And American Culture

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When was the last time you ate a bagel? Gave a spiel at work? Called someone a klutz? Tried to have chutzpah? Contacted Apple about an iPhone glitch?

These may feel like quintessential examples of being a modern American, but the keywords behind them aren’t: they’re Yiddish.

The Jewish people began speaking Yiddish over a thousand years ago in Eastern Europe. But after a century and a half of immigration to the U.S. and elsewhere, the cultural reach of the language is vast.

These days, most everyone – including goys – feel some connection to Yiddish.

Joining us now to discuss the comeback of Yiddish in America are Ilan Stavans and Josh Lambert, co-editors of the book, “How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish.”

Like what you hear? Find more of our programs online.

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