August 2005 Archives

A Yiddish-English-Russian newsletter @ KlezKamp

Just a short notice of a week of solid fun up at KlezKanada, a week-long annual gathering of Yiddish culture buffs at Camp Bnai Brith, about an hour north of Montreal.

wooden lettersFirst, I borrowed a set of huge wooden type letters from the National Yiddish Book Center. Big, major fun.

This item is about Unicode. If you don't think that Unicode matters, or if you have stayed away because it sounds too technical, I heartily recommend Joel Spolsky's "Unicode and Character Sets" page. It's complete title is "The Absolute Minimum Every Software Developer Absolutely, Positively Must Know About Unicode and Character Sets (No Excuses!)" but don't let that stop you if you aren't a programmer. Much of this applies, in spades, to the rest of us.

I haven't had time to breathe for months. There is a lot of neat stuff that should be noted here and isn't here yet. But I thought I'd mention an especially neat item that killed this afternoon.

Max and Minka have an amazing Yiddish decoder ring on their website (go to and click on "yiddish"). This is great for people who have the simplest possible computers and just want to get some decent Yiddish onboard. Unfortunately, to avoid encoding issues, Max made up a backwards, non-standard encoding. Great for one-time use; awkward for turning into a manuscript using commercial fonts.

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