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The Culture of Yiddish: An Introduction


OY01:563:245 (crosslisted as 01:470:280:01)

Prof. Jeffrey Shandler
Tuesday / Thursday, 6th period (4:30 - 5:50 PM)
Miller Hall, Room 115

This course fulfills Core Learning Goal AHq:  Understand the nature of human languages and their speakers. No prerequisites.  All readings are in English. 
No prior knowledge of Yiddish or other languages required.

Did you know
•    There were once 11 million Yiddish speakers worldwide?
•    There are neighborhoods in Brooklyn where the ATMs offer a Yiddish option?
•    There are 300-year-old alternate prayers especially for women written in Yiddish?
•    There was a Jewish Autonomous Region, with Yiddish as its official language, established in the Soviet Union
      in the 1930s?
•    There are more than a dozen different words for “Christmas” in Yiddish?
•    You can visit an organic farm in upstate New York where only Yiddish is spoken? 
•    You can watch online videos in Yiddish produced in New York, Montreal, and Stockholm?

Explore the thousand-year history of Yiddish, key to centuries of Jewish folklore and politics, great works of modern literature and traditional spirituality.  Learn how a language thrives in diaspora and endures a genocide, and how it has enriched the lives of fundamentalists, revolutionaries, avant-garde performers, and others—including many people who aren’t Jewish—around the world. 


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