Yiddish

Registration for our Summer term courses is now open!

We are very excited to announce that registration is now open for our Summer term.

The courses will take place online, using Zoom.

Sign up links:

BEGINNERS Level 2:

Sundays, 10:30am-12:30pm (from 2nd May) with Annie:

STANDARD (£15/CLASS): £180 FOR 12 SESSIONS

SUPPORTER (£20/CLASS): £240 FOR 12 SESSIONS

INTERMEDIATE – ADVANCED : Spanish Civil War texts:

Sundays, 5:00-7:00pm (from 2nd May) with Annie:

STANDARD (£15/CLASS): £180 FOR 12 SESSIONS

SUPPORTER (£20/CLASS): £240 FOR 12 SESSIONS

YIDDISH LANGUAGE AND SONG:

Mondays, 7:00-9:00pm (from 26th Apr) with Annie and Rachel:

STANDARD (£15/CLASS): £180 FOR 12 SESSIONS

SUPPORTER (£20/CLASS): £240 FOR 12 SESSIONS

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!


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.

About Beginners Level 2:

This course is a continuation of Yiddish Beginners which began in the Spring Term.

About Intermediate – Advanced: Spanish Civil War texts:

In the first half of the class, we’ll read texts written by and about Jewish volunteers in the Spanish Civil War, and learn about their experiences in the International Brigades. We’ll also look at some Yiddish propaganda about the war, and talk about how it has and hasn’t been remembered in Jewish history.

In the second half, we’ll cover topics in intermediate grammar, including those that come up in the texts.

About Yiddish Language and Song:

Singing was an important part of eastern European Jewish Culture, which has left us with a rich repertoire of Yiddish folksongs. The twentieth and twenty first centuries have witnessed the revival and continued evolution of Yiddish song, which remains a fundamental part of Yiddish culture today. In this class we’ll learn a mixture of folksongs, protest and resistance songs from the Jewish workers’ movement, songs from Yiddish theatre and music halls, and some of the contemporary songs written and performed today.

In each class we’ll learn 1-2 new songs, with the class divided into two parts. In the first half, led by Annie, we will study the language of the songs, learning the vocabulary and grammatical rules. In the second half, led by Rachel, we’ll learn the music and how to sing the songs. We’ll also learn about the history of the songs and those who wrote and/or collected them.

Teacher/Facilitator: Annie (she/hers) is a PhD student in Modern Jewish Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Originally from London, since 2019 she has been based in France where she has been studying at the Paris Yiddish Centre, and conducting research for her Master’s Thesis on a Jewish Militia Unit who fought for the Spanish Republic in the 1936-1939 Civil War.