Article by Danny Trom

Mendy Cahan is an actor, singer, and collector of books, all in Yiddish… He has stored 90,000 of them in an unlikely location in the Tel Aviv bus station. The piles of accumulated books seem to hold up the walls. And it is in this piece of Eastern Europe stuck in a zone of the Middle East that those who frequent this place gather to revive a Yiddish language that has become a minority in the middle of Hebrew. Visit the Yung Yiddish and meet its creator.

After having read Philippe Sands’ essay East West Street, Danny Trom visited Lemberg, once Polish and now Ukrainian, the town at the center of the book and toured in Galicia on the trail of his own heritage. The path of Lemkin and Lauterpacht, the two heroes of Sands’ bestseller, overlaps with those of Trom’s grandfather. Galicia, this was a land of crime and the epicenter of nascent international law. But why does Sands occlude the fact that this was also the birthplace of the Zionist dream, expressed in Yiddish?

    The writer measures the success of his work in the number of copies sold. No matter how self-confident he might be, sales at the bookstore matter to him….

How do we explain the return of pogrom imagery as Israel grapples with interethnic violence between Jews and Arabs? More than seven decades after the state’s founding and the end of the British Mandate, why does such language persist? Examining the spate of Jewish-Arab clashes, Danny Trom reflects on the political dimension of majority-minority relations in Israel.

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Thanks to the Paris office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation for their cooperation in the design of the magazine’s website.