© 2015

Yiddish and Power

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-6
  2. A Yiddish Romance with Powerlessness

    1. Dovid Katz
      Pages 7-24
  3. Old Yiddish in Western Ashkenaz

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 25-25
    2. Dovid Katz
      Pages 27-44
    3. Dovid Katz
      Pages 45-71
    4. Dovid Katz
      Pages 72-83
    5. Dovid Katz
      Pages 127-158
    6. Dovid Katz
      Pages 159-173
  4. Transition in the West

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 175-175
    2. Dovid Katz
      Pages 177-188
  5. Rise in the East

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 201-201
    2. Dovid Katz
      Pages 203-223
    3. Dovid Katz
      Pages 224-245
    4. Dovid Katz
      Pages 246-256
  6. Modernity

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 257-257
    2. Dovid Katz
      Pages 259-274

About this book


Yiddish and Power surveys the social, linguistic and intellectual history of the Yiddish language within the traditional civilisation of Jewish Ashkenaz in central, and then in eastern Europe, and its interaction with the surrounding non-Jewish culture. It explores the various ways in which Yiddish has empowered masses and served political agendas.


Yiddish language Yiddish literature Ashkenaz Yiddish+women Yiddish+antisemitism Yiddish+Kabbalah culture language Tradition

About the authors

Dovid Katz is an international authority on Yiddish and Ashkenazic Jewish culture. He founded Yiddish studies at Oxford University, where he taught for 18 years, and then in Vilnius, where he was professor of Yiddish in Vilnius for 11 years. He has published many academic works in Yiddish studies in addition to three collections of original Yiddish fiction. He is also a leader of the movement against Holocaust revisionism in Eastern Europe. His websites are and

Bibliographic information


“Katz’s book invites scholars of Yiddish and of vernacular languages generally, especially those spoken by minority peoples living in a diaspora, to think expansively about a language’s potential to empower its speakers. In the case of Yiddish, this approach is key to considering the state of the language today and tracking its future.” (Jeffrey Shandler, Journal of Jewish Languages, Vol. 4, 2016)