Thursday, December 24, 2015

Yiddish is Definitely NOT Written in the Hebrew Alphabet, And Other Things They Didn't Teach Me in Yiddish Class

D. is a brilliant young culture worker and tireless educator, teaching Yiddish (among other things) at all levels. He related this recent anecdote to me:
Yesterday morning, running out after my weekly Yiddish‬ club meeting at [redacted] in [redacted], I ran into a Russian-speaking woman who at that moment was looking at the blackboard in the classroom:  
"is that a Hebrew class?" 
"No, it's Yiddish."  
"But I am seeing it's written in Hebrew there... Yosl..." 
"Well, no, I'm saying, that's actually Yiddish, and that's the name of the composer, Yosl (Joseph) Rumshinsky written in Yiddish." 
"I speak Hebrew and I know it's Hebrew. They don't write Yiddish with Hebrew alphabet." -- at which moment I regretted I even got to the middle of that conversation and left.

I don't really understand what alphabet she thinks Yiddish is written in. I mean, it can be transliterated into many different alphabets but...Also, if she speaks Hebrew, how in a million years could she mistake Yiddish for Hebrew? SO MANY QUESTIONS FOR YOU, RANDOM BAD EXPLAINER LADY.