Yiddish Classes

If you're looking for Yiddish language classes in Boston (and beyond!), you've come to the right place. Our instructors are passionate about Yiddish and are experienced educators. Whether you are a beginner 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 classes in the fall and spring (and, this year, a January intersession and summer school!) across a range of levels. Students in doubt about their course level should email info@circleboston.org. All classes are currently online over Zoom. You can participate from anywhere - even on vacation!

 

REGISTER HERE FOR YIDDISH SUMMER SCHOOL

Most classes begin the week of June 21.  If you want to start a little later in the summer, we have a Beginner class starting July 11.

|  General Interest: A Taste of Yiddish Language Through Song  | 

|  Level 1: Beginner Yiddish   |   Level 2: Advanced Beginner  |

|  Reading Class for New Intermediates  |  Reading Class for  Experienced Intermediates  | 

Full course information below.

 

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General Interest: A Taste of Yiddish Language Through Song

Mon. evenings, 7:30 - 9:00 pm, starting June 21; 7 weeks

 

Songs will be available in transliteration for those who don’t know the Yiddish alphabet; English translations will also be provided. Melodies will be taught by ear rather than with sheet music. Materials will be provided by the teachers free of charge.

 

Whether you already know some Yiddish or not, this is a chance to immerse yourself in Yiddish language, music, culture and history. Each class will focus on a particular theme, such as labor, protest songs, holidays, love and food. Students will read the text of a few songs per class, learn the melodies, listen to various traditional and new artists’ interpretations, and hear about cultural context. We will focus on the pronunciation and language of the songs, with occasional extensions into basic Yiddish vocabulary and other features of the language.  

 

Teachers: Jonah Sidman and Adah Hetko

 

[Boston Workers Circle’s monthly Yiddish Sing complements this course, offering the public an informal setting for singing Yiddish songs together once a month, currently on Zoom. Learn more about Yiddish Sing here.] 

 

 

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Level 1:  Beginner Yiddish

Choose one:

Tues. evenings, 7:30 - 9:00 pm, with Jonah Sidman, starting June 22; 7 weeks OR

Sun. mornings, 10:30 am - 12:00 pm, with Dalia Wolfson, starting July 11; 7 weeks

Learn how to read Yiddish, elementary grammar, and conversation skills. Students who don't yet know the Hebrew alphabet will be asked to join the class a half hour early for the first several sessions. The class will be interactive and lively, using a textbook, songs, games, and other multimedia materials. 

Students can purchase the textbook, Colloquial Yiddish, here or here or at other on-line sites.

 

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Level 2:  Advanced Beginner Reading Class  

Sunday evenings, 7:30 - 9:00 pm, starting June 20, for 7 weeks

(potentially skipping the weekend of July 4th)

 

This class is geared to students who have already taken a Boston Workers Circle Beginner 2 class. New students who already know the Yiddish alef-beys and who have some experience constructing & reading simple sentences in Yiddish are welcome to join. Students will read chapters from Mayn Folk, a Yiddish language narrative of Jewish history, which they can download free of charge from the Yiddish Book Center here. Classes will also include simple discussions in Yiddish on the narrative, to build conversation skills.  

 

Teacher: Jonah Sidman 

 

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Level 3A:  Reading Class for New Intermediates 

Wed. evenings, 7:30 - 9:00 pm, starting June 23; 7 weeks

 

This class is geared to students who have already taken a Boston Workers Circle Beginner 3 or Advanced Beginner class. New students who have read some simple stories with the guidance of a teacher and who are familiar with grammar such as past and future tense and converbs are welcome to join. We’ll read a few selected short stories, including at least one about Chelm, the famous village of fools from Jewish folklore. Reading materials will be provided by the teacher.  Classes will also include simple discussions in Yiddish on the narrative, to build conversation skills.  

 

Teacher: Jonah Sidman

 

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Level 3B: Reading Class for Experienced Intermediates

Tues. evenings, 7:30 - 9:00 pm starting June 22; 7 weeks

 

This class is geared to students who have already taken a Boston Workers Circle Intermediate class. New students who already have experience reading more complex texts with the help of a glossary or dictionary and/or the guidance of a teacher are welcome to join.  Students will build on their knowledge of Yiddish through reading, writing, speaking, and listening. This summer, we'll start with readings from the play “The Dybbuk”. Students can purchase the bi-lingual Yiddish-English 2014 edition here. Other readings may include poetry, short stories and news articles.  

 

Teacher: Abby Howell

 

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Tuition Rates For All Classes

Member: $118 /Non-Member: $160

 

Young Adults & Low Income 

Member: $80 /Non-Member: $118

 

*No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Please contact Sandy, sandy@circleboston.org, if you need financial assistance with tuition or book purchases for the class.

Become a member here.

 

 

*Minimum number of students per class: 5. Maximum: 10-12. Register now to save your spot.
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OUR INSTRUCTORS

Adah Hetko is a Yiddish singer, songwriter and educator based in Somerville. She is lead singer for Burikes band, an artist-in-residence at the Boston Synagogue, and Multidisciplinary Programs Coordinator for KlezKanada's 2021 retreat. She has studied Yiddish at Vassar College, Yiddish Farm, the Yiddish Book Center (where she has also worked as a Graduate Fellow and for the Steiner Summer Yiddish Program), and Indiana University, Bloomington (where she completed an MA in Jewish Studies). At BWC, she has taught Yiddish dance, performed in Gragger, led a workshop for the A Bisl series and joyfully participated in Yiddish activities!  https://www.adahhetko.net/

 

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 Workers Circle. Abby has a M.Ed. in Education of the Deaf from Boston University, and is currently a software engineer. This is her fifth year teaching Yiddish at the Boston Workers Circle.

 

Jonah Sidman is a native of Brooklyn and a graduate of Oberlin College.  A science educator, he is also the music teacher at Boston Workers 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 begun his Yiddish studies at Boston Workers Circle, he's pleased to now be sharing his knowledge with students as a teacher.

 

 

Dalia Wolfson is a graduate student in the Comparative Literature department at Harvard University, and a resident of the Moishe House of Somerville. Her first exposure to Yiddish was in weekly classes at Kinneret Day School in Riverdale, NY; she picked it up again in college, and has continued studying Yiddish ever since through various programs. A participant in BWC’s Svive and Somerville Vinkl, she is excited to continue sharing and learning with the BWC community.

 

REGISTER:

â–ºONLINE: Register here.

*No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Please contact Sandy, sandy@circleboston.org, if you need financial assistance or book purchases for the class.