Elementary Yiddish Language


An introduction to speaking, reading, and writing Yiddish, focusing on acquiring the fundamentals of grammar and basic vocabulary. Class activities also include Yiddish songs and Yiddish films. No previous knowledge of Yiddish required.

Elementary Yiddish Language


A continuation of 563:103 (see above). Prerequisite: One semester of Elementary Yiddish or its equivalent.

Intermediate Yiddish Language

01:563:133 and 01:563:134

Develop conversational abilities in Yiddish, read works of Yiddish literature in the original. Class activities also include reading the Yiddish press, singing Yiddish folksongs, screening classic Yiddish films, and trips to the Yiddish theater. Prerequisite: Two semesters of Elementary Yiddish or its equivalent.

Remembering the Shtetl


Discover how the shtetl-the kind of small town in Eastern Europe that was once home to most of the world's Jews-has become a key site of Jewish memory over the past century, through works of Yiddish literature, memoir, film, art, photography, and travel. (All readings in English translation; knowledge of Yiddish not required.) Cross-listed with History.

Modern Yiddish Literature and Culture

TOPICS COURSE - 3 credits

Read classic works of Yiddish literature, including Sholem Aleichem's "Tevye" stories, S. Ansky's play "The Dybbuk," works of fiction by I.L. Peretz, Sholem Asch, and Isaac Bashevis Singer, as well as avant-garde poetry and drama from writers in Eastern Europe and America. Learn how "Yiddish modernism" influenced 20th-century Jewish artists (including Marc Chagall), music, theater, cinema, and politics. (All readings in English translation; knowledge of Yiddish not required.)

The Culture of Yiddish:  An Introduction


An overview of Yiddish, the traditional vernacular language of Ashkenazic Jews, and its various roles in Jewish culture from the Middle Ages to the present.  Topics discussed include: the history and structure of Yiddish; Yiddish as a diaspora language of a minority community in shifting multilingual contexts; the role of Yiddish in religious life, politics, and modern culture; the symbolic value of Yiddish in Jewish ideologies and memory practices, especially after the Holocaust. Through the case of Yiddish, students learn about different notions of the interrelation of language, culture, and peoplehood.

All course readings and materials are in English.  No prior knowledge of Yiddish or any other language, of Jewish history or religion, or of linguistics is required.