The Rise of Modern Yiddish Culture explores the transformation of Yiddish from a low-status vernacular to the medium of a complex modern culture. David E. Fishman examines the efforts of East European Jews to establish their linguistic distinctiveness as part of their struggle for national survival in the diaspora. Fishman considers the roots of modern Yiddish culture in social and political conditions in tsarist and interwar Poland and its relationship to Zionism and Bundism. In so doing, he argues that Yiddish culture infused all socioeconomic classes, and led to the emergence of a pro-Yiddish intelligentsia and a Yiddishist movement.
David Fishman is professor of Jewish history at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York. He is the author of Russia's First Modern Jews and editor of From Mesopotamia to Modernity: Ten Introductions to Jewish History and Literature.