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 subtle heritage is the 1st book-length exploration of the sexual politics underlying the "marriage" of Hebrew and Yiddish, and it has profound implications for figuring out the centrality of language offerings and ideologies within the building of contemporary Jewish id. Seidman quite examines this sexual-linguistic process because it formed the paintings of 2 bilingual authors, S.Y. Abramovitsh, the "grand-father" of contemporary Hebrew and Yiddish literature; and Dvora Baron, the 1st glossy lady author in Hebrew (and a author in Yiddish as well). She additionally offers an research of the jobs that Hebrew "masculinity" and Yiddish "femininity" performed within the Hebrew-Yiddish language wars, the divorce that eventually ended the wedding among the languages.
Theorists have lengthy debated the function of parents within the child's courting to language. Seidman offers the Ashkenazic case as an illuminating instance of a society within which "mother tongue" and "father tongue" are essentially 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 experiences and Yiddish literary background.

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Additional resources for A Marriage Made in Heaven: The Sexual Politics of Hebrew and Yiddish (Contraversions: Critical Studies in Jewish Literature, Culture, and Society)

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The grandmother is impoverished and has no family connections; her chalitse shoe attests to her being both widowed and rejected by her dead husband's brother ("chalitse" is the ceremony described in Deuteronomy 24:10 in which a childless widow whose dead husband's brother refuses to marry her "to establish a name in Israel for his brother" performs a release ceremony of unshoeing him and spitting in his face). The allusion thus presents Yiddish as both widowed and scorned-doubly bereft, that is, of a male partner.

Thousands of people waited at each train station, thousands of people jostled and pushed each other to approach him, happy if they managed to shake his hand or even just catch a glimpse of his face. In Lodz ten thousand people waited outside the hotel where Abramovitsh was lodging. Ladies stood in brightly colored dresses with bouquets in their hands. The cry was periodically heard: " Long live Mendele! " And when the writer appeared for an instant in the window or on the balcony, the shouts continued without cease.

To complicate the problem, "modernity" swept over Jewish communities in waves, taking different forms in the lives of specific individuals widely separated in time and space. im of educating the masses in general, still found themselves addressing a primarily female audience as late as the last few decades of the nineteenth century. Reversing the sixteenth-century project of translating Hebrew texts into Yiddish so Jewish women would not be tempted to read German literature, Yiddish literature was now used to draw Jewish women, and their husbands, toward the secular sphere.

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