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Production   /  Jeff Daniels

Welcome to Yiddishland

This feature-length observational documentary is a big story about a little-known subculture making a significant impact

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Impact areas

ARTS

HUMAN RIGHTS & SOCIAL JUSTICE

Crew

  • DIRECTOR Ros Horin

  • PRODUCER Jeff Daniels

Synopsis

DURATION: 90 MINUTES

WELCOME TO YIDDISHLAND takes us inside the Art and practices of a diverse and international group of innovative, radical artists, who are creating new works about the important issues of our time in the endangered Yiddish language . Our film asks why they create in Yiddish, what it means to them personally and professionally, and what obstacles they must overcome to revive this richly expressive language. In the end, as we see these Artists come together in a joyous, vibrant, international festival to share their works, their skills, and their passion with the next generation, we witness the blossoming of a Yiddish cultural renaissance.

Support this project

11.01% funded
  • $400,000.00

    FUNDING GOAL
  • $44,050.00

    FUNDS RAISED
  • 1st January 1970

    PROJECT ENDS
  • 7

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Donations

Karen Pearlman $50.00
Anonymous $10,000.00
Bori Liberman $18,000.00
Isaac Apel $5,000.00
Sam Perla $1,000.00
Karen Loblay $5,000.00
Morry Fraid $5,000.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

We are living in a world that is increasingly polarized, and dominated by right-wing nationalist agendas that espouse racist, antisemitic agendas full of hate. This film is an antidote to that. It will be full of love and joy. Yiddishland espouses progressive, inclusive values and is truly multicultural. It is vitally important to make this positive film that celebrates Jewish creativity and its cultural and artistic contributions to the world.

Impact

What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

This film is a celebration of diversity and artistic expression. It honours Jewish creativity and Jewish cultural and artistic contributions to the world, and in doing so combats antisemitic, racist, and nationalist agendas. The film raises awareness about the endangered status of the rich and vibrant Yiddish language and identity, uncovering what is lost when people don’t speak up to authoritarianism. It advocates for the conservation of the Yiddish culture.

Outcomes

What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

Short-term outcomes we hope to achieve include shifting the persecution-centred narrative of Jewish people, to present instead a positive and empowered depiction of Jewishness. We hope our audience leaves with a sense of inspiration and hope for this culture’s future. We also wish to contextualise the Yiddish language and increase our audience’s knowledge of the history of the Yiddish language, its status as a UNESCO endangered language, and its global renaissance.

Aspired medium and long-term outcomes are an increased participation in Yiddish arts and culture. We hope our audiences will seek out Yiddish language performances in their city. We also hope audiences will be inspired to help conserve the Yiddish language, by supporting the organisations that are safeguarding it, or even learning to speak Yiddish themselves. We hope this will lead to new opportunities for Yiddish speaking performers and writers, and that the celebration of this language and culture will spread.

Activities

How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

Our documentary will achieve its outcomes by partnering with philanthropic and community organisations to host screenings and Q&As at schools, community centres, arts organisations, and Jewish cultural organisations. There we will discuss the process of working with artists as they have created their work in the Yiddish language, and explore how and why they contributed to the preservation of the language and culture of Yiddish.

Stakeholders

How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

In order to gain access to some of the most exciting Yiddish performance artists working today, we have formed relationships with Yiddish cultural institutions globally such as the Kadimah Yiddish Theatre in Melbourne, the Congress for Jewish Culture in New York, the Klezkanada Yiddish Festival in Montreal, and the Yiddish Summer Weimar in Germany. These relationships have helped us gain access to the work and expertise of renowned performers and academics internationally including Barrie Kosky, Dr. Rivka Margolis, Daniel Khan, Tomi Kalinski, and Arnold Zable to name a few.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

Shifting the persecution-centred narrative of Jewish people, to present instead a positive and empowered depiction of Jewishness.
To contextualise the Yiddish language and increase our audience’s knowledge of the history of the Yiddish language, its status as a UNESCO endangered language, and its global renaissance.
We hope our film will lead to new opportunities for Yiddish speaking performers and writers, and that the celebration of this language and culture will spread.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

Our main indicator of success would be engaging new audiences with the Yiddish language and its unique ability to express issues of persecution and marginalisation after centuries of authoritarian rule. In this way, Yiddish speaks to the concerns of young people today such as racism, the refugee crisis, and gender identity. We hope our audiences will seek out Yiddish language performances in their city. We also hope audiences will be inspired to help conserve the Yiddish language, by supporting the organisations that are safeguarding it, or even learning to speak Yiddish themselves. We hope this will lead to new opportunities for Yiddish speaking performers and writers, and that the celebration of this language and culture will spread.