NEW YORK (Nov. 5)
Israel Bashevis Singer, winner of the 1978 Nobel Prize for Literature, said here Thursday that he intends to “say something” in Yiddish when he accepts his award in Stockholm next month. The famed Yiddish writer, who was feted for 90 minutes by the American Jewish Committee and its magazine Present Tense, told the 125 people gathered to honor him that Yiddish will always be alive. “Shall this verbal treasure be silenced?” he asked in response to a question about the future of Yiddish.
Asked why there are almost no Yiddish writers today, Singer said that Hitler killed countless Yiddish writers and thereby also killed another generation that might have followed.
Singer, who is a noted vegetarian and lover of animals, well known for his statement many years ago that “for animals, every day is Treblinka,” said in answer to another question that he considers those who do not kill animals morally superior to those who do. “As much as I like chicken, I like chickens better,” he said. To the applause of the guests, he responded to a request that he speak in Yiddish by delivering his thoughts for a few minutes in “mome loshen.” Among Singer’s writings in Present Tense was the first installment of his memoirs, in the Spring, 1978 issue.