In the United States, Yiddish has been trapped within two discrete, hermetic spheres: the ultra-Orthodox sphere, which engages the religious aspects of Yiddishkeit, and the academic sphere, which tends to study secular Yiddishkeit of the past. As a result, Yiddish language and culture have not been popularized, are often viewed as a relic of the past, and fail to find resonance in daily life and modern culture. YAAANA distinguishes itself by bringing Yiddish culture to the public sphere through accessible and engaging programming that exposes the general public to the richness, depth, and multi-faceted nature of living Yiddish culture.

Some of YAAANA’s specific goals are:

  1. to provide leadership in the study of theatre and interdisciplinary performance.
  2. to promote cross-disciplinary conversations among humanities and arts faculty and graduate students, along with academic and professional theatrical practitioners.
  3. to facilitate the workshopping of academic and artistic works in progress.
  4. to provide a forum for discussing works of theater and performance in the region.
  5. to obtain a physical space in San Diego County   

In order to facilitate these ends, we meet regularly as a group during the academic year to discuss readings and performances, workshop our own ideas, and participate in panels and workshops with theater practitioners from the region and across the world.

YAAANA was founded by Jana Mazurkiewicz Meisarosh and is based in San Diego, California, but was first piloted in Ann Arbor, Michigan between the Fall of 2013 and Spring of 2016. YAAANA had a soft launch in January 2017 and became fully functional in March 2017.

About Our New Logo

Di goldene pave – the golden peacock – is a symbol of Yiddish poetry and song. Appearing in folk songs first collected in the beginning of the twentieth century, the golden peacock appears in many modern anthologies. The mythical creature has the power to carry us away to places that are long lost or otherwise unattainable. It often evokes both intimacy and transcendence: a temporary, bitter-sweet fulfillment of a longing for home.

Anna Margolin:

“iz di goldene pave gefloygn, gefloygn,        

un di nakht hot geefent di goldene oygn,

likhtiker mayner, shlof ayn

di nakht hot geefent di goldene oygn

bin ikh a fidl gevorn un du der boygn

umruiker mayner, shlof ayn”

the golden peacock was flying and flew        

and the night opened its golden eyes,

my bright one, go sleep

the night opened its golden eyes,

I was the fiddle, you were the bow

my anxious one, go sleep

Moyshe Leyb Halperin:

“di zun vet aruntergeyn hintern barg        

vet kumen di goldene pave tsu flien

vet kumen di goldene pave tsu flien

un mitnemen vet zi undz ale ahin,

ahin vu di benkshaft vet tsien”

the sun will set behind the mountain,        

the golden peacock will come flying,

the golden peacock will come flying,

and take all of us along over there,

there, where yearning will lure us.

In Gilderne Pave (1949), pp/ 12. 21 (dos naye kleydl) 29