Lectures on Yiddish in Odessa Holocaust Museum

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On January 20, 2019 the WJC YC representative Tetyana Batanova provided two lectures about Yiddish language, literature and history at the Holocaust Museum in Odessa, Ukraine.

The lectures were organized by the International Yiddish Center of the World Jewish Congress together with Odessa Holocaust Museum in order to provide Jewish community members, as well as broader audience of local Odessa audience (students, university lecturers, teachers) with Jewish historical and Yiddish cultural and linguistic knowledge.

Tetyana's talks dealt with the following topics: "Ukrainian-Jewish relations in the XIX-XXI centuries in the light of poetry: Yiddish poets and their Ukrainian poets/translators" and "Lebn vi Got in Odes: Odessa in the Yiddish language, literature and culture".

The Yiddish idiom "Lebn vi Got in Odes", literally 'To live like God in Odessa', is parallel to English "To live like God in France", meaning 'to enjoy one's life'.

Over 30 people attended the lectures. The lectures included notes to linguistic, cultural and political history of Yiddish and Jews in Central-Eastern Europe, in particular in Ukraine and Odessa.

The first lecture provided a historical overview of Yiddish literature in Ukraine and focused on original Yiddish poems by Velvl Zbarzher, Morris Rosenfeld, Osher Shvartsman, Dovid Hofstein, Leyb Kvitko, Itzik Manger and Avrom Sutzkever, as well as on Yiddish-Ukrainian translations made by famous Ukrainian poets Ivan Franko and Pavlo Tychyna and contemporary translators Valeria Bohuslavska and Oleksandra Uralova.

Both lectures were conducted in a friendly manner, with plenty of questions, answers, and jokes. The audience has been motivated to learn more about Yiddish language, culture and history.

Tetyana Batanova is a Yiddish teacher at the "Kyiv-Mohyla Academy" National University and a researcher at the Judaica department of V. Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine.