Following the very successful EuroJudaica 2007 Festival, in Sibiu, the Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania (FEDROM) decided to develop another cultural project, one dedicated to the “World of Yiddish”.
Thus, the Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania, with the generous support of the European Jewish Fund, the Ministry of Culture and National Patrimony and the Department for Interethnic Relations, organized the first edition of the Festival of Yiddish Language and Culture, on September 2-5, 2010. This period was chosen in order to coincide with the European Day of Jewish Culture.
The purpose of the project was to promote and preserve the Yiddish language and culture – as a part of the Romanian and European linguistic and cultural diversity.
By having integrated many components of the Yiddish language and culture, both traditional and contemporary, the larger audience was offered a most varied image of the Jewish world.
This was accomplished due to the following events:
Press conference (with audience) – the presentation of the Festival’s schedule and its purposes (the written and audio-visual media was present there, as well as about 80 spectators):
Panels and lectures (most of all, the audience included specialists from the academic and cultural environment, as well as university and high-school students): From “The Green Tree” to Broadway – four lecturers – audience: cca 80 persons; The Shtetl and its Universe – 5 lecturers – audience: cca 80 persons; Yiddishland – 4 lecturers – audience: cca 60 persons; Mammelushn – 3 lecturers – audience: cca 50 persons.
Documentary film projections: “They Faded Out like the Wind…” – the story of the Barasheum Theater – audience: cca 90 persons; Itzic Manger – cca 120 persons
Theater: The Fools of Helem (The State Jewish Theater) – audience: cca 200 persons ; “Alein ist die Neshume rein” – “Alone, the Soul is Pure” – Yiddishpiel Theater – Israel – audience: cca 250 persons; Yiddish Experience – an alternative show of theater and music (Maia Morgenstern) – audience: cca 220 persons.
Concerts of traditional music and dance: Concert by the Vienna Klezmer Band (Austria) – audience: cca 300 persons ; Concert by the Hakeshet Klezmer Band (Romania)Y Show of Jewish Dances – The “Hora” Group (Romania) Y Concert by the Mames Babegenush Klezmer Band (Denmark) – audience: cca 800 persons (a three-hour show, outdoors) ; Concert by the Mazel Tov Klezmer Band (Romania) Y Concert by the Preβburger Klezmer Band (Slovakia) – audience: cca 600 persons (a two-hour show, outdoors) ; Concert by the Klezmer Band of Botoşani – September 5 – (it is not included in the printed schedule, since they agreed to sing just three days before the Festival) – cca 220 persons.
Other events: Religious service and traditional meal for Shabbat – cca 200 persons ; Tour of the Great Synagogue from Bucharest (three visiting days) – cca 130 persons ; Tour of the History Museum of the Jews from Romania – cca 50 persons.
This project entailed an intercultural dialogue, since mutual influences between European cultures of our time were underlined, as well as the role of the Jews in spreading this inter-dependence.
The variety of events and activities of the festival attracted several types of audience: inhabitants of Bucharest, most of them young (university and high-school students), an academic audience, professionals of culture and education, members of other ethnic minorities from Romania, representatives of Jewish communities from Europe, etc.
Due to this festival, the larger audience had access to various possibilities of expressing the Yiddish language and culture. This also encouraged the acknowledgement of the mutual influences between the Yiddish and Romanian culture, and developed an interest of the audience for the Yiddish literature, theater and music. The Festival pointed out the contribution of the Yiddish culture to the development of the Romanian and universal cultural patrimony, as well as its influences, as an expression of a way of life in certain areas of Romania, where Yiddish speakers could be found in great numbers.