A Marriage Made in Heaven: The Sexual Politics of Hebrew and by Naomi Seidman

By Naomi Seidman

With remarkably unique formulations, Naomi Seidman examines the ways in which Hebrew, the Holy Tongue, and Yiddish, the vernacular language of Ashkenazic Jews, got here to symbolize the masculine and female faces, respectively, of Ashkenazic Jewish tradition. Her refined heritage is the 1st book-length exploration of the sexual politics underlying the "marriage" of Hebrew and Yiddish, and it has profound implications for realizing the centrality of language offerings and ideologies within the building of recent Jewish identity.Seidman fairly examines this sexual-linguistic process because it formed the paintings of 2 bilingual authors, S.Y. Abramovitsh, the "grand-father" of recent Hebrew and Yiddish literature; and Dvora Baron, the 1st glossy girl author in Hebrew (and a author in Yiddish as well). She additionally presents an research of the jobs that Hebrew "masculinity" and Yiddish "femininity" performed within the Hebrew-Yiddish language wars, the divorce that finally ended the wedding among the languages.Theorists have lengthy debated the function of dad and mom within the kid's dating to language. Seidman offers the Ashkenazic case as an illuminating instance of a society within which "mother tongue" and "father tongue" are sincerely differentiated. Her paintings speaks to special concerns in modern scholarship, together with the psychoanalysis of language acquisition, the feminist critique of Zionism, and the nexus of women's reports and Yiddish literary historical past.

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Extra info for A Marriage Made in Heaven: The Sexual Politics of Hebrew and Yiddish (Contraversions, 7)

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What do you say to that? 44 While the Hebraist Bialik speaks of the "servant girl" as an understandably attractive choice for Sholem Aleichem, but one he should shun in favor of performing his proper duties to the "lady," the Yiddish humor magazine arouses the readers' sympathies rather for the "servant girl" who has been unfairly shunned by the Hebrew writer. What is expressed in Bialik's letter as duty properly triumphing over lust is transformed in the cartoon into bourgeois male arrogance and hypocritical respectability overcoming proper domestic and sexual responsibilities.

The ways in which Hebrew-Yiddish relations conformed simultaneously to both a gender and an economic hierarchy are illuminated in a passage in Chaim Grade's My Mother's Sabbaths. Blumele, reading aloud to her sick husband from a popular bilingual ethical text with the Hebrew above- and Yiddish below, is reminded of her work as a small produce seller. Her small shriveled head is buried in the large, yellowing pages, which are separated into two by a black line. Above is the Loshn-koydesh, beneath is the ivre-taytsh.

19 Women were more free than men not only to read Yiddish as opposed to Hebrew texts but also to read secular rather than religious literature. The different reading habits of men and women in nineteenth-century Eastern Europe are captured in the Yiddish writer Y. Y. Trunk's description of the two daughters of the Rabbi of Kalisch (1822-1889). These aristocratic maidens would seat themselves near the window and read thick-paged novels in German and Polish, their eyes streaming tears as they sighed over the throbbing passions described within.

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