...when I have formed the sounds, said the words out loud, those who had assumed Yiddish was a language of the past only, suddenly felt it had been revived. As my tongue, mouth, lips, throat, lungs physically pushed Yiddish into the world—as I, a Jew, spoke a Jewish language to other Jews—Yiddish was very much alive. Not unlike a lebn geblibene, a survivor, of an overwhelming catastrophe, it seemed to be saying 'khbin nisht vos ikh bin amol geven. I am not what I once was. Ober 'khbin nisht geshtorbn. Ikh leb. But I did not die. I live.
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.