Culture's bustin' out all over

If you're a student of Arabic, you know how few and far between Arabic blogs are. A free Arabic blog host might be an efficient way to spread democracy (what strength democracy, and of what kind, I dunno. But it can't hurt, I guess!).

Meanwhile, in Israel, Ashkenazic culture, including Yiddish, have been generally denigrated and ignored ever since independence. It doesn't help that the elite are of Ashkenazic heritage. This puts Ashkenazic culture in a double bind: it's relegated to an Nth-class status by Ashkenazim themselves -- remind me to tell you sometime how ill-run and money-wasting the "Yiddish Culture Authority" of Israel is, or how much little spoken Yiddish it promotes -- while becoming associated in the minds of the underclasses with the despised elite. The worst of both worlds.

There's a movement for Ashkenazic identity trying to point out the idiocy of this denigration (known in Hebrew as shlilat-hagolut, which one might translate as Diaspora denial). While I don't support this group's every ideological tendency (they're too "post-Zionist" for my taste), nor do I share their quasi-romantic and -mythological view of Eastern European Jewish culture, I think Ashkenazic culture and Yiddish are necessary elements of an Israel that's representative of a wide spectrum of Judaisms.

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