Beginner & Advanced Beginner Yiddish Classes

6 Webster St. Brookline, MA 02446


at Workmen’s Circle, 6 Webster Street, Brookline

9 evenings, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m., starting Oct. 28  (Mon classes) or Oct. 29 (Tues classes)

Beginner(Tues nights):  Learn conversation skills, how to read Yiddish, and elementary grammar. Students who don't yet know the Hebrew alphabet may be asked to come to class a half hour early for the first few sessions. The class will be interactive and lively, using a textbook, songs, games, films and other multi-media materials. 

Level:  This course will suit you whether you’re totally new to Yiddish or already know a few basics. 
Instructor: Jonah Sidman.

Advanced Beginner (Tues nights): In this course, we'll focus on increasing comfort with the basic grammar of Yiddish and with fluency speaking & reading, through use of a textbook, conversation, reading, games, and music. Along the way, you'll learn more about the culture and history of the Ashkenazi Jewish people. By the end of the course, students will be able to read short texts in Yiddish with the help of a dictionary. Extra resources for how to get connected with the contemporary world of Yiddish speakers will be included.
 LevelStudents should be familiar with the alef-beys, and be able to read, write and speak some simple sentences in Yiddish. A typical advanced beginner student has studied Yiddish before, but doesn't feel confident yet with reading paragraphs, and would like to review and continue to learn about tenses, verb conjugations, and other mechanics of the language.
Instructor: Abby Howell.

Intermediate (Mon nights):  Students will build on their knowledge of Yiddish through conversation, reading annotated prose and poetry, further exploring Yiddish grammar (including more advanced verb forms and sentence structures), and diving into the wide world of Yiddish music and culture, integrating both modern day and historical content. Our class will also explore the interests of the students (that's you!) and what corners of Yiddish most excite you. 
LevelParticipants should be motivated to read Yiddish beyond basic texts with the help of a dictionary and have some experience speaking Yiddish within or outside of a classroom setting.
Instructor: Max Edwards.

Lanuage through Literature (Mon nights):  The fall semester will focus on the poetry, song, and diary/memoir entries of the Vilna Ghetto and United Partisan Resistance fighters, Avrom Sutzkever and Shmerke Katsherginski.. Along with reading and discussing texts, students will write brief synopses of authors lives and the experiences they describe. We will review grammar as it occurs in the readings, with exercises to clarify unfamiliar material. Class discussions will be primarily in Yiddish with allowances for Yinglish and English as needed. “Partisans of Vilna” produced in 1985 by Aviva Kempner, will be shown as an adjunct to the readings. 
Level:This is a coursefor students who are fairly fluent in Yiddish reading and motivated to improve their speaking abilities.  
Instructor: Lillian Leavitt.


Max Edwards is a Boston transplant from Minnesota, and is currently a rabbinical student at Hebrew College in Newton, MA. He has studied Yiddish at YIVO in New York, on Yiddish Farm, and at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute in Vilnius, Lithuania (his favorite city in the world). Max has taught Yiddish at the Boston Workmen's Circle since 2015 and is thrilled to be back for another year!

Abby Howell learned to speak Yiddish while she was a student at the University of Texas at Austin, and continued her study at the National Yiddish Book Center's summer internship program, at YIVO's intensive Weinreich Summer Program in New York, and at the Boston Workmen's Circle. Abby has a M.Ed. in Education of the Deaf from Boston University, and is currently a software engineer at Wistia. This will be her fifth (non-consecutive) year teaching Yiddish at the Boston Workmen's Circle.

Lillian Shporer Leavitt, a daughter of Shoah survivors, grew up speaking Yiddish and graduated from the Boston Workmen's Circle Yiddish shule. A former computer business analyst and software trainer, she is an experienced Yiddish teacher and translator, having taught at the Workmen's Circle, Gann Academy of Greater Boston, Boston University Hillel, and Brandeis University; subtitled Yiddish films for the National Center for Jewish Film; and translated Yiskor books for Jewish Genealogy.

Jonah Sidman is native of Brooklyn and a graduate of Oberlin College. He is an educator at the Museum of Science and at Boston Workmen's Circle's children's shule.  He can often be found fiddling for American or Irish folk dances all over the East Coast, and speaking/singing in Yiddish locally. Having studied Yiddish at Boston Workmen's Circle, he's pleased to now share his knowledge with new students.  


FOR MORE INFORMATION, please call us at 617 566-6281, email or visit