Skip to main content

Czernowitz Yiddish Language Conference

CZERNOWITZ YIDDISH LANGUAGE CONFERENCE

CZERNOWITZ YIDDISH LANGUAGE CONFERENCE , first international, interparty conference to deal with the role of Yiddish in Jewish life. It was held from August 30 to September 4, 1908. The idea of such a conference was first broached by Nathan *Birnbaum, and the original call was sent out by an organizing committee in New York consisting of Birnbaum, dramatists Jacob *Gordin and David *Pinski, the publisher A.M. Evalenko, and the philosopher Chaim *Zhitlowsky. The 70 delegates who went to Czernowitz (Chernovtsy), the principal Yiddish-speaking center of Bukovina, included representatives of all shades of Jewish opinion, from Zionist Hebraists to militant Bundists, and such diverse personalities as I.L. *Peretz, Abraham *Reisen, Sholem *Asch, H.D. *Nomberg, Noah *Prylucki, Matthias *Mieses, Mordecai *Spector, Gershom *Bader, and Esther (Lifshitz). The two leading Yiddish authors, S.Y. *Abramovitsh (Mendele Mokher Seforim) and *Shalom Aleichem, prevented by illness from attending the conference, endorsed its aims. The agenda included problems of orthography, grammar, literature, theater, press, translation of the Bible into Yiddish, and, above all, recognition of Yiddish as a national language of the Jewish people. Controversy raged between delegates who espoused Hebrew as the only Jewish national language and who looked upon Yiddish as a galut ("Diaspora") language to be discarded, and delegates who regarded Yiddish as the living Jewish language and Hebrew as the language solely of the past and of prayer. After long debates, a compromise resolution was adopted proclaiming Yiddish as a national language and asking for its political, cultural, and social equality with other languages. By using the expression "a national language" rather than "the national language," the conference wished to leave participants free to take any stand on Hebrew that accorded with their personal convictions. The conference aroused much discussion in the Jewish press. *Aḥad Ha-Am called it a Purim spectacle. Hillel *Zeitlin, Reuben *Brainin, and Morris *Rosenfeld ridiculed it, while S. *Niger and *Ba'al-Makhshoves defended it as an historic achievement. After the conference, Peretz, Asch, Reisen, and Nomberg undertook a tour of Jewish communities of Galicia and Bukovina to intensify interest in Yiddish language, literature, and culture. The conference heightened the prestige of Yiddish. It stimulated literary creativity, research, and publication in Yiddish, and laid the ideological basis for the later founding of *yivo.

bibliography:

yivo, Die Ershte Yidishe Shprakhkonferents (1931); S. Liptzin, Flowering of Yiddish Literature (1963), 175–7.

[Sol Liptzin]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Czernowitz Yiddish Language Conference." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Czernowitz Yiddish Language Conference." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/czernowitz-yiddish-language-conference

"Czernowitz Yiddish Language Conference." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved October 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/czernowitz-yiddish-language-conference

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.