When asked the question, “Why study Yiddish?,” a very Yiddish answer might be, “Why not?” Study of Yiddish may stem from a personal connection to the language, its cultural heritage, its role as a window to Eastern European Jewish history and its connection to the Jewish American immigrant experience. Yiddish played and continues to play an important role within the modern Jewish experience.

The University of Michigan Judaic Studies is a leader in providing a comprehensive language curriculum for undergraduate and graduate programs: Both emphasize a broad understanding of either Hebrew or Yiddish for graduation. With a deep commitment to Jewish languages in their past forms, Judaic Studies also offers courses in contemporary Hebrew literature and an exhaustive roster of Yiddish, celebrating both languages’ dynamism.

Learning the language enables students to engage with the study of historical, literary and religious texts, as well as politics, folklore, anthropology, and other contemporary aspects of the culture, such as film and media.

Students of Yiddish can progress to a high level of fluency at the University of Michigan. Texts include Yiddish children’s literature, folklore, literary and historical texts, films, and music. Yiddish is examined within a broader context within the history, sociology, politics, and culture it produced.

Yiddish 102 Presents "Harshl" - Click image below to view video


Yiddish is taught every academic year, for more information, check the Yiddish Course listings.