- Yankl-Peretz Blum
- Naftali Ejdelman
- Jordan Kutzik (Chair)
- Julie Leye Sugar
- Meena-Lifshe Viswanath (Treasurer)
has been active in the Yiddish cause for most of his life. When he was sixteen, he started a Yiddish class in his high school and taught it himself. Since then, he has taught Yiddish privately and in various Jewish instistutions including the Workmens Circle, Temple Beth Israel in Boston, and as president of the Brandeis University Yiddish Club. His dream is to live in the country on an organic farm among other Yiddish speakers. In order to actualize this vision, he has helped found Yiddish Farm, an organization which runs Yiddish immersion programs on an organic farm in Goshen, New York.
Yiddish is not the first language Yankl-Peretz spoke, but he considers that a mere fluke of history that he has dedicated himself to correcting. His grandfather was a typesetter in the Forverts, and his aunt (צו לאַנגע יאָרן) is a Yiddishist who was involved with Yugntruf and raised her kids with Yiddish. Yankl-Peretz missed out on much Yiddish in his childhood years, but now he’s making up for lost time. After college he moved to New York City, and now speaks Yiddish with most of his friends there, many of whom he met through Yugntruf. All of his jobs also involve Yiddish, including freelancing as a Yiddish tutor. He lives in a “Yiddish Hoyz” in Brooklyn, a five-minute walk away from a community comprising tens of thousands of Yiddish speakers. His activities at Yugntruf include running the website, organizing svives, and helping provide Yiddish-learning opportunities.
Jordan Kutzik (Chair)
started learning Yiddish when he was about 16 in order to research the Holocaust from the perspective of Jewish survivor’s accounts and memorial books. After beginning to learn the language, however, he found that he was far more interested in the role of Yiddish in Jewish life and in the wealth of cultural and religious information, both through people and the written word, made available through it. Since discovering that the language, despite what he had grown up believing, is far from dead, he has dedicated much of his spare time to aiding networking among young Yiddish speakers. He is particularly interested in spreading resources to aid Yiddish speakers in raising Yiddish speaking children and is in the beginning stages of creating a multilingual website to that end. He joined Yugntruf in 2007 after being contacted by Arele Viswanath and became a board member in early 2008. He is a graduate of Rutgers University who majored in Spanish translation and Jewish studies and completed his undergraduate thesis on contemporary Yiddish language children’s pedagogical materials in the Hasidic World. He is currently a fellow at the Yiddish Book Center working on audio collections. He has studied Yiddish at Gratz College and at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute at Vilnius University.
Julie Leye Sugar
started learning Yiddish from her husband about six months after they started dating. Her responsibilities as a board member include working on the website, development, and the Yugntruf zhurnal (journal). Leye studied playwriting at Hunter College under playwright Tina Howe, and she works at the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life as Senior Associate for Leadership and Engagement.
Meena-Lifshe Viswanath (Treasurer)
has been speaking Yiddish her whole life – her first word (besides calling for a parent) was “ti-a,” a childish pronunciation of “tir,” or door, indicating that she wanted someone to open the door! She grew up with Yugntruf – her parents met at Yidish-vokh, she attended the Yiddish Sunday-school Pripetshik until age 15, and she has attended Yidish-vokh every year since she was born (23 and counting!). She is now a graduate student in Georgia Tech studying geotechnical engineering. Her responsibilites on the board include budget, publicity, the website, and Yidish-vokh.
is a native speaker of klal (Standard) Yiddish. Raised in a Conservative Yiddish-speaking household in New York City, her life-long friendship with other Yiddish-speaking children helped sustain this strong cultural theme within her Jewish identity. From age 2-12, she was part of Yugntruf’s playgroup, Pripetshik, for children from Yiddish-speaking homes. Her family has been attending Yidish-Vokh since 1977 and she has gone every year of her life. As a member of the Executive Board since she was 15, she plans events and designs Yugntruf’s promotional materials. She was most privileged to be the Director of Yidish-Vokh 2008-2011 and personally invites you to attend Yidish-Vokh 2012! Having just graduated from Northeastern University as an Architecture major, she finally has the time to enjoy wandering around Manhattan and imagining the future.
Judith Bro Pinhasik
has sixteen years’ experience in management and fundraising for health, education, environmental, and arts non-profit organizations. In the Yiddish world, Judith has been Yugntruf’s Development Director for four years and was Associate Director for Development for Living Traditions (KlezKamp). A former professional actor/singer, she has sung for fourteen years with the Jewish People’s Philharmonic Chorus, which performs works entirely in Yiddish Judith has a Certificate in Fundraising Management from New York University; she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Maryland with a BA in Political Science (Minor in Journalism) and an MA in Film History and Criticism. An actor for fifteen years, Judith is also a competent Yiddish speaker; her son, Joey, is learning Yiddish and Jewish culture at the Workmen’s Circle Midtown Shule. She has been a Yugntruf member–and has enjoyed shmuesing, singing, and sunning at Yidish-Vokh–for more than a decade.
Yiddish was held for Anye, and she was often given hints of its nearness; from Yiddish phrases and little conversations of her family, from the growth of the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, where she lived as a child, in the Yiddish songs and writing exercises at her summer camp Kinderland. She began to grasp something of what it meant to use Yiddish through the Yivo Summer Program, and then further in Kishinev Moldova, as a student of Yechiel Shraybman. After a break of a couple of years, Anye quickly and enthusiastically became a daily user of Yiddish through the example of her friends in Yungntruf, Yiddish Farm and in the blessed community of Baltimore, her new hometown. Since Yiddish Vokh 2010, she speaks with her mother only in mame-loshn, and is grateful for that blessing.