Yiddish Classes

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. And still, today, Yiddish culture inspires popular American humor, music, language, and art. We invite you to explore this rich cultural inheritance!

Classes

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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 info@circleboston.org.

We are not offering a Beginner class this semester.  If you would like to be notified when we next offer one, please sign up here.

All classes are currently online over Zoom. 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.

All classes take place on Zoom and start the week of February 13, 2023.  

Beginner, 2nd Semester

Wednesdays, 7:00 - 8:30 pm

Instructor: Abby Howell

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

Materials: Colloquial Yiddish, available to purchase at The Yiddish Book Center or Routledge Textbooks or at other online sites

Students will continue learning from Colloquial Yiddish, starting with a review of grammar already learned in BWC’s Fall Beginner, 1st semester class and moving further ahead. Additionally, songs and various multimedia materials will be used to expose students to current and historical Yiddish culture and to strengthen conversation skills and Yiddish reading ability.

Advanced Beginner, 2nd Semester

Tuesdays, 7:00 - 8:30 pm

Instructor: Jonah Sidman

Level: Geared to students who have taken Advanced Beginner, Semester 1 at Boston Workers Circle, and we welcome newcomers who know the alef-beys; can understand, speak, read, and write simple sentences in Yiddish; and can discuss likes, dislikes and simple actions in the past and present.

Materials: New students should purchase Colloquial Yiddish at The Yiddish Book Center or Routledge Textbooks or at other on-line sites.

Students will continue learning from Colloquial Yiddish, starting with a review of grammar already learned in BWC’s Fall Advanced Beginner, 1st semester class and moving further ahead. Additionally, songs and various multimedia materials will be used to expose students to current and historical Yiddish culture and to strengthen conversation skills and Yiddish reading ability.

New Intermediates: In Eynem, vol. 2

Tuesdays, 7:00 - 8:30 pm

Instructor: Elya (Zissel / זיסל) Piazza

Level: Students who have previously taken BWC's Fall " New Intermediate" class, and we welcome new students who have completed In Eynem Units 1-4 and/or who are comfortable with basic conversation in Yiddish; familiar with grammar such as case and gender declensions and separable-prefix verb conjugations; and who have experience reading texts that include past, present and future tenses.

Materials: Students new to the class should purchase In Eynem at The Yiddish Book Center.

Using the textbook In Eynem, vol 2, students will increase their comfort with Yiddish grammar and with fluency speaking, reading and writing in this interactive, participatory class.

Continuing Intermediates – Yehoyash’s Yiddish translation of the Tanakh

Mondays, 5:00 - 6:30 pm

Instructor: Abby Howell

Level: This section is intended for continuing BWC intermediates. New students who have experience reading and speaking Yiddish within or outside of a classroom setting and who want a facilitated reading class are welcome to join. Grammar will be reviewed as it comes up in the text.

Materials: Provided by the instructor

Join us for an early evening weekly reading group studying Yehoyash's Yiddish translation of the Tanakh, in the book of Breyshis (Genesis). Brush up on your biblical vocabulary, take a stroll down to Mitzrayim with Yosef and his brethren and shvestren, practice your reading fluency by chanting repetitive verses about the long lives of the ancestors who begat named sons and nameless daughters, and role play as an ancient sage or shtetl melamed by attempting to explain and expand upon the meanings of these ancient verses.

Continuing Intermediates: Motl Peyse dem Khazns

Wednesdays, 4:30 - 6:00 pm

Instructor: Jonah Sidman

Level: Continuing students and new students who can read Yiddish with the help of a dictionary. The first class will include a review of characters and plot in Motl Peyse if there are new students.

Materials: New students should purchase Motl Peyse dem Khazns, available at League for Yiddish or at other online sites.

Students in this section will continue reading an abridged and annotated version of Motl Peyse dem Khazns by Sholem Aleichem, starting in chapter 5. By reading aloud, using the book's exercises, and discussion, students will have a chance to strengthen their Yiddish reading, vocabulary, grammar and conversation skills. There'll also be time for general conversation practice and learning through songs.

Advanced Brenendike Verter: Yidishe Dikhterins In Ukraine Nokh Der Revolutsye

Wednesdays, 8:00 - 9:30 pm

Instructor: Hinde Ena Burstin

Level: The class is suited to advanced speakers and readers of Yiddish including students in past advanced BWC Yiddish classes. We will discuss the poems and poets in Yiddish, in a supportive environment that encourages each person to speak Yiddish freely and fearlessly to the best of their ability.

Materials: Provided by the instructor

Avantgarde Yiddish women poets were trailblazers in the development of secular Yiddish literature in post-revolution Ukraine. The daring themes and imagery of many of their poems signified a fiery break with the restrictions of the past. In this course, we will read a selection of these poems, and will discuss the themes and stylistics, as well as the biographical, sociohistorical and literary contexts of the poems. We will explore ways that these poets transgressed gendered expectations in their subversive verse.

ברענענדיקע ווערטער: ייִדישע דיכטערינס אין אוקראַינע נאָך דער רעװאָלוציע ייִדישע דיכטערינס האָבן קרעפֿטיק גענומען דאָס וואָרט אין אוקראַינע אין דער נאָך-רעוואָלוציע תּקופֿה. זיי האָבן זיך אויסגעצייכנט מיט די באַזונדערקייטן פֿון זייערע טעמעס און בילדער, און מיט זייערע שעפֿערישע שפּילערײַען מיט ווערטער און קלאַנגען. זייערע אָריגינעלע לידער זײַנען אַ וויכטיקער צושטײַער צו דער אַנטוויקלונג פֿון וועלטלעכער ייִדישער ליטעראַטור. מיר וועלן צוזאַמען לייענען די פֿלאַמיקע פֿערזן פֿון פֿאַרשיידענע דינאַמישע דיכטערינס, און וועלן אַרומרעדן די טײַטשן, טעמעס און סטיליסטיק פֿון די לידער, און די קאָנטעקסטן אין וועלכע די לידער זײַנען דערשינען.

Tuition for All Classes

$195 $270

Special Rates (Young Adult or Low Income):

$140 $195

No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Please contact 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.

Not already a member? We Welcome you to join us!

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