Where To Learn Yiddish Online: Studying With Israeli Specialists

Clockmaker, 1914, Yehuda Pen (1854-1937)
Clockmaker, 1914, Yehuda Pen (1854-1937)

Learning Yiddish online can be a very frustrating thing to start. You worry about finding an affordable option that can fit in with a hectic day to day life. These conditions can make it seem as if it’s impossible to learn the language properly. Luckily, we did all the deep digging for you and found the very best place to start learning the historic language today. Below, we’ll show you where to learn Yiddish online and go over some information about the school’s faculty and courses, as well as give you some reviews we found from the students online.

Where To Learn Yiddish Online: The Israel Institute of Biblical Studies

Where To Learn Yiddish Online: Banner with the Israel Institute of Biblical StudiesThe Israel Institute of Biblical Studies prides itself on its mission to help people understand Hebrew and Jewish languages. The school deeply cares about the Bible and Jewish culture, and is associated with numerous renowned institutions such as The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. They aim to help spread the word all over the world, and help people gain skills to enrich their lives.

Every one of their courses is accredited, so you don’t have to worry about the lack of information in the courses. They offer also courses such as Biblical Hebrew, and Biblical Aramaic. Their students claim it’s the best method to learn the languages that they thought were otherwise impossible to grasp.

The Yiddish classes will take place in your home, and easily fit into your schedule. You have access to many resources that are there to enrich your knowledge of the language, such as on-demand videos and books that go more in-depth on the subject.

You’re never alone when you’re learning with the school. You have the chance to converse with your international peers and get to know them better. Need help on a question? Just pop into the forum and explain your problem areas, you’ll have students and teachers to back up your learning journey. Before learning more about the Yiddish language course offered by the Institute, let’s talk about the history of the Yiddish language.

History of The Yiddish Language

It’s deemed impossible to accurately pinpoint the exact location where Yiddish was created. The best theory states that it was constructed from various languages after the Jews living initially in France and Italy began their migration into the valley of the river Rhine. From there, the language saw many combinations that saw some Germanic elements integrated over the years.

The language began to spread with the Jewish people once again migrating to get away from the Black Plague that was spreading throughout Europe. The Crusades didn’t help this, and only helped the Plague push the Jewish people into new territories. During this time, the language began to become normalized in Eastern and Central Europe with Slavic words being introduced into the lexicon.

In its earliest days, the Ashkenazi societies understood that Hebrew was the language of the Bible. Their language of learning is known today as Aramaic, with their language of life being Yiddish. The three of these languages sound extremely different, but they all come from the same alphabet.

Yiddish saw a major increase as a spoken language with major publications due to the Printing Press in 1504. It took over 100 years for the two to find each other, and the language to be spread to areas that it would be unable to influence without it. The mass publication saw the rise of a more generic Yiddish. This was to be sure that the language would be able to be grasped by people with differing social barriers.

Modern Yiddish was introduced in the 19th century with the time period being hailed as the birth of Modern Yiddish literature. Sholem Yankev Abramovitsh was known as the “God-Father” of Yiddish Literature. Other notable figures from this time period include I.L Peretz, who was a poet, essayist, and drama writer. Sholem Aleichem was known to be the humorist of the three. All figures mentioned here had a heavy hand regarding how the language would be represented in literature.

Yiddish was declared the language of the Jewish people in 1908 at the first international conference regarding the language. This conference is known as the Czernowitz Conference. The main purpose of the conference was to go over all of the issues that the language was facing at the time period. One of the most vital topics was how Yiddish would be taught in schools and how the schools themselves would be funded, as well as basic Yiddish spelling.

Unfortunately, the topics above weren’t covered as well as they should have been. The conference saw a debate on whether the language would be recognized as THE international language or another version that the Jewish people would study.

The Soviet Union would begin to support Yiddish. Schools, theaters, and research were all permitted by the regime as long as they were expressed as expressions and not religious content. The early days of the support saw a massive rise in literature before the regime slowly started to censor words. This began the domino effect of the Union closing down many Yiddish institutions.

Joseph Stalin ordered several purges in 1937 revolving around Yiddish and the Jewish communities that studied it. Many writers and key figures in progressing the language were executed. Later, the Night of the Murdered Poets is known as the time period where almost all of the Yiddish writers were executed. This was due to Joseph Stalin seeing the community as an “Anti-Soviet” minority.

This philosophy was shared with the German Dictator, Adolf Hitler. Hitler was responsible for the propaganda geared toward death of millions of the Jewish community. Between 1918-1948, it was illegal for the Jewish community to do many day to day activities.

Before the second World War there were around 13 million Yiddish speakers throughout the world. This number reduced drastically after the war. 1951 saw the communities as being able to express their religion and culture. Literature saw a major expansion in 1970. This was a run off of the cultural revival that centered around music in the beginning.

The Teacher in Question

Daniel Birnbaum will be teaching you Yiddish. Since 2007 he has taught the language at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has taught many non-native students, so don’t feel intimidated if you have no experience. His M.A degree in the subject as well as years of teaching under his belt will make for well guided transition into the language. The thesis for his degree revolves around the work of Abramovich, who is a key figure in the Yiddish language as well as Yiddish culture.

He is one of the many teachers on the site that are dedicated to helping you learn the biblical languages.

What The Yiddish Course Covers

Where To Learn Yiddish Online: The Israel Institute of Biblical StudiesThe Yiddish language course starts at the beginning level. At the end of this class, you’ll be able to better understand the Yiddish language and culture. Your certificate will be acknowledged by The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is worth three credits. This will apply for every class you take with the school.

Below, we will take you through the first ten modules that the beginner course has to offer, and what you will learn by the end of the course. The course is designed for non-native students and semi-native speakers looking to gain more experience.

Module 1: In this module, you will be learning the phonetic system of writing and reading. You will learn the Hebrew Alphabet early on. Some discussions surrounding the Hebrew-Aramaic will serve to give you a better understanding of the alphabet. Construction of simple sentences show up here, and you will learn about “Doved un Sore” as a way to begin your analysis.

Module 2: You will cover basic expressions like where you live. This helps give you an introduction to personal pronouns and conjugations of present tense verbs. New questions like “Who” and “Where” are taught here to help with the above-mentioned topics. You will learn to introduce yourself in this module, and you will complete a survey of the Yiddish alphabet with new complex vowels and consonants.

Module 3: Personal introductions continue in this module. “To be” is taught here with other pronouns. You will learn the basic word order in the language and how to construct future sentences. New words from loshnkoydesh (“holy tongue”),are brought in to help you further your vocabulary.

Module 4: Colors are brought up in this course, and you will explore more personal pronouns that go over possession. This course sees the construction of yes and no questions. Indefinite and definite articles and the gender of the nouns are covered in this lesson. Before the next module, you will be able to break down the more complex sentences and expressions,

Module 5: You will start to become more comfortable with irregular verbs after this lesson with “To have” being an example. Greetings will work their way into your capabilities of speech. Numbers from 1-10 are studied and applied with the verbs before you are taught basic addition and subtraction.

Module 6: Indirect speech is the main focus in this lesson. You will become familiarized with newer verbs and go on to analyze another piece of text.

Module 7: Words for family members will work their way into your lexicon, and you will learn new words to describe them. This makes the personal pronouns you learned earlier vital for efficiently constructing sentences in this module.

Module 8: More regular and irregular verbs are taught in Module 8. There will be many in-depth practices around these verbs with pictures helping to back up the lessons. The ability to express yourself competently will begin to really be noticeable here. This is helped by routinely practicing word order throughout the module.

Reading a Newspaper, 1910, Yehuda Pen (1854-1937)
Reading a Newspaper, 1910, Yehuda Pen (1854-1937)

Module 9: Your usage of verbs certainly didn’t stop in the previous modules. You will focus more on motion verbs in this module. These include “to run” and “to come” and how to properly structure them in your sentences. Numbers will pop up again here, and you will better understand how to create complex verb sentences with them.

Module 10: This module is appropriately named “I love Yiddish!” because it will teach you how to properly express the things you love. Love is covered as a verb, and you will learn how to use it in its imperative form.

The Yiddish language has been spoken by the Jewish Community for over 600 years. The modules listed above were just the ten of the thirty that you will cover throughout the beginner course, and will serve as the foundation for the future courses they will offer. After finishing the course, you may be interested in learning Biblical Hebrew and how to translate the sacred texts yourselves.

What Are The Students Saying?

Students from countries all over the world are praising the school for their methods. The teachers are highly respected and appreciated at this institution, and their devotion to the mission is reflected off every review they are given. Many of these students were just like you: trying to find the best place to learn Yiddish online.

There is not one review on their site that goes below five stars, and every review shows the respect the teachers had for them. Not only that, but the convenience of the lessons are appreciated amongst the students, with many saying their experiences with the lessons driving them to learn more from the school.

Biblical Hebrew, Modern Hebrew, Biblical Greek, and even Biblical Aramaic are just some of the courses that the Institute has to offer. Many of the teachers teach various courses, and you may even run into a similar face down the line as you continue your schooling on the site.

The School In Review

By now it should be apparent that there is no better place for learning Yiddish online. The method has been used for years, and the school trusts some of the best names around for helping you learn the ancient language.

It is by far one of the best ways you can utilize the internet to learn something new. The best thing? After taking their courses, you have the opportunity to connect with other people around the world with same interests. Tuning into media and even expressing your own feelings in the culture can be an amazing experience for those that thought learning any of the languages they provide would be impossible to do so alone, or on other sites on the internet.

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