Make Yiddish a living language


Call for Applications to the Workmen’s Circle Scholarship Fund in memory of Pesakh Fiszman Summer 2012

In memory of beloved Yiddish teacher Pesakh Fiszman, the Workmen’s Circle is underwriting several scholarships for young adult students (under 35) to enroll in “A Trip to Yiddishland” (July 6 -15, 2012) at our Circle Lodge summer retreat with daily Yiddish classes, a stellar teaching staff, arts and culture programs and more. The scholarship covers ½ of all expenses including classes, food and dormitory-style boarding making the cost only $30 a day! Don’t pass up on this invaluable summer learning experience.

To apply to the Workmen’s Circle Scholarship Fund in memory of Pesakh Fiszman,  please send a personal statement (max 500 words) including the following:

1.      Why you want to learn/continue learning Yiddish
2.      How you will share and transmit your Yiddish cultural legacy

The deadline for scholarship applications is Thursday, May 31, 2012.

Call us: 212-889-6800 ext 203
Email: Nikolaib@circle.org
Mail: Workmen’s Circle (Attn Nikolai Borodulin)
247 West 37th Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY, 10018.


Yiddish Summer Weimar is famous throughout the world for its ground-breaking program of intensive workshops, concerts, jam sessions, dance balls and more.

In 2012, our special topic is “The bridges of Ashkenaz” – connections in song, instrumental music, dance and language between the Western European origins of Yiddish culture and its great flowering in Eastern Europe many centuries later. With a wide variety of workshops designed for students of every level from absolute beginners through experts, teaching teams of today’s finest artists and scholars, innovative concerts unique to our festival, students from more than 20 countries and more, Yiddish Summer Weimar is a rare, joyful international learning community.

Yiddish Language Classes:
beginners        July 21-28
intermediate July 30 – August 5
advanced       August 7-14

(9) Yiddish Summer Weimar 2012: Di brikn fun ashkenaz

Yiddish Summer Weimar | YSW Home


Learn Yiddish with Tablet Magazine

How can a new generation learn Yiddish? Through pop culture, of course: What better way to introduce the language than to let it do one of the things it does best, kibitz about the beautiful and the famous? Handing down a great literary tradition is a serious enterprise, but there’s no reason not to have fun with it. And there’s no better language than Yiddish to get across ideas both profane and profound.

Join us, then, at this new educational feature on The Scroll, a recurring lesson we’re calling—in a pun on the Yiddish term meaning “a Jewish brain”—“A Yidisher Pop.” Each Friday for the next eight weeks, “A Yidisher Pop” will caption gossipy photos of politicians, athletes, and celebrities, giving readers a vibrant taste of Yiddish.

Though the lessons embedded in these captions are progressive in the way of any beginner course, this feature is intended, of course, as an introduction, not a comprehensive class. The Yivo Institue, Tel Aviv University’s Goldreich Family Institute, and the Vilnius Yiddish Institute all provide more resources.

And, in the meantime, if you need to brush up on your Yiddish alphabet, Yivo can help you with that, too.



Woman takes language with her in grave


Boa Sr. was the last person who spoke her people’s dialect.

Now she is dead in the archipelago of Andaman in the Bay of Bengal.

One of the oldest dialects, Bo, is extinct after the last person who spoke it, is dead.

Bo can be traced tens of thousands of years back.

The 85-year-old Boa Sr. was the last person who spoke Bo.

She was the oldest member of Great Andaman people.

Boa Sr. died last week in Port Blair, the capital of Andaman,

which was hit by the devastating tsunami in 2004.

– Now that Boa Sr. is dead and Bo-language is extinct,

a unique part of their culture is just a memory.

Bo is believed to have been spoken on Andaman Islands for up to 65,000 years,

by descendants of one of the oldest cultures in the world.

The Andaman Islands, in the Bay of Bengal, are governed by India. The population has steadily collapsed since the island chain was colonised by British settlers in 1858 and used for most of the following 100 years as a colonial penal colony.

Tribes on some islands retained their distinct culture by dwelling deep in the forests and rebuffing colonisers, missionaries and documentary makers with arrows. But the last vestiges of remoteness ended with the construction of trunk roads from the 1970s.

The loss of  Bo is a sad reminder that we must not let this happen to Yiddish.

Make jiddish once again a living language!


According to the new census study, Yiddish is among the languages showing sharp declines. It’s down 50 percent since 1980 to about 160,000 speakers, mostly concentrated in the New York area.

76% of the Yiddish speakers live in New York.

At one time about 100 years ago Yiddish was spoken by 6-7 million people around the world – and Hebrew was hardly a spoken language – now Hebrew (Ivrith) is spoken by 6-7 million people around the world.

Today, there are no more than half

a million Yiddish speakers spread around the world.

The  majority of Yiddish speaking people

are growing older and the average age

of  the Yiddish speakers are becoming higher and higher.

Yiddish is alive – and there is a worldwide revival of interest in Yiddish. The means are growing, more Yiddish texts are available to everyone than ever before. There is an up-to-date lexicon (WIKIPEDIA) on Yiddish and in Yiddish available  to everyone in the world, there is a search-engine in Yiddish available to everyone who want to find Yiddish texts, there are modern computer programs that can write and read Yiddish. More Yiddish material are available to everyone (YouTube) than ever before. But in order to rescue Yiddish as a living language a massive world-wide coordinated effort on all aspects (education, publication etc.) is now needed to rescue Yiddish as a spoken language. If not now there may never be another chance. “Ve im loh achshav …”.




  1. I was reading an old diary of my fathers and he wrote, “To see him make ‘unshildikmere’ kaiser roll was a sight to behold.” (he was speaking of my grandfather a baker). Can you tell me what that Yiddish word is? The handwriting is hard to decipher and it may not be a good transliteration. Thanks for your help.

  2. shildik = guilty or at fault
    unshildik = not guilty or faultless
    mere = more or better
    Best translation is “incomparable”

  3. Other possibilities are beyond compare or perfect

  4. Dear Judith Goodman! Please scan the handwriting of the diary (whole page or just the section) if possible and send it to KOPJIK@gmail.com that the original handwriting can be shown here. A dank – The Editors.

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