Yiddish Classes

If you're looking for Yiddish language classes in Boston (and beyond!), you've come to the right place. Our instructors are passionate about Yiddish and are experienced educators. Whether you are a beginner or grew up speaking the language, we have a class that will accommodate you. Students cover a wide age range, from young adults to seniors. We offer semester-long classes across a range of levels. Students in doubt about their course level should email info@circleboston.org.

All classes are currently online over Zoom. You can participate from anywhere.

 

REGISTER HERE FOR YIDDISH SPRING COURSES

All classes begin the week of February 7 and run for 12 weeks.  

|  General Interest: A Taste of Yiddish Through Food  | 

|  Beginner Yiddish, 2nd & 3rd semester   |  Advanced Beginner  |

|  Intermediate: Language through Literature  |  Advanced: Yiddish Theater  | 

Full course information below.

To be the first one notified about upcoming summer and beginner courses, join our Yiddish mailing list here.

 

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General Interest: A Taste of Yiddish through Food (full)

Wed. evenings, 7:00 - 8:30 pm, starting Feb. 9; 12 weeks

 

This course is now full.

 

This course will guide students in a joyful exploration of Yiddish language and culture through Yiddish sources connected to food. Students will learn songs, read poems, explore cookbooks and recipes, and discuss the cultural signifance of food in Yiddish culture. The instructor will lead class discussion in English, while readings and songs will provide a chance to engage with the richness of Yiddish. All materials will be provided in transliteration and English translation, which means you don't need to know Yiddish to participate - and also in Yiddish oysyes for those who want to read in the original.

 

Materials: Provided by instructor.

Instructor: Adah Hetko

 

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Level 1: 

 

Beginner, Semester 2 (full)

Mon. evenings, 7:00 - 8:30 pm, starting Feb. 7; 12 weeks

 

This course is now full.

This class will continue using Colloquial Yiddish, starting with a review of grammar already learned in Beginner, Semester 1 and moving further ahead. Additionally, songs and various multi-media materials will be used to expose students to current and historical Yiddish culture and to strengthen conversation skills and Yiddish reading ability.

Level: Geared to students who have taken a Beginner, Semester 1 Boston Workers Circle class, or to newcomers who already know the alef-beys and some basic Yiddish grammar and vocabulary.

Textbook: Colloquial Yiddish, available here or here or at other on-line sites.

Instructor: Adah Hetko

 

Beginner, Semester 3

Tues. evenings, 7:00 - 8:30 pm; starting Feb. 8; 12 weeks

This class will continue learning from Colloquial Yiddish, and will also focus on Yiddish narratives of the spring holidays. Songs and various multimedia materials will be used to expose students to current and historical Yiddish culture and to strengthen conversation skills and reading ability.

Level: Geared to students who have taken a Beginner, Semester 2 Boston Workers Circle class, or to newcomers who can read and speak simple sentences in Yiddish.

Textbook: Colloquial Yiddish, available here or here or at other on-line sites.

Instructor: Jonah Sidman

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Level 2:  Advanced Beginner

Focus on increasing your comfort with Yiddish grammar and with fluency speaking, reading and writing through use of a textbook, conversation, reading and music.

 

Choose one of two sections:

 

Advanced Beginner

Thurs. evenings, 7:00 - 8:30 pm; starting Feb. 10; 12 weeks

 

This class will move through the first unit of Volume II of In Eynem.

 

Level: Continuing BWC Advanced Beginners and new students who are comfortable with basic conversation in Yiddish; familiar with case and gender declensions, separable-prefix verb conjugations; comfortable reading texts that include past, present and future tenses, and have studied vocabulary related to common themes such as work, appearance, feelings, school, etc.

 

Textbook: In Eynem, available here.

Instructor: Zissel Piazza

 

OR Advanced Beginner

Sun. evenings, 7:00 - 8:30 pm; starting Feb. 13; 12 weeks

 

This class will continue using Colloquial Yiddish, with supplementary readings including poems by Itsik Manger, songs and multimedia materials to provide students with exposure to contemporary and historic Yiddish culture and history.

Level: Continuing BWC Advanced Beginners and new students who can understand, speak, read, and write simple sentences in Yiddish and have some familiarity with grammar including: past, present, and future verb tense; case and gender; prefixed verbs.

 

Textbook: Colloquial Yiddish, available here or here or at other on-line sites.

Instructor: Jonah Sidman 

 

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Level 3: Intermediate - Language through Literature

Choose one of two sections:

 

Intermediate

Wed. afternoons, 4:30 - 6:00 pm, starting Feb. 9; 12 weeks

 

Students in this section will continue reading an abridged and annotated version of Motl Peyse dem Khazns by Sholem Aleichem, starting with chapter 2 section beys. By reading aloud, using the book's exercises and discussion, students will have a chance to strengthen their Yiddish reading, vocabulary, and conversation skills. Intermediate grammar topics will also be covered, and there'll be time for conversation practice and learning through songs.

 

Level: Continuing students and new students who want guided reading and grammar/vocabulary/reading comprehension exercises.

 

Book: Motl Peyse dem Khazns available here or here.

 

Instructor: Jonah Sidman

 

OR

 

 

Intermediate

Mon. evenings, starting Feb. 7, 5:00 - 6:30 pm; 12 weeks

 

Join us for an early evening weekly reading group studying Yehoyash's Yiddish translation of the Tanakh, in the book of Beryshis (Genesis). Brush up on your biblical vocabulary as you immerse yourself in the tehom (watery depths), read about the exploits of the nefilim (antediluvian giants), practice your reading fluency by chating repetitive verses about the long lives of ancestors who begat named sons and nameless daughters, and role play as ancient sage or shtetl melamed by attempting to explain and expand upon the meanings of these ancient verses.

 

Level: This section is intended for continuing BWC intermediates who have already read Motl Peyse dem Khazns and new students who have experience reading and speaking Yiddish within or outside of a classroom setting. Grammar will be reviewed as it comes up in the text.

 

Materials: Provided by instructor.

 

Instructor: Abby Howell

 

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Level 4: Advanced - Yiddish Theater

Mon. evenings, 7:00 - 8:30 pm, starting Feb. 7; 12 weeks

 

In this advanced Yiddish class, we will be reading pieces of Yiddish theater aloud together. The teacher will speak in Yiddish, providing dramaturgy and historical context, and students will be encouraged to discuss the material using as much Yiddish as they can. Grammatical topics will be addressed as they arise in our texts with occasional grammar mini-lessons from Yiddish II (PDFs of relevant materials will be provided; students don't need to purchase this book). This will be a great opportunity to improve speaking and reading literacy as well as to develop familiarity with Yiddish theater and the historical and cultural contexts in which it was produced. Students will have the opportunity to prepare scenes together to perform for the class, which can be an excellent toool for developing speaking fluency.

 

Materials: Provided by instructor

 

Instructor: Zissel Piazza

 

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Tuition Rates For All Classes

 

Member: $200 /Non-Member: $270

 

Special Rates Young Adult or Low Income Rates

Member: $145 /Non-Member: $200

 

Become a member here, starting at $5.

*No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Please contact Sandy, sandy@circleboston.org, if you need financial assistance with tuition or book purchases for the class.

 

 

*Minimum number of students per class: 5. Maximum: 10. Register now to save your spot.
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OUR INSTRUCTORS

Adah Hetko (she/her) is a Yiddish singer, songwriter and educator based in Somerville. She is lead singer for Burikes band, an artist-in-residence at the Boston Synagogue, and Multidisciplinary Programs Coordinator for KlezKanada's 2021 retreat. She has studied Yiddish at Vassar College, Yiddish Farm, the Yiddish Book Center (where she has also worked as a Graduate Fellow and for the Steiner Summer Yiddish Program), and Indiana University, Bloomington (where she completed an MA in Jewish Studies). At BWC, she has taught Yiddish dance, performed in Gragger, led a workshop for the A Bisl series and joyfully participated in Yiddish activities! 

 

Abby Howell (she/her) learned to speak Yiddish while she was a student at the University of Texas at Austin, and continued her study at the National Yiddish Book Center's summer internship program, at YIVO's intensive Weinreich Summer Program in New York, and at Boston Workers Circle. Abby has a M.Ed. in Education of the Deaf from Boston University, and is currently a software engineer. This is her sixth year teaching Yiddish at the Boston Workers Circle.

 

Zissel (זיסל) Piazza (they/them) is a PhD candidate at UC Berkeley focusing on queer Jewish topics. They are also a rabbinical student at RRC. Zissel teaches Yiddish and Talmud in both academic and community settings, and they love learning and employing radical pedagogical methods. They have been a teaching fellow at SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva, a Yiddish language pedagogy fellow, and a translation fellow at the Yiddish Book Center. Their translation of Di Agune, an early Yiddish play by Maria Lerner, is forthcoming in a volume on women on the Yiddish stage from Syracuse Unviersity Press. In their "free time," Zissel can be found hiking, writing, cuddling their doggies Ketzel and Porcini or performing queer Jewish theatre.

 

Jonah Sidman (he/him) is a native of Brooklyn and a graduate of Oberlin College.  A science educator, he is also the music teacher at Boston Workers Circle's children's Shule. He can often be found fiddling for American or Irish folk dances all over the East Coast, and speaking/singing in Yiddish locally. Having begun his Yiddish studies at Boston Workers Circle, he's pleased to now be sharing his knowledge with students as a teacher.

 

REGISTER:

►ONLINE: Register here.

*No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Please contact Sandy, sandy@circleboston.org, if you need financial assistance or book purchases for the class.