Yiddish, they tell us, is the ever-dying language.
Don’t tell that to the organizers of the bold weeklong tribute to Yiddish and Jewish arts known as KulturfestNYC, the first international Jewish performing arts festival, taking place across Manhattan from June 14-21.
Efforts to reduce the heavy economic burden on Jewish families who send their children to religious day schools can receive a belated but much-needed boost from New York State next week, but opposition from some labor unions may stand in the way.
Wednesday, June 3 was designated this year as “Jewish Unity Day,” established by the City of Jerusalem and Gesher, an organization that seeks to close the gap among Jews of different denominations. It comes a year after the kidnapping and murder of three teenage boys in Israel, a tragedy that, however briefly, brought the country together and linked Jews of the diaspora with their brothers and sisters in the Jewish state.
Consider the millennials, three dozen of whom are profiled in our annual 36 Under 36 section, a special supplement in this week’s paper; they are the generation born between 1980 and 2000. They’re self-absorbed (55 percent of them have shared a selfie, compared with 24 percent of Gen-Xers); they’re unmoored from religion (nearly 30 percent say they’re not affiliated with any religion, compared with 21 percent of Gen-Xers); and they’re distrustful of people (only 19 percent said that most people can be trusted, compared with 31 percent of Gen-Xers). That’s data culled from a 2014 Pew Research Center study.
It is as intimate as any hour in the Jewish year, the half-light of Shavuot near dawn, after the all-night learning when it is time for early prayer and then rising for the reading of the Ten Commandments. Yes, most of the world is still asleep, but most of the world was “sleeping” at Sinai, too. Legend has it that every other nation on the planet was offered the Torah first, but declined, politely and otherwise. Only the Israelites said yes, and even then with a threatening mountain held above them, and the skies a wild concoction of a desert storm, thunder, lightening and a rain, say the mystics, that was reminiscent of Noah’s.