But seriously, why do so many people want to learn Yiddish?
Over 50,000 people from around the world visited this site this year. People who want to improve their Yiddish vocabulary, or their conversation skills, or just learn Yiddish slang.
Yiddish-lovers all seem to make their way to Yiddish Academy sooner or later.
Are you a Yiddish lover too?
The big question is: What are we all doing here?
We all know that Yiddish is not a very useful language. It’s pretty rare to encounter someone who speaks Yiddish fluently. And when you do, they are almost always fluent in another, more common language too.
It’s not necessary for business, travel or socializing.
It’s not going to advance your career in the diplomatic service.
It’s old, out-dated and not developing much as a modern language.
So why would anyone want to spend time and effort to learn this mish-mash of Old German and Ancient Hebrew?
After running this community for over 3 years, I think I know the answer.
But first… allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Shmelke (or at least that’s what they call me in Yiddish).
I grew up in Detroit, Michigan, in a Jewish home but I hardly knew a word of Yiddish for most of my life.
In my early 20s I felt an increasing desire to learn this rich Jewish language. I read many textbooks and teach-yourself guides.
I pounced on every old Jewish man, hoping to practice my Yiddish conversation with them. Of course, when they replied I would often get confused and flustered.
As much as I tried, I felt stuck in my Yiddish learning.
But I didn’t give up.
My Yiddish life took a dramatic turn for the better about 7 years ago, when I met up with Moishe. I should say that I re-met him, since we actually grew up in the same neighborhood in Detroit. But when we were kids, neither of us knew more Yiddish than you find in the average schmaltzy Hollywood movie.
But when reconnected, we found that we now shared a common love of Yiddish. We were both teaching ourselves the language, but Moishe was much more advanced than me. In fact, he was schmoozing up a storm with old Jewish guys and sounded like he grew up in the shtetl in Fiddler on the Roof.
I asked him how he did it.
I begged him to share his secret.
And it was Gevaldik!
That’s when I realized that Moishe had developed a really effective and fun method for teaching yourself Yiddish – much easier and more enjoyable than any book or program out there. And trust me, I tried a lot of them.
That’s when Moishe and I cooked up the idea of sharing his Yiddish learning method with the world and create an online course to teach conversational Yiddish.
We both loved the idea. But before we started, we asked ourselves:
Why would anyone out there want to learn Yiddish?
After 3 years and thousands of Yiddish learners on this site, I now know that there are several common answers to that question.
Here are the top 7 reasons why people like you want to learn Yiddish:
You connect to Yiddish as a precious Jewish cultural birthright that deserves to be preserved
You want to a deeper appreciation of the unique Yiddish culture and literature
You want to delve into Jewish religious and historical texts in their original Yiddish
You want to be part of that exclusive club of folks who know how to schmooze in the language of schmoozing
You want to feel close to your Yiddish-speaking grandparents and other community elders
You think speaking Yiddish is a really cool shtik!
You just want to learn Yiddish because you love it… and no explanation is necessary
Whatever your reason for wanting to learn Yiddish, you have come to the right place: Yiddish Academy: The Place to Learn Yiddish.
This is the home for Yiddish lovers the world over – we have a ton of resources to help you learn to speak, read, write and even rap in Yiddish.
It all begins with our flagship program:
The Beginner’s Yiddish Conversational Course, which will teach you to speak Yiddish using Moishe’s celebrated method.
This fun and interactive course can transform you into a real walking, talking Yiddish speaker in just a few weeks.
It shows you how to:
Hold basic Yiddish conversations with confidence
Understand and respond to everyday questions
Avoid pronunciation mistakes – every lesson comes with audio
Rapidly increase your vocabulary through our bonus glossary
Take your Yiddish knowledge to the next level with the most comprehensive Yiddish learning resource guide on the Web
PLUS A BONUS MODULE: Learn to read and write in Yiddish, even if you can’t type in Hebrew!
Sounds Too Good to be True?
Here’s what some of our members have to say about the course:
“The site was designed very well. I particularly enjoyed the sound feature to hear the yiddish words and phrases…. I thought it was fun. I even showed it to my kids and they enjoyed listening to the audio. I particularly enjoyed the beatles song.”
“So far I’m only on Lesson 1e so I’m very happy and pleased. I spend 1/2 hour each day (except Shabbos) working with the lessons on the site. My congregation is planning a Yiddish weekend next summer and I hope to know a bisl by then. A danke.”
“I sometimes volunteer in a hospital visiting lonely elderly patients. I have always wanted to be able to speak to them in Yiddish. After working through most of your course, I finally got the courage to speak to an old Jewish lady in Yiddish. She was so thrilled. It really made her day (and mine)! i hope to keep learning Yiddish so thanks so much for getting me started!!!”
You, too, are invited to be a part of this international community of Yiddish lovers and learners.
And best of all, when you take The Yiddish Academy Beginner’s Course, you contribute to the development of Yiddish Academy’s resources and courses, and help keep Yiddish a thriving language for years to come.
Yiddish comes alive when people speak it. Every Yiddish word spoken, gives the language life!
So be a part of Yiddish. Learn your a new Yiddish phrase right now!
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Concerned you may realize next week that you’d much rather learn Spanish?
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