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Re: Jack Sinclairs post re: MFA vs ...
To Peter Verheyen and like-minded bibliophiles;
Kudos for the thoughtful words! it's refreshing to here someone
say that you really don't need a master's degree to be considered a
"professional" in this world, and my being somewhat lacking of confidence
in my ability to succeed seem to have thought that a master's is the only
hope for me in the technological age. Thank god that I am being proved
wrong! Because I really do want to go to NBSS and to learn bookbinding
as a time-honored craft as well as an art to be aesthetically appreciated.
And YES! I strongly desire to save the old and neglected books from the
terrible entropic effects of time, although I do not deny that entropy
will consume all matter in the end, there are steps we can take to slow or
even hinder its approach. And you see, the National Yiddish Book Center
is a place where I'd like to eventually work, why? Good question! The
NYBC is in North Hadley, Mass but is building its permanent home at
Hampshire College in Amherst, and what an undertaking they've embarked
For you see, the Nazi's did their utmost to annihilate European
Jewish culture, and they nearly succeeded, didn't they? But I don't want
to go into that here, my tirade about Heidegger should be enough to convince
anyone where I stand on the issue. But here's the point: as a result of
the Holocaust the basis of the Yiddish Language was wiped out and few
spoke it in NYC and other Jewish enclaves when compared to how prevalent
it was in the shtetls and hamlets of Eastern Europe. Yiddish essentially
died in this country until the 70's when an interest in it revived, Klezmer
and other yiddish forms of expression experienced a renaissance, but a very
slow and painful one. I'm a convert to Judaism, so you see Yiddish wa
was probably more a part of the Chasidic and strict Orthodox households,
but it probably rarely exceeded the enclave. My point: hundreds of yiddish
language books sat in Bubbe's and Zeyde's attic or basement rotting away
because the memory, oy gevalt the memory, of what the language now signi-
fied to them some themselves with the numbers on their fore-arms.
The National Yiddish Book Center has undertaken to ferret-out these
forgotten treasures and to give them the repository they deserve so that
Yiddish will continue in spite of the 20th Century Haman's attempts to
wipe it out. And can you believe that as I write this the NYBC has amassed
close to 1.5 MILLION volumes of yiddish language material? And most of it
demands loving and tender care because of its legacy, for the NYBC intends
for these books to be used and read and researched and sold and whatever,
and to do that, bindings must be sound, and that's just one reason why I
want to become a bookbinder -- to help in the preservation of culture that
was almost entirely wiped-out by a Madman from Munich.
It's Sabbath and I'm writing this, I know if I were a good Jew I
wouldn't be sitting in front of my computer, and I should be studying
Torah and talmud, but Peter impressed me so much with his words, I just
felt that I should add my two-cents worth in support.
Mit shayne dank (maybe a Yiddish lexicon might help)
With many thanks,
Rommel John Miller
oy gevalt=oh woe! or bother! :: oy gevalt iz mir=oh woe is me!
Haman=the Persian King who tried to exterminate the Jews in the Scroll (Book)
of Esther (the reason for Purim in the month of Adir)
Torah=the Pentatuech or first five books of the Bible (Old Testament to
Christians) Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy;
The basis of Judaic belief and strength of Jewish identity.
Talmud=annotation of the Misnah, the laws gleaned from the book of Numbers
There are 613 such laws dealing mostly with how a Jew shouldrelate
to God and to others, basically a text of ethical and moral behavior.
Talmud "interprets" these laws and endeavors to glean their meaning
Mit shayne dank = with many thanks
Mit a hartsikn dank = with heartfelt thanks
(i hope this little primer helps)
Leo Rosten's "The Joys of Yiddish" is an excellent little phrase book
of Yiddish words and expressions, highly recommended.