Friday, November 9, 2007

I wish I knew Yiddish ...

... so that I could better understand the 2001 interview Cardinal Lustiger gave to a Yiddish-language radio program in Australia. Here is a description of it from the radio program's Web site:

The former Cardinal of Paris, Jean Marie Lustiger, who died on the 5th August 2007 was born Aaron Lustiger, to a Yiddish speaking Polish Jewish migrant family in Paris. During WWII when he was evacuated to Orleans he converted to Catholicism, whilst his mother was rounded up, deported and killed by the Nazis in Auschwitz. Lustiger continued to consider himself a Jew and encouraged dialogue between Jews and Catholics and during his visit to Australia in 2001 Alex Dafner put to him questions in Yiddish about Holocaust research and the Vatican archives, relations between Jews and the Church and whether a Jew could one day become Pope, which he understood very well, whilst answering diplomatically in English.
The Cardinal did use one Yiddish word in answering the final question, the one about whether a Jew could become Pope. His answer — which seems to simply reflect that the question itself was silly — was "Meshuggah."

Right-click here and "Save Target" to download the interview.