The Shtetl: A Vanishing World

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When the Jews were exiled from the Land of Israel, nearly two thousand years ago, they dispersed across many countries, fragmenting into small groups among widely divergent cultures and empires. The shtetls were settlements found all over Eastern Europe and the Baltic states where the exiled Jews lived. The word "shtetl" derives from Yiddish and means a small town or village. In these pockets of community, the Jewish people lived out their lives as one united people and created a viable and rich culture, primarily in Yiddish.

This week, we presented a lecture by Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel on the history and the significance of shtetls. In this lecture, professor Wiesel uses examples from his own personal experiences to describe the significance of living in a shtetl. He also points out the importance of remembering and celebrating the past especially in times when we need to reevaluate our place in the world.

This program aired on November 18, 2001.

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Robin Lubbock Videographer, Photographer
Robin Lubbock is a videographer and photographer for WBUR.



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