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Canadians Hold Parley on Yiddish, Adopt Program Designed to Ensure Its Survival

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Eight hundred delegates and guests at a national conference here on the survival of the Yiddish language adopted a six-point program to strengthen Yiddish in Canada after hearing the famed Yiddish poet, Jacob Glatstein, and others speak on the significance of the language. They also heard the Quebec Minister of Cultural Affairs, Jean-Noel Tremblay, say that appeals to the past would not guarantee survival and that the conference must seek to utilize modern methods of communication.

The conference was organized by the Canadian Jewish Congress. Saul A. Hayes, its executive vice-president, stressed that many Canadian Jews considered Yiddish a precious treasure. The purpose of the parley, he said, was to recommend measures the CJ Congress could take to uphold the Yiddish language and culture in Canada.

The conference proposed that the CJ Congress establish a department and a national standing committee on the Yiddish language and culture, with a similar setup in each regional office, and that a campaign be launched among parents, teachers and educational officials to strengthen the importance of Yiddish in maintaining a national Jewish life. It urged that Yiddish be taught at all levels in Canadian Jewish schools and proposed introduction of Yiddish-language credit courses in high schools in the larger cities.

The conference recommended introduction and expansion of courses in Yiddish and Yiddish literature in Canadian universities and colleges and eventual establishment of a chair in Yiddish studies on the graduate school level. In other moves to strengthen Yiddish, the conference called for re-establishment of a Yiddish theater in Canada and establishment of a translation center. It also proposed a campaign to persuade Yiddish-speaking Canadians to declare Yiddish as their mother-tongue in the 1971 census.

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