For years I have been hearing secular Jews tell me that Yiddish is dead.
Meanwhile, people have continued to speak Yiddish but, if you listen to the rest of the world, they don’t exist or, maybe, don’t count.
While languages with maybe a 100,000 speakers are acknowledged as thriving, Yiddish, with a current population of several hundred thousand and several newspapers that survive solely on advertising ( Der Yid, Algemeiner Tsaytung, etc.), we are told is dead.
Well, you could have fooled me.
Zelda Kahan Newman, writing in the current issue of the Forward, the English edition of the oldest Yiddish newspaper still publishing in the world, makes just this point. Her article is really worth reading if you want to know the emes (truth) about contemporary Yiddish.
Why doesn’t Haredi Yiddish count? An interesting question, to be sure. More people speak Yiddish than Icelandic, Estonian and any number of “official” languages. Why the resistance against Yiddish?