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December 26, 1969 - Image 27

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1969-12-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

" 28—Friday, December 26, 1969

Atlas o Ash kenazt e Jewry
&• •
Vast Study of I iddisli Aided by Computer

Yiddish, the language of Central
and East European Jews for a
millenium, is the subject of a
computer-aided linguistic study at
Columbia University.
The study, involving 500 in-depth
interviews in several countries.
will result in a definitive atlas of
Yiddish; the "Language and Cul-
ture Atlas of Ashkenazic Jewry."
Now being prepared it will con-
tain hundreds of maps document-
ing the geographical distribution
of variations in the use and mean-
ing of words, pronunciation, idioms
and grammatical patterns, which
existed among the Yiddish-speak-
ing Jews (Ashkenazic Jewry) until
the spread of Nazism. The atlas
also will show regional differences
in customs and cultural practices,
which constitute a people's folk-
"The concept underlying the

atlas is that language and cul-
ture vary in time and space,"
said Marvin I. Herzog, associate
professor of linguistics and Yid-
dish studies at Columbia and

printed computer sheets.
A sense of urgency has prompted
the work on the atlas. "The oppor-
tunity for face-to-face descriptive
study of European Jewry, rapidly
slipping from us, is bound to the
remaining lifetime of surviving
emigrants from those areas. What
we do not collect in the coming
decade or so will be lost forever !
• • What was too obvious for
study only yesterday has suddenly
become precious," wrote the late
Prof. Uriel Weinreich of Columbia

;cars ago.

Professor Weinreich, who was
Atran Professor of Yiddish Lan-
guage, Literature and Culture at
the university and former chair-
man of the department of lin-
guistics, initiated the atlas proj-
ect in 1959 and directed it un-
til his death in 1967 at age 40.

Prof. Herzog. his friend and
associate, succeeded him as direc-
tor. Most members of the project
staff are connected with Columbia
as faculty members and present or
former graduate students.
Field work for the project, in-
voking interviews primarily in the
United States, Israel and Canada,
is virtually complete. To obtain
the information for the atlas, the
map of Eastern Europe was divid-
ed into 500 regions. Each region
constituted a basic geographic

unit for which an informant was
sought. All informants had emi-
cities in Israel. Some were found
in Montreal, Mexico City, and Al-
sace, France.
Researchers asked each inform-
ant up to 3.000 speci`ic questions,
detailed in a 220-page question-
naire. They sought to establish,

U.S. Universities More Receptive

to Judaic Studies, Hillel Reports

GROSSINGER, N. Y. (JTA) — ciation of Hillel Directors for three
director of the atlas project. American universities are increas- seats on the 67-member commission
"Our object is to determine the ingly receptive to inclusion of ac- ! is now under study by a special
location of the boundaries be- credited Judaic study courses in ' committee of the cornmission.
tween variants and to infer their curricula, a Bnai Brith Hillel Earlier this year. the commission
from location whatever is possi- Foundations study reported here. p authorized the inclusion of four
ble about the history of the Ian-
Preliminary findings of a survey student representatives with full
guage and its speakers."
of more than 200 major institutions voting powers into its ranks. A
Members of a linguistic research indicated a general acceptance student proposal for four addition-
team associated with the project among college administrations to al seats also is under study.
have interviewed hundred of "in- recognize the; "academic authen-
Rabbi Robert P. Jacobs, Hillel
15 hours, were recorded and ticity" of such study courses.
director at Washington University,
transcribed. The information in the
The findings, reported at the Hil- St. Louis, elected president of the
transcripts has been sorted out lel directors' annual conference. Hillel directors' association, said
and printed in a uniform pattern • also indicated—on the basis of that his group's proposal con-
with the aid of Columbia's com- , spot checks—about a doubling in formed to the practice in the aca-
puter facilities. The maps of the attendance since 1905 among stu- demic community where Hillel di-
atlas are being prepared from the dents enrolling in courses of Jo- rectors serve and where joint ad-
daism studies.
! ministration-faculty student policy
The increase in the number of boards are prevalent. "In this in-
courses as well as in departments stance. Hillel directors are the
of Jewish studies was attributed equivalent of the faculty." he said. •
/0 LitiZ• l'ClICC Sil1/7CW /Cr primarily to both individual and At a closing banquet session, the
organized efforts by Jewish stu- • directors honored Ra 7 )bi Samuel
dents and faculty. stimulated in , Perlman of Boston University and
some measure by the success of Rabbi Meyer Greenberg of Mary-
black student demands for black land University on their 25th an-
study courses.
niversaries with Hillel, and Rabbi
However, the preliminary find- Maurice Zigmond. who retired last
ings showed that Jewish students year after also serving with Hillel
have been able to make their case for 25 years.
in negotiations with college admin-
istration. No instance of a need
for "confrontation tactics" has JDC Appoints
showed up yet in the survey, which
is being conducted by Dr. Alfred Director for France
Jospe, Hillel director of program
NEW YORK—Albert A. Hutler,
and resources.
social work administrator and
The directors, in a proposal former associate executive director
that appears to be a precedent
in management-employe rela- of the Jewish Federation of Chi-
tions among Jewish institutions, cago, has been named Joint Distri-
Petitioned for voting representa- bution Committee country director
tion on the Hillel Foundations' for France, it was announced by
national commission, its highest Samuel L. Haber, JDC executive
policy body.
Mr. and Mrs. Martin Ilkow of
In France, Huller will work with
A request by the National Asso-
Plainview Ave. announce the en-
the Fonds Social Juif Unifie, the
gagement of their daughter Bever-
central French fund-raising and
ly Birgitta to Lawrence Steven Czech Jews Abroad
social planning organization, in
Stillwater, son of Dr. and Mrs.
the facilities and serv-
Karl Stillwater of Pennington Ave. May Lose Citizenship
ices needed to complete the inte-
Mr. Stillwater attends Wayne
LONDON (JTA) — A number of gration of some 250,000 North
State University.
Czechoslovakians living abroad African Jews who have settled in
may be deprived of their citizen- France in the past few years.
A June wedding is planned.
ship as a result of amendments to There are now 550,000 Jews in
the citizens law recently passed by France, Haber noted.
Y Uses Informal Methods the Czech N
ounci . The The JDC channels its financial
to Teach Children Wide amendments ational
authorize the minis- and technical assistance to the
try of interior to rescind the na- French Jewish community through
Range of Jewish Lore
tionality of persons who left the the FSJU, Haber said. The JDC
country "illegally" and failed to receives its funds mainly from the
ing a Hebrew vocabulary for every- return
within a stipulated time campaigns of the United Jewish
day use is one of the features of after being notified by the minis- Appeal.
experimental program for 5 to 10- try.
year-old children at the northwest i According to a spokesman for the
Huller first came in touch with
branch of the Jewish Ys and Cen- Council of Jews from Czechoslo- both ADC and French Jews right
World War II. Then a cap-
ters of Philadelphia. The program
here, this could affect Jews
seeks to provide an informal Jew- who fled Czechslovakia at the time ' Lain in the U.S Army, he was ap-
ish education in group work and of the Soviet-led invasion in August pointed by the American Military
play settings, involving the Jewish 1968 and who have not returned.
Government as chief of its Dis-
heritage, Israeli folk singing and
The amendments also permit the ; placed Persons Section for the 7th
dancing and celebration of holiday state to withdraw citizenship from Army. Landing in Normandy four
events, according to Rose Breslau, persons who allegedly harm the days after D-Day, two of the first
director of the program.
vital interests of Czechoslovakia people he met were Major Haber ,
The younger boys and girls enjoy abroad, who possess a second na- and Edward M. M. Warburg, JDC
dramatizing stories from Jewish tionality or have lived abroad for honorary chairman, then also a
Hebrew folklore, she said. Cooking more than five years without valid captain in the U.S. Army.
"Yiddish soul food" and making Czechoslovakian papers. Another
As DP Section chief, Maier was
Jewish symbolic objects from provision covers persons affiliated responsible for the administration
wood and other materials are pop- with organizations deemed hostile of 11 D.P. camps in Germany.
ular with the older children. Rec- to the state.
I One of his first jobs was to re-
ognizing Jewish motifs in contem-
patriate some 395,000 French and
porary songs and dances is an
True generosity gives recogni- other nationals who had been sent
other favored learning technique. tion
—Goethe. to labor camps in Germany.

Bcverli. Ilkow Faint crl

, formants"

on different regions.
grated from their native land.
Some were located with ease.
others only after considerable
search. Many are now residents of
New York, and many others of
The interviews, lasting from 12 to
for example, an informant's plural
form of the word "wagon" in Yid-
dish, found to vary geographically;
or which of two common pronounc-
iations for the words "meat" or
"come" were prevalent in his re-
gion, or what kinds of food were
associated with the celebration of
the Jewish New Year.

Relevant information was fre-
quently obtained from free con-
versation with the informant.
"We were trying to elicit infor-
mation without having the in-
formant become self-conscious,"
Prof. Herzog said, "and this can
often be best accomplished
through spontaneous conversa-
tion. When the interviewer asks,
for example, how meat was made
kosher in a given region, he si-
multaneously obtained a spon-
taneous pronunciation of the
word for meat, and its gender
which varies regionally, as well
as information about a local

"The tapes of these interviews
are a permanent living archive of
a language and culture," Prof.
Herzog added. "It will take a va-
riety of specialists to exhaust the
material contained in them."
The transcripts are in the Ro-
man alphabet modified by special
phonetic symbols to convey accur-
ately the nuances of pronunciation.
The data they contain are key-
punched and stored on magnetic
computer tape. After sorting they
are printed by the comuter in a
manner that provides all answers
to a single question at a glance.
The existence of variations' suit
able for mapping can then be ef-
ficiently established.
Financial support for the proj-
ect at Columbia was provided first
by the National Science Founda- ,
lion and subsequently by the Na -
tonal Institute of Mental Health.

Israel Fund Contributions
40 Pct. Ahead—Pincus

TEL AVIV (.ITM — The chair-
. man of the Jewish Agency report-
ed that initial contributions to this
year's Israel Emergency Fund
campaign abroad are running 40
per cent ahead of the same period
last year.
Louis A. Pinfcus made the report
on his return from a visit to the
United States. Canada and Europe
on behalf of fund-raising organiza-

In godless times one must be
gay. It is a duty. —Franz Kafka.

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