So this is a conversation that I’ve been meaning to have for a long time and it just so happens that that one of the best people to speak to about this is none another than Molly Crabapple. We’ve been chatting about this topic for a long time as it was roughly my MA thesis at SOAS in 2016.
Molly however has a much more personal connection to Bundism as her great-grandfather, Sam Rothbort, was a Bundist. She wrote a moving piece about this for the New York Review of Books which you can read here. She’s now writing a book about the Jewish Labor Bund.
So who are these Bundists? How does Molly view the legacy of Bundism? What can we learn from the concept of ‘Doikayt’ (here-ness) that they believed in?
This is what this conversation is about. I also tried to – and, hopefully, succesfully – to convey why I, as someone of Palestinian and Lebanese origins with no direct ties to Judaism or the Yiddish language, was so interested in this movement. Long story short: I ended up spending half of my MA year (2015-2016) at SOAS studying the Jewish Labour Bund and, more specifically, how Yiddish and Hebrew were thought of within Bundism and Zionism.
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- Why Read Yehoash? on PaknTreger, Magazine of the Yiddish Book Center
- My Great-Grandfather the Bundist by Molly Crabapple
- Babel’s Blessing Language School in London (section for learning Yiddish here)
- The Politics of Hebrew and Yiddish: Zionism and Transnationalism by Avi Lang
- Remember the Jewish Labor Bund? by Alon Aviram for 972mag
- Oy Vey: Yiddish Has a Problem by Tanya Basu
- Popularity of Yiddish in Israel Today
- “I Have to Tell You, Your Yiddish is Very Strange”: Speaking Yiddish with Hasidim
- German Students of Yiddish: They Have to Understand the History
- Consequences of Using Yiddish in a German Class
- Why there won’t be a Yiddish revival in Israel
- My Husband’s Communist Jewish Family
- What Language Does the Sea Speak? Yiddish in Tel Aviv
- Bundism’s Influence Today (including Molly)
- Workmen’s Circle chorus singing the Bundist Youth Anthem
- “Everywhere you look” / “Hey, hey, down with the police!”
- London Klezmer Quartet at MAA – “Hey, hey, daloy politsey…”
- Yiddish-Anarchist song “In ale gasn/Hey, hey, daloy politsey!”(“Down with the Police”)
- In Ale Gasn/Hey Hey Daloy Politsey – Yiddish anarchist song – Live acoustic
- Di Shvue (song of the Jewish Bund)
- Bundism Inspired My Activism
- “Making a Space for Progressive Judaism”: Yiddish and Queer Yiddishkayt Workshops at UC Berkeley
- Oy, Ir Narishe Tsienistn (‘Oh you little Zionists’)
The lyrics to this one are quite something (it’s in Yiddish, English and Russian):
Oh you foolish little Zionists
With your utopian mentality
You’d better go down to the factory
And learn the worker’s reality
You want to take us to Jerusalem
So we can die as a nation
We’d rather stay in the Diaspora
And fight for our liberation”
- “Bundists and Yiddishists” – Jack Jacobs