This class has finished for the year – email us at babelsblessing@gmail.com if you’re interested in future Yiddish classes.

Our teacher Annie has this to say:

Until the early twentieth century, Yiddish was the mother tongue and day to day language of millions of Ashkenazi Jews, spoken in both Western and Eastern Europe for centuries. It is often thought of in comparison to Hebrew as a common folk language, and in the 19th and 20th centuries was often dismissed by many Jewish enlightenment thinkers as a ‘jargon’, the language of the un-educated and of women. At the same time, many radicals and leftists praised Yiddish as the language of the people. For 19th and 20th Century Yiddishists such as the founders of YIVO – the Yiddish Scientific Institute, the Yiddish language and its history provided the very foundations for a secular, diasporic, anti-assimilationist and often anti-statehood Jewish identity. 

In these classes alongside learning how to speak, write and read in Yiddish, we will also discuss the politics and history of Yiddish, and what it means to be a Yiddishist today, when much of the Yiddish speaking world has been destroyed by genocide and to a lesser extent the pressures of assimilation.

In the first term, we are offering 2 courses of 9 classes, split into two levels:

Beginners – for those who have no or very little previous knowledge of Yiddish and want to get to grips with the basis.

Intermediates – for those with some previous knowledge who are looking to improve their fluency and knowledge of the language.

If required, a separate class can be organised for those not already familiar with the Yiddish alef-beys (the same as the Hebrew alphabet) – please specify when registering if you can already read and write Hebrew letters. Additional online classes can also be organised on request.

The final class will be on Friday 20th December followed by a Yiddish Kabbalat Shabbat, which we will plan together and to which friends and family are also welcome.

Term Dates

Saturday 5th October:
1:45-3:15pm Beginners
3.30pm-5.00pm Intermediates

Saturday 12th October:
1:45-3:15pm Beginners
3.30-5.00pm Intermediates

Saturday 19th October:
1:45-3:15pm Beginners
3.30pm-5.00pm Intermediates

Thursday 14th November:
7.30 – 9pm Beginners

Saturday 16th November
1.45-3.15pm Beginners
3.30 – 5pm Intermediates

Wednesday 27th November:
7.00-8.30pm Intermediates

Saturday 30th November:
1:30 – 3pm Beginners
3.00pm-4.30pm Intermediates

Wednesday 4th December:
7.00pm-8.30pm Intermediates

Saturday 7th December:
11.30am-1pm Beginners

Wednesday 11th December:
6.00pm-7.30pm Beginners
7.30pm-9pm Intermediates

Friday 13th December:
6pm -7.30pm intermediate and beginners together.
Discussion about the history and politics of yiddish. Followed by Yiddish Shabbat dinner/songs.
Guests welcome!

How much does it cost?

Evening classes operate a sliding scale fee policy – you choose what you can afford. Depending on your financial situation each 90 minute class will cost you:

£10 – Student (total course cost £200 – £240)

£15 – Standard (total course cost £300 – £360)

£20 – Supporter (total course cost £400 – £480)

All profits from these fees go towards running our free English classes for refugees and migrants – so the more you pay, the more people we can support and teach!