(On The Oy Way and Yiddish, unless otherwise indicated)
December 4, Presentation made at Tai Ji workshop, Esalen, Big Sur, California.
November 10, Invited to speak at the 62nd Jewish Book Fair in W. Bloomfield, Michigan: was unable to attend.
November 2, 2013. Invited to speak at the Author Faire 2013, at the San Jose Public Library.
August 7, Spoke at the Jewish Community Center, San Francisco.
March 23, Presentation made at Tai Ji workshop, Esalen, Big Sur, California.
March 5, Spoke at Temple Beth Israel, Carmel.
February 25, Spoke at Senior Connections, Temple Beth El, Aptos.
December 15, Spoke and signed books at Inklings Books, Capitola.
December 2, Spoke and signed books at The Greek Restaurant, Santa Cruz.
November 28, Presentation made at Tai Ji workshop, Esalen, Big Sur, California.
November 15, Spoke to the Beth El Senior Friendship Club, San Mateo.
November 13, Spoke at the Alef Bet Judaica Bookstore, Los Gatos.
November 11, Spoke to the Silicon Valley Holocaust Survivors Association, San Jose.
October 30, Spoke at Congregation Beth David, Saratoga, California.
October 28, Spoke at BJE Jewish Community Library, San Francisco.
October 21, Spoke at Bird & Beckett Bookstore, San Francisco.
June 22, Participated in an Authors Reception Fundraiser at the Capitola Book Café, 1475 41st Avenue, Capitola.
May 17, Spoke at Jewish Family and Children Services, San Francisco.
May 9, Spoke to the Café by the Bay Holocaust Survivors, San Francisco.
April 27, Spoke at Hillel of Silicon Valley, San Jose.
April 9, Spoke and signed books at the Capitola Book Café, Capitola.
March 23, Presentation made at Tai Ji workshop, Esalen, Big Sur, California.
March 15, Participated in a Book Authors’ Reception in the Main Library, San Jose.
March 11, Spoke to the Silicon Valley Holocaust Survivors Association, San Jose.
March 8, Spoke at Congregation Shir Hadash, Los Gatos.
August 28, Made a presentation on Yiddish-speaking Holocaust survivors and The Oy Way, at the International Association of Yiddish Clubs annual conference in Michigan.
From 1984 to 2011
Have made more than forty presentations at numerous venues throughout the United States, Israel, Great Britain and Australia on a variety of topics including:
“The Jewish Press in America,” based on the chapter I wrote for the Encyclopaedia Judaica.
“Gathering of Friends,” the relationship between Holocaust survivors and former Japanese American internees based on working with both groups.
“The Jews of Lithuania,” based on travels through Eastern Europe and articles written on the cities of Vilnius (Vilna) Kaunas (Kovno) and Klaipeda for Hadassah magazine.
“Holocaust denial advertising in college and university newspapers,” based on ten years of research and more than 200 interviews. Original research is archived in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.
“An Incredible Odyssey,” based on travels searching for family after both of my parents died seven weeks apart in 1981. In the process, met and learned about my family in cities and villages throughout the United States, Canada, Israel, Great Britain, Hungary, Romania, and Australia. I have published articles on the journey, and these stories are the basis of an upcoming book.
HISTORY OF THE OY WAY
The Oy Way is published and ready for distribution.
Design and layout are completed.
The Oy Way writing is completed and edited.
A Tai Ji group at Esalen in Big Sur, California successfully tests movements.
Amy Gotliffe completes all photography at various locations.
Website is updated to include “What’s Nu?” “What’s Being Said?”, and “Who Is Who?”.
All movements are written and approved by Yiddish advisor, Philip “Fishl” Kutner.
Web site notification is sent to more than 1500 email addresses.
Promotional brochure is printed.
International Association of Yiddish Clubs Annual Conference, Novi, Michigan.
Introduction of The Oy Way at our display booth for test marketing.
Presentation session made with audience doing movements.
The next day, approached by an 84-year-old man in the hall. He goes into an Oy Way movement stance, says “gey avek,” laughs, and walks away.
Stephen Pollard creates the web site, and the promotional brochure is written.
Original, 12-page, version of The Oy Way is produced in limited numbers and Copyrighted on January 1st.
“This delightful book is a tasty forshpeis (appetizer) to the uniquely expressive world of Yiddish. Packed with subtlety and nuance, Yiddish conveys words pictures unlike any other language.
The Oy Way is a great way for newcomers to Yiddish, as well as those who have spoken it for decades; to enjoy the pleasure of this mama loshen (mother tongue) in a most enjoyable and different way.”
Chair, Yiddish Book Center
“I thoroughly enjoyed your very funny and meditative book, The Oy Way.”
President, Yiddish Book Center
“I have used The Oy Way this semester in two of my Yiddish beginners classes, as a segue or a warm-up to the lesson. The students love laughter and the expressions lend themselves to a smile. The "beygn" and "shteyn" stances plus your photos add to the fun of our learning. Thank you for sharing your book.”
Assistant to the Editor, The Yiddish Forward
“I thought it was very funny.”
Managing Editor, The Forward
“We’ve all had a good laugh reading through The Oy Way. It was delightful, and we certainly need to learn to relax.”
Senior Editor, Tablet magazine
“It works! After reading only a few pages of The Oy Way and following the easy-to-understand instructions, I laughed so hard that I could say “gey avek” to all my mental and physical pain. I love the photos too.”
Judith A. Sokoloff
Editor, Na’Amat USA Women magazine
“Should be more than a hoot and enlightening to many.”
Chungliang Al Huang
Founder-president, Living Tao Foundation; Author or co-author of a dozen books about Tai Ji and Eastern philosophy
“The Oy Way combines some form of physical relaxation therapy with Yiddish vocabulary and phrases. Partly in jest, partly seriously, the author describes movements and exercises that are meant to lead a person down the “path of most resistance.” So if you’re looking for something entertaining, therapeutic, and Yiddish-related, this might be the book for you.”
Co-creator of Yiddish Word-of-the-Week
““Humor research has concluded that 20 seconds of hearty laughter is equivalent to 20 minutes on a rowing machine. With The Oy Way, you can enjoy both simultaneously.”
Author and Satirist
“Sure to be a hit with Judeo-yoginis and spiritual fitness buffs of all faiths and persuasions.”
Author of Tell It to the Rabbis and The Tolstoy of the Zulus
“This is going to be an excellent book to give as a present.”
Writer, editor, founder of Coleman Communications
“Lessons from the Oy Way Master himself.”
Novelist, editor, co-founder of Core Fitness Company
“I love it! Can’t get over the humor!”
Artist and writer, New Jersey
“If I never get through the actual gestures . . . I will exercise my stomach muscles through stress-relieving laughter.”
Art director, graphic design lecturer, San Jose State University
“The Oy Way great idea. Lets you know how to put your Yiddish into action.”
Katherine Forrest, MD
Co-founder, The Commonweal Institute
“This is fantastic!”
“What a “vunderlekh” book it is! I really had a good laugh.”
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Author and Yiddishist
On Library Shelves
The Oy Way is now found in more than thirty libraries around the country, and here’s what librarians have said about the book:
“A sheynen dank for the gift of The Oy Way. I’m impressed by the good work that went into it.”
Director, BJE Jewish Community Library, San Francisco
“Thanks for the smile – I enjoyed reading your book!”
Collection Development Librarian, Las Vegas Library
“Thank you for very much for donating this delightful volume, I know it will be enjoyed. I couldn’t phrase it any better than p. 82 (of The Oy Way): Zolst leben un zayn gezunt!”
Collection Development Office, San Francisco Public Library
On Your Book Shelf
Carmen Sarah Santos Ballesteros Gotliffe Movement testing and evaluation
Amy Gotliffe Photographer
Stephen Pollard Design and syntactical enhancement
Philip “Fishl” Kutner Yiddish usage advisor
Dr. Stanley Halprin Medical advisor — movement suitability; Marketing Manager, Eastern Region
The Oy Way offers a philosophy that combines meditation, exercise, and humor, set forth in easy-to-learn Yiddish. It will be a great pleasure to read and follow — even if it’s just a bit at a time.
When Yiddish was brought to America by Eastern European Jewish immigrants in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the vulnerable language could have languished and died. But today, alts iz gut (all’s well).
A crossword puzzle’s answer to “Jewish dough” was gelt, a national bank’s advertising headline reads “1.35% APY vs. Bupkus,” and in the movie Come Blow Your Horn, Frank Sinatra sang “I’ll give you the whole megilla in a one-word speech.” Yiddish has become a venerable part of our conversation, our music, movies, media, and dictionaries.
In an increasingly hurried, harried, and hectic electronic world, simple Yiddish expressions offer profound wisdom and have helped provide physical, emotional, and mental stress relief to true believers. Individuals became their own sages and have survived and even prospered by inculcating these beliefs into their daily lives — beliefs that have been reconfigured into prophetic sayings.
The Oy Way offers a meshuge (crazy) philosophy that combines meditation, exercise, and humor set forth in easy-to-learn Yiddish. It will be a mekhiye (great pleasure) to read and follow — even if it’s just a bisl (bit) at a time.
However, shlepn (dragging) children or grandchildren to after-school activities is not a beneficial form of exercise. Being in mitn drinen (in the middle of) a crisis at work doesn’t help to lower stress, especially when there may be too much shrayen (hollering). Someone seeking an unconscious escape can’t lower their cholesterol by nervously nashn (snacking) fat-laden foods.
The Yiddish found in The Oy Way blends a rhythmic, flowing form of moving meditation with a unique way of thinking. At times, these expressions introduce turmoil in the midst of tranquility, and then impose humor into the resultant chaos and disorder.
This form does not guarantee inner peace, but knowing that others may be sharing the same resultant agony brings solace to some. The true believer can inadvertently be led on a journey down the path of most resistance.
It is a special journey everyone can follow, even if your mind is closed, as long as your heart is open.
It is The Oy Way.