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 classes in the fall and spring (and, this year, a January intersession and summer school!) 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 FALL COURSES

All classes begin the week of October 11 and run for 9 weeks.  

|  General Interest: A Taste of Yiddish Through Nature & Song  | 

|  Beginner Yiddish, 1st and 2nd semester   |  Advanced Beginner  |

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

Full course information below.

 

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General Interest: A Taste of Yiddish through Nature Poetry & Song

Wed. evenings, 7:00 - 8:30 pm, starting Oct. 13; 9 weeks

 

This course is open to all levels, including those who don't know any Yiddish.

 

This course will guide students in a joyful exploration of Yiddish language, music and culture through sources celebrating the natural world, including works by Avrom Sutzkever, Malka Heifetz Tussman, Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman and more. 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.

 

Instructor: Adah Hetko

 

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Level 1: 

 

Beginner, Semester 1

Mon. evenings, 7:30 - 9:00 pm [extra alef-beys session 7:00-7:30 pm], starting Oct. 11; 9 weeks

Learn elementary grammar, how to read Yiddish, and conversation skills. Students who don't yet know the Hebrew alphabet will be asked to join the class a half hour early for the first several sessions. The class will be interactive and lively, using the textbook Colloquial Yiddish, songs, games, and other multi-media materials.

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

Instructor: Adah Hetko

 

Beginner, Semester 2

Tues. evenings, 7:00 - 8:30 pm; starting Oct. 12; 9 weeks

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: Jonah Sidman

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Level 2:  Advanced Beginner

Choose one of two sections:

Thurs. evenings, 7:00 - 8:30 pm; starting Oct. 14; 9 weeks

OR

Sun. evenings, 7:00 - 8:30 pm; starting Oct. 17; 9 weeks

 

Focus on increasing your comfort with Yiddish grammar and with fluency speaking, readings and writing. Both sections will use textbooks with supplementary readings, songs, and multi-media materials to provide students with exposure to contemporary and historic Yiddish culture and history.

 

Level: Students who have completed BWC's Beginner, Semester 2 course or newcomers who can already read, write, and speak simple sentences in Yiddish and who are comfortable with the present and past tenses.

 

Textbooks:

Thursday class - In Eynem, available here.

Sunday class - Colloquial Yiddish, available here or here or at other on-line sites.

 

Instructors:

Thursday class - Zissel Piazza

Sunday class - Jonah Sidman 

 

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Level 3: Language through Literature

Choose one of two sections:

 

Wed. afternoons, 4:30 - 6:00 pm, starting Oct. 13; 9 weeks

 

Students in this section will read an unabridged and annotated version of Motl Peyse dem Khazns by Sholem Aleichem. 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.

 

Book: Motl Peyse dem Khazns available here or here.

 

Instructor: Jonah Sidman

 

 

 

Mon. evenings, starting Oct. 11, 7:00 - 8:30 pm; 9 weeks

 

This section with also teach language through literature, and is intended for continuing BWC intermediates who have already read Motl Peyse dem Khazns. New students who have some experience speaking Yiddish within or outside of a classroom setting are welcome to join. Grammar will be reviewed as it comes up in the text.

 

Instructor: Abby Howell

 

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Level 4: Yiddish Theater

Mon. evenings, 7:00 - 8:30 pm, starting Oct. 11; 9 weeks

 

In this advanced Yiddish class, we will be reading pieces of Yiddish theater aloud together, beginning with Kadya Molodowsky's Ale fentster tsu der zun. 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. 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.

 

Textbook: The teacher will provide annotated versions of the play; students who want a sneak peak can download an unannotated version here for free.

 

Instructor: Zissel Piazza

 

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Tuition Rates For All Classes

Member: $150 /Non-Member: $200

 

Special Young Adult Rates (under 30 years old)

Member: $100 /Non-Member: $150

 

*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.

Become a member here, starting at $5.

 

 

*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.