27 July 2009

Yiddish: Register for this online class

Want to learn mamaloshen (Yiddish)? No time during the day? No place to take it near home?

Here's the solution: an online Yiddish class which you can do from home no matter where in the world you live.

You can also receive optional academic credit from the University of Massachusetts, as you study with the National Yiddish Book Center's faculty and explore Yiddish culture through literature, film, theater and music.

The course is for students who wish to explore the language and culture of Ashkenazic Jewry. There are no prerequisites, and no knowledge of any Jewish language or the Jewish alphabet is expected. Over the course of the semester, students will learn to read, write, and converse in Yiddish and will be introduced to a number of Yiddish songs, poems, and folktales. By the end of the term, students should be able to converse in Yiddish on a variety of topics and to read simple Yiddish texts.
Online registration is now open for this new class.

Yiddish has been spoken by most European Ashkenazi Jews for nearly 1,000 years. It went from the Rhineland (today's Germany) east to Slavic lands, and then went along for the ride with immigrants who resettled in the Americas, Australia, South Africa and elsewhere.

According to the Center:

This course will give students an opportunity to experience the richness of Yiddish literature—and Yiddish humor—in the original; to learn about the Hasidic world through tales and songs; and to speak, write, and read in Yiddish while exploring American and East European Yiddish literature, film, theater and klezmer music.
Instructor Yuri Vedenyapin is the academic director of the National Yiddish Book Center's Summer Yiddish Program.

He teaches Yiddish language and culture at Harvard University, and his interests include old and modern Yiddish literature, Eastern European Jewish folklore, the history of Yiddish dialects and literary standards, as well as ethnographic fieldwork. He's conducted interviews with Yiddish writers, actors, and members of Hasidic communities.

With a BA (Harvard University) and MA (Columbia University), he has also taught Yiddish at Columbia University, Moscow State University, and the Yiddish Summer Program in Warsaw, Poland. Additionally, he also performs in Yiddish, Russian and Polish.

Click here for more information and to register for the class (for academic credit or not). The cost isn't unexpensive ($600, or $570 for National Yiddish Book Center members), but there are many advantages to learning online and the instructor is tops in his field. The class runs from September-December.

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