Yiddish acted as the cement that bound the Jewish community together on a socialist foundation. What language we spoke was critical. It reflected our identity, our loyalty, our distinctness not only from the gentile environment, but from other Jews as well. The use of Yiddish was an expression not only of love of a language, but of pride in ourselves as a people; it was an acknowledgement of a historical and cultural yerushe, heritage, a link to generations of Jews who came before and to the political activists of Eastern Europe. Above all it was the symbol of resistance to assimilation, an insistence on remaining who we were.
Irena Klepfisz (b. 1941), U.S. Jewish lesbian author; born in Poland. "Secular Jewish Identity," 1986. Dreams of an Insomniac, part 4 (1990).
Klepfisz, a Jew born in Poland in 1941, escaped the 1943 Warsaw Uprising after her father was killed in its second day. After some years in Sweden, she and her mother emigrated to New York City–the only members of either side of the family to survive the Holocaust. She became an expert in, and teacher of, Yiddish.