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!) at up to six levels -- Beginners (1, 2, & 3), Advanced Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced. Students in doubt about their course level may contact an instructor to discuss. All classes are currently online over Zoom.

 

REGISTER HERE FOR JANUARY INTERSESSION

Starting week of Jan. 4  |  4 weeks  |  Click here for more info

 

REGISTER HERE FOR THE SPRING SEMESTER

ONLINE Classes for Beginner 2 & 3, Advanced Beginner, Intermediate,

Advanced Language Through Literature  |  Starting week of Feb. 8  | 12 weeks

 

Level 1: Beginner, 2nd Semester | 12 weeks | Starting week of Feb 8

Choose one:

Sunday evening (with Jonah Sidman), 7:30pm – 9:00pm 

Monday evening (with Jonah), 7:30pm - 9:00pm 

Wednesday afternoon (with Jonah), 4:30pm – 6:00pm

Wednesday evening (with Chloe Piazza), 7:30 – 9:00pm 

Thursday evening (with Chloe), 7:30pm - 9:00pm 

 

This course is intended for students who have already taken a Beginner, 1st semester course at Boston Workers Circle or newcomers who already know the alef-beys and some basic Yiddish grammar and vocabulary.  Continue to learn conversation skills, how to read Yiddish, and elementary grammar. The class will be interactive and lively, using a textbook, songs, games, films and other multi-media materials. Classes taught by Jonah will use Colloquial Yiddish, which you can purchase at the Yiddish Book Center or other on-line sites; classes taught by Chloe will use In Eynem, which you can purchase exclusively at the Yiddish Book Center.  

 

Class size: 5 – 10 students

Instructors: Jonah Sidman or Chloe Piazza (see schedule above)

 

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Level 1: Beginner, 3rd semester  | 12 weeks | Starts February 10

Wednesday evening, 7:30pm - 9:00pm

 

This course is intended for students who have already taken a Beginner, 2nd semester course at Boston Workers Circle. New students who have elementary reading and speaking skills and who already who already know basic Yiddish grammar including present tense and exposure to past tense are welcome to join. The class will continue to use Colloquial Yiddish, which you can purchase at the Yiddish Book Center or other on-line sites. Music and other supplementary materials will be used as well.  

 

Class size: 5 – 12 students  

Instructor: Jonah Sidman

 

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Level 2:  Advanced Beginner | 12 weeks | Starts February 9

Tuesday evenings, 7:30pm - 9:00pm 

 

Focus on increasing your comfort with Yiddish grammar and with fluency speaking & reading and writing, through use of the textbook Colloquial Yiddish, conversation, reading, games, and music. Teachings will also include information about the culture and history of the Ashkenazi Jewish people and how to get connected with the contemporary world of Yiddish speakers.

 

Target level: This is a continuation of our fall 2020 Advanced Beginner class.  New students who can already read, write and speak simple sentences in Yiddish and who are willing to stretch to learn to read & write short texts in Yiddish and to do short oral presentations in class are welcome to join. 

Class Size: 5-12 students  

Instructor: Jonah Sidman

 

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Level 3: Intermediate | 12 weeks | Starts February 9

Tuesday evenings, 7:30pm - 9:00pm

 

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. The focus will be on continuing to read an abridged and annotated version of Motl Peyse dem Khasns by Sholem Aleichem, which you can purchase on-line at websites for The Yiddish League, The Yiddish Book Center or Amazon. 

 

Target level:  This is a continuation of our fall 2020 Intermediate class. New students who are 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 are welcome to join.  

Class Size: 5-12 students  

Instructor: Abby Howell

 

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Level 4: Advanced: Language through Literature | 12 weeks | Starts February 8

Monday evenings, 7:30pm - 9:00pm

 

This course is for students with several years of Yiddish learning and is intended to strengthen reading, writing, and speaking skills, with a focus on the latter.  Students will read a variety of annotated short stories about immigration to America, by authors including Malke Lee, Avrom Reisin, and Sholem Aleykhem, as well as newspaper articles, primarily from the Forverts. Discussions, primarily in Yiddish, will center on stories’ themes and characters, and on summarizing articles. Readings will be in Yiddish; conversations primarily in Yiddish. Points of grammar and novel vocabulary will be highlighted and practiced as needed.  

 

Class Size: 5-12 students  

Instructor: Lillian Leavitt

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Tuition Rates For All Classes

Member: $200 /Non-Member: $265

 

Young Adults & Low Income 

Member: $145 /Non-Member: $200

 

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

 

 

 
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OUR INSTRUCTORS

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 at Wistia. This is her fifth year teaching Yiddish at the Boston Workers Circle.

Chloe (זיסל) Piazza (they/them) is a PhD student in Near Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley with Designated Emphases in Jewish Studies and Gender and Women's Studies. Before moving to Berkeley, they taught the Alef class at BWC children's Shule. They were a Yiddish Pedagogy fellow at the Yiddish Book Center and are currently a Teaching Fellow at SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva. Their translation of Di Ague, an early Yiddish play by Maria Lerner, is forthcoming in a volume on women on the Yiddish stage from Syracuse University Press. When not in academic drag, they write and perform queer Jewish theatre.

Jonah Sidman is native of Brooklyn and a graduate of Oberlin College. He is an educator at the Museum of Science and 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 studied Yiddish at Boston Workers Circle, he's pleased to now share his knowledge with new students. 

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 Worker'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.

 

 

REGISTER:

►ONLINE: Register here.

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