“His determination was a powerful engine that propelled him forward relentlessly. He could create worlds if he decided to do so,” recalled his colleague Lucy Dawidowicz.
“His most distinctive physical features were an irresistible smile … saw everything, even deep inside you.” Weinreich was a leader who could gain the allegiance of those great and small on behalf of his beloved Yiddish.
They also provide a subtle counter-argument to his lifelong thesis.
Weinreich was a careful, fair, and judicious scholar, and it was in the notes to his monumental work that he gave place to the vexing confusion of counter-evidence to his main, and beloved, story of Yiddish origins and, by implication, the origins of millions of East European Jews and their descendants in America.
Yiddish was born in about the 10th century and thus rounded out an even millennium before being pulled under by the tide of history.