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Nash, Edith / Practice the here and now: selected writings of Edith Nash
(2001)

Nash, Edith
The joys of Yiddish,   p. 34


Page 34

The Joys of Yiddish34
When Leo Rosenberg and Priscilla Mead were about to marry (I had introduced
them to each other), Leo wrote us that he was changing his name to Leo Rosten.
As the author of ~ then running in the New Yorker, he said, "If Winter comes,
can Smith be far behind?" Philleo and I were living on Klamath Indian Reservation
in Oregon, doing anthropology. We were learning to value equally all cultures,
religions, and people.
 Leo said that the German Jews of the south side looked down on the immigrants
of Leo's tribe — Polish or Lithuanian Jews. I had no knowledge I belonged
to a German-Jewish tradition although my father often referred to Bavaria
as his father's country of origin. And then he boasted that there was a Sephardic
ancestor — those Jews expelled from Spain in 1492. I learned to look
up Yiddish words in Leo Rosten's The Joys of Yiddish. I never knew what any
of them meant, and Jewish students I met in college didn't believe I didn't
know them. They thought I was just hiding being a Jew.


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