Remaining alive in silence? Melekh Ravitch as Yiddish Catalyst: Montreal, 1941-1954

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The leading member of a group of wartime refugees who settled in Montreal between 1938 and 1948 was the Warsaw Yiddish poet and essayist Melech Ravitch (1893–1976). This paper focuses on Ravitch’s literary and cultural activities in Montreal from his arrival in 1941 through his departure for Israel in 1954, notably his activity with the Jewish Public Library as well as his writing. It suggests that while Ravitch had been among the most prominent and vocal proponents of Yiddish culture in prewar Poland, his relationship with Yiddish would shift in Montreal against a wider background of global change. That is, while he continued to write and publish widely in Yiddish, including new poetry as well as his own memories of the Jewish world he had known, he would not promote Yiddish culture as a core expression of Jewishness as he once had. Ultimately, he sought out and participated in a revitalization of wider Jewish culture in Yiddish but not necessarily for Yiddish.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-209
Number of pages18
JournalEast European Jewish Affairs
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

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