ייִדיש אָן אַ גרענעץ //
//Yiddish Beyond Borders

Group Online Tuition (8 MAX)
10 weeks
sTART DATE: Sunday 23 January 

 

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The goal of this class is to get beginner students acquainted with the fundamentals of Yiddish orthography, speech, grammar, and writing. Simultaneously, students will be exposed to the rich legacy of Yiddish culture by independently exploring its history in their geographical and social context. By strengthening our linguistic and analytical skills, this class aims to empower students to consider how Yiddish can help us better understand and improve society across communal and national boundaries.

The Yiddish language has a complex social and political history. Our course aims to strike a balance between educating in a format and with content that authentically expresses our values, but without projecting our ideals onto the language itself. While Yiddish undoubtedly has a deep history associated with radical and diasporic social movements, the language — like any other — is not inherently progressive or emancipatory. Zionists, religious fundamentalists, and reactionaries have all at various times employed the Yiddish language for their own ends. The point is not to view Yiddish through red-tinted lenses, but rather to acknowledge the cultural and political diversity that once and perhaps still thrives in the language. Intellectual honesty from students and the teacher is our collective strength.

By learning about culture, such as a folk song about housing justice or opposing police brutality, students are invited to participate in a conversation about the relevance of Yiddish culture and history in contemporary politics, while at the same time mastering key vocabulary and grammatical concepts without resorting to mere memorisation.

The course is taught by Eitan, a Brooklyn-based researcher, translator, and teacher interested in modern Yiddish culture as it relates to social movements..