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Words on Fire
The Unfinished Story of Yiddish
by Dovid Katz
This title presents a major new history of the Yiddish language, its culture and its literature - with a provocative argument about its future as a living language. From its ancient roots in Hebrew and Aramaic, through its rise as the common language of Jews in medieval Europe to its blossoming as sophisticated modern literature, the story of Yiddish mirrors the history, tenacity and humour of the Jewish People. In Words on Fire, leading Yiddish scholar Dovid Katz recounts the sweeping history of this evocative and multifaceted language. Although a secular Yiddish culture no longer exists, Katz argues that its resurgence among religious Jewish communities ensures that Yiddish will still be a thriving language in the twenty-first century. Gracefully narrated and generously illustrated, Words on Fire is a definitive account of this remarkable language and the culture that created and sustained it.
Paperback, 512 pages. Published by Basic Books, 2007.