If you're looking for Yiddish language classes in Boston (and beyond!), you've come to the right place. Throughout the country, Workers Circle has been a leader in preserving and promoting Yiddish language and culture (Yiddishkayt). Yiddish was the language of 2.5 million Eastern European Jewish immigrants, of the Jewish labor movement and the struggle for rights, equality, and freedom. Today, Yiddish continues to be a vibrant language, inspiring modern literature, music, art, and activism. We invite you to explore this rich cultural inheritance!
Our instructors are passionate about Yiddish and are experienced educators. Whether you are a beginner, have been studying on your own on Duolingo, are a continuing student, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most classes are currently online over Zoom, with the exception of one in-person Beginners section. You can participate from anywhere, and invite family and friends to join you. All classes, unless otherwise noted, run for 10 weeks. Check out information about our teachers here.
Most classes start the week of February 5th, 2024. The Advanced class will start later in February.
Beginner II, in-person*
*Required: Proof of up-to-date vaccination
Wednesdays, 7:30 - 9:00 pm, beginning February 7th. There will be no class the week of April 22nd (Passover), and there will also be no class for the last two weeks of March (subject to change).
Instructor: Jonah Sidman
Level: For students continuing from the fall Beginner class, or those with a few basics but want a structured start to learning anew in an in-person class. Also recommended for Duolingo learners looking for a structured introduction to grammar, conversation, and culture. Students should have already had a basic introduction to the Hebrew alphabet and how it's used in Yiddish, or be willing to learn on their own. Transliteration will often be provided, with the goal of ultimately moving away from using it.
Let's learn Yiddish — lomir zikh lernen yidish! Learn elementary grammar and conversation skills. The class will be interactive and lively, using the textbook Colloquial Yiddish, and exposing students to Yiddish culture through songs, games, and other multimedia materials.
Beginner II, Virtual
Tuesdays, 7:00 - 8:30 pm, beginning February 6th.
Instructor: Sasha Berenstein
Level: For students continuing from the fall Beginner class, or those with a few basics but want a structured start to learning anew in an in-person class. Also recommended for Duolingo learners looking for a structured introduction to grammar, conversation, and culture. Students should have already had a basic introduction to the Hebrew alphabet and how it's used in Yiddish, or be willing to learn on their own.
Materials: Students should purchase In Eynem: The New Yiddish Textbook, Vol I & II at The Yiddish Book Center if they do not already own a copy. Either print or PDF version is acceptable.
Let's learn Yiddish — lomir zikh lernen yidish! Learn elementary grammar and conversation skills. The class will be interactive and lively, using the textbook In Eynem, and exposing students to Yiddish culture through songs, games, and other multimedia materials.
Advanced Beginner II, Virtual
Wednesdays, 7:00 - 8:30 pm, beginning February 7th.
Instructor: Abby Howell
Level: This class is appropriate for students who can construct sentences in Yiddish with the past and future tense and the accusative and dative case, and who are interested in learning more about the grammar of Yiddish. We'll pick up in February at unit 11 of Colloquial Yiddish.
Materials: Students who do not already have a copy should purchase Colloquial Yiddish by Lily Kahn at The Yiddish Book Center or Routledge Textbooks or at other on-line sites. Additional readings will be provided by the instructor.
This joyful and inclusive class is a celebration of Yiddish grammar, vocabulary, history, and culture. Join us for a weekly session where we practice conjugating verbs, declining noun phrases, and putting together increasingly-complex sentences in the ancestral mother tongue of ashkenazic jewry. Ask questions, get answers, and find camaraderie with other learners on a guided tour of the grammar and structure and culture of this wondrous Jewish language.
(CANCELLED) Early Intermediate II, Virtual
While this semester the early intermediate class will not be running, students interested in Yiddish should reach out to email@example.com with questions about joining the Advanced Beginner II or Intermediate II class instead.
Intermediate II, Virtual
Tuesdays, 7:00 - 8:30 pm, beginning February 6th.
Instructor: Abby Howell
Level: TThis class is appropriate for students who can read and understand Yiddish sentences with the help of a dictionary.
Materials: Text: Fun Lublin Biz Nyu York. Students can find this text online for free at The Yiddish Book Center.
Join us in this weekly class where we work together to decode and discuss a Yiddish novel written in the format of a diary of a teenage girl who moves to America from Eastern Europe in the 1940s.
Wednesdays, 8:00 - 9:30 pm beginning February 21st.
Instructor: Hinde Ena Burstin
Level:The class is suited to advanced speakers and readers of Yiddish, including students who have participated in past advanced BWC Yiddish classes. Completion of “Tsilye Dropkins dertseylungen” BWC Advanced Yiddish course Fall 2023 is not essential. New participants welcome.
We will discuss Dropkin’s work in Yiddish, in a supportive environment that encourages each person to speak Yiddish freely and fearlessly to the best of their ability.
Materials: This class will read and discuss the stories of Celia Dropkin's 1959 book, In Heysn Vint, which can be found online for free at The Yiddish Book Center.
Celia Dropkin (1887-1956) is a dynamic writer whose work is exciting, intense and confronting. Best known for her fierce and intimate poetry, Dropkin brings the same bold, unflinching voice to her short stories. Dropkin’s stories take the reader deep under the skins of sharply drawn characters, casting a critical gaze on the settings and social circumstances that they encounter.
In this course, we will read a selection of Dropkin’s short stories in the original Yiddish, and will discuss the themes, characters, contexts and stylistics of these works. The course will consist entirely of new materials. No stories previously covered in semester 2 2023 will be studied this semester.
די נאָוואַטאָרישע שרײַבערין ציליע דראָפּקין (1887-1956) האָט אַרײַנגעפֿירט פֿרישע טעמעס און סטיליסטיק אין דער ייִדישער ליטעראָטור. די דרײַסטע, אינטימע שטימע פֿאַר וועלכער איר פּאָעזיע איז אַזוי באַקאַנט, געפֿינט זיך אויך אין דראָפּקינס דינאַמישע דערציילונגען. דערצו באַגעגנט מען אין דראָפּקינס דערציילונגען איר שאַרפֿן בליק אויף דעם אַרום, ווי אויך איר פֿעיִקייט קריטיש און קרעפֿטיק צו באַהאַנדלען וויכטיקע סאָציאַלע ענינים.
מיר וועלן צוזאַמען לייענען אויף אַ קול אַן אָפּקלײַב פֿון דראָפּקינס דערציילונגען, און וועלן אַרומשמועסן די טעמעס, כאַראַקטערן, סיטואַציעס, סטיליסטיק און קאָנטעקסטן פֿון די דערציילונגען.
Tuition for All Classes
Special Rates (Young Adult or Limited Income):