Yitskhok Niborski: Yiddish at Medem, Paris; Leana Jelen: Yidish-Vokh

Jun 27, 201960 minutes


  • Yitskhok Niborski was born in Buenos Aires in 1947 and raised in a Yiddishist, secular family. He attended the Yiddish schools that then thrived in Buenos Aires and the Yiddish teachers' training academy (Lerer-Seminar), specializing in Yiddish literature. He moved to Paris in 1979 to take up a position as Director of the Medem Library while also teaching at the prestigious Ecole Nationale des Etudes Orientales. He remained at the head of the Medem Library for over thirty years, helping to turn the Medem Library-Paris Yiddish Center into one of the most active Yiddish institutions in the world. He has devoted his entire adult life to Yiddish education: in elementary schools, in classes for adults, and in universities. He participated in publishing several Yiddish dictionaries and textbooks, nobably the Verterbukh fun Loshn-koydesh Shtamike Verter in Yidish (first edition 1997) and the Dictionnaire Yiddish-Français (Yiddish-French Dictionary) (2002), both published by the Medem Library-Paris Yiddish Center. He has also written and published over twenty poems in Yiddish. See also:
  • The interviews are conducted by Sholem Beinfeld, who is Professor Emeritus of History at Washington University in St. Louis, and is perhaps best known as Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Comprehensive Yiddish-English Dictionary (Arumnemik Yidish-English Verterbukh), as well as a translator of Yiddish texts and creator of new subtitles for classic Yiddish movies. The Dictionary is based on the Yiddish-French Dictionary edited by Yitskhok Niborski and published by the Medem Library/Paris Yiddish Center. Sholem's connection with the Medem Library goes back many decades, beginning with his Fulbright Fellowship in Paris as a graduate student.
  • Today's show continues our series of interviews with activists on the Yiddish scene around the Paris Yiddish Center-Medem Library, which began Wednesday June 12 2019 with an interview with Ri J. (Reyze) Turner. Tonight's guest: Yitskhok Niborski
  • Other interviewees in this series are Ri J. (Reyze) Turner, whose interview was aired on June 12 2019, and Gilles Rozier, whose interview will be aired on an upcoming program, to be announced.
  • Note: watch for bonus podcast soon: we ran low on time, so not all of Niborski's interview could be aired at this time, so we'll put out the remainder in a bonus podcast.
  • Also: a talk with Leana Jelen, the Activities Coordinator for Yidish-Vokh, the annual summer Yiddish immersion summer camp organized by Yugntruf - Youth for Yiddish. See also:
  • Music
    • Leyke Post: Yiddish Redt Zikh Azoy Sheyn (Yiddish Sounds So Beautiful), accompanied by Rubin Ossofsky
    • Jan Pierce: Mai-Ko-Mashma-Lon
  • Intro instrumental music: DEM HELFANDS TANTS, an instrumental track from the CD Jeff Warschauer: The Singing Waltz

Air date: June 26, 2019

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