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Taking Yiddish On The Road

Taking Yiddish On The Road

The variety show that toured four local Jewish communities in recent weeks is “Saturday Night Live” meets “Sesame Street,” its adult and children cast members might explain.

But they’d probably explain in Yiddish.

The show, Kids & Yiddish, the outreach arm of the Folksbiene-National Yiddish Theater, marked its 12th anniversary by reaching out beyond its home stage at Baruch College in Manhattan and entertaining families in the Bronx and Long Island. At their performance at Temple Emanuel in Great Neck, pictured here, the actors and actresses played before an enthusiastic multi-generational audience.

“We did very well,” says Motl Didner, Folksbiene’s associate artistic director.

The annual family show, which, under the direction of Joanne Borts, often takes place around holidays like Purim or Chanukah, is geared to children as “an introduction to Yiddish language and culture,” Didner says.

Although much of the Yiddish-speaking world disappeared during the Holocaust, interest in the mama loshen — Yiddish for the Eastern European mother tongue — is growing, he says. Not only in haredi circles, Didner says. “There are still remnants of non-chasidic Yiddishist communities.”

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