On the day it became a crime during Stalin’s reign of terror to speak, write or study Yiddish, Lea Ayalon realized that this meant a drastic change of complexion for Jewish life in her birthplace. It led to her making a personal resolution never to relinquish her commitment to the Yiddish language and culture through which Jewish family life, tradition and values had been preserved for hundreds of years.Born in Pinsk, Belarus, Ayalon embarked with her family on a harrowing journey on the famous Exodus ship which carried refugees from the death camps in Europe on the high seas, eventually finding a port which would allow them to enter the Promised Land.On arrival in pre-state Israel in the 1940s, Ayalon began her studies at the University of Haifa, where she earned a doctorate for her 400-page dissertation on Sholem Asch’s The Man From Nazareth, and embarked on a career as a lecturer in Hebrew literature, later adding Yiddish masterpieces as well, and being gratified to immediately find enthusiastic students.Aware that most Israeli students had no idea of the huge debt owed to Yiddish literature, she knew that in order to survive it had to continue to be read, performed, quoted and studied. She has spent the past two decades resurrecting Yiddish classics, earning a well-deserved reputation as being at the forefront of the revival of the language.Irrepressibly moved by the passion of Ayalon’s readings and personal magnetism, many of her listeners, she relates, would come up to her afterwards and thank her for sharing with them the fervor she possessed for this subject, and for bringing back memories of their childhood, their family life, and a lost world for which they still feel intense, painful longing.Devoted to her mission of finding new treasures of Yiddish literature, she continues to peruse old Jewish libraries, dusty bookshelves, attics and private collections.For the coming fall, Ayalon is offering a series of lectures about Jewish literary giants during tyranny for members of the Sirkin Club on Monday mornings at the Va’ad Hapoel in Tel Aviv, and on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. for the Arbeiter Ring in Tel Aviv. The course will be about the works of four writers whose works she has researched. What they all had in common was their writing in Yiddish, the language that bound them to their Jewish roots; love of Eretz Yisrael; biblical teachings; Rabbi Akiva and other great scholars; as well as the inspiration of Maccabean heroism and Jewish learning. All were heart-and-soul communists who had chosen this idealism in the hope that it would lead to a better life for themselves and other Jews, never dreaming that the song of their lives would be cut off by the very hands they had so naively embraced and that they would be mercilessly tortured, imprisoned and murdered by the same people they had served so devotedly.These include Moshe Kolbach, imprisoned and tortured to death at the age of 41; Peretz Markish, who wrote To a Jewish Dancer, which was translated into Hebrew, and who was put to his death in his 60s; Itzik Feffer and David Hochstein, writers of ballads and sonatas whose works were discovered in old archives. For more information about this series, write to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 054-449-5474.