Refrigerator magnets aid revival of Yiddish language

NEW YORK, Oct. 5 (JTA) — The campaign to revive Yiddish is receiving a boost from an unlikely source: the refrigerator magnet. “Oy Vey! Yiddish Talk!” is the brainchild of Fridge Fun, a firm based in Santa Rosa, Calif., that produced more than 100 word-based magnet sets that can be affixed to the refrigerator to create “kitchen poetry.” Other sets sold by Fridge Fun range from animal-based themes — Cat Talk and Dog Talk — to regionally based linguistic collections such as SF Talk, based on slang specific to the San Francisco area, and Southern Talk. The Yiddish sets hit the stores last June, and immediately became one of the company’s best-sellers, according to Fridge Fun’s president, Michael Powell. Along with common household words like shtik and meshugge, the set also contains a number of religious terms — Kaddish and cantor, for example. What differentiates the Yiddish set from other language based magnets that the company produces, says Powell, is that nearly half of the Oy Vey! magnets are in English. “It’s the only way I’ve heard the language spoken,” says Powell. Fridge Fun often sells the set, which, not surprisingly, does its best sales in New York, in a package along with NY Talk.

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