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Book Launch: Jewish People, Yiddish Nation – Oct 18, 2011

Jewish People, Yiddish Nation: Noah Prylucki and the Folkists in Poland

Oct 18, 2011

The official launch of the new book by Professor Kalman Weiser. Featuring a special musical performance by Marilyn Lerner and David Wall

Linguist, folklorist, journalist, and politician Noah Prylucki (1882–1941) was a champion of Yiddishism, a movement that promoted secular Yiddish culture as the basis for Jewish collective identity in the twentieth century. Prylucki’s dramatic path – from russified Zionist raised in a Ukrainian shtetl, to Diaspora nationalist parliamentarian in metropolitan Warsaw, to professor of Yiddish the University of Vilnius in Soviet Lithuania – uniquely reflects the dilemmas and competing options facing the Jews of this era as life in Eastern Europe underwent radical transformation. Using hitherto unexplored archival sources, memoirs, interviews, and materials from the vibrant interwar Jewish and Polish presses, Professor Kalman Weiser investigates the rise and fall of Yiddishism and of Prylucki’s political party, the Folkists, in the post-World War One era. Jewish People, Yiddish Nation reveals the life of a remarkable individual and the fortunes of a major cultural movement that has long been obscured. Professor Weiser will discuss his research, present selected passages from the book and participate in a Q and A.

Illustrating the continuing relevance of the Yiddishist movement, two of Toronto’s leading interpreters of Yiddish song, Marilyn Lerner and David Wall, will present new musical settings of Yiddish folksong texts collected by Prylucki himself.