Susan Weinberg, an author and artist from Minneapolis, will speak about her book, We Spoke Jewish: A Legacy in Stories, based on oral history interviews.
We Spoke Jewish explores the three waves of Jewish immigrants to the United States in the 20th century. Through artwork and oral history, it tells the stories of the Jews of early immigrant communities, the Holocaust survivors who came after the war, and the immigrants from the former Soviet Union who came in the latter part of the century.
What does it mean to “speak Jewish”? The phrase is often used to describe the Yiddish language, and among Eastern European Jews in the early part of the century, virtually everyone spoke Jewish. Many subsequent immigrants spoke Jewish in different ways. Survivors spoke the Jewish of remembrance, carrying the memory of once thriving Jewish communities and the people who populated them. Immigrants from the former Soviet Union could not openly practice Judaism, but they spoke the Jewish of culture, carrying their heritage forward through song, food, and, of course, story.
We Spoke Jewish explores how these three groups spoke Jewish through language, memory, and culture, forming an important part of Jewish identity.