LSA Course Guide Search Results: UG, Fall 2022, Subject = YIDDISH

Courses in Yiddish

The Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan offers students an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Jewish civilizations and thought.

Why major or minor in Judaic Studies?

Jews have a long and rich history stretching across many parts of the globe. For many years they lived as a minority group dispersed among Christian and Muslim majorities. Today Jews in Israel form a majority with political power.

Judaic Studies introduces students to the religion, culture, and history of Jews throughout the world from the era of the rabbis to contemporary American society. The program explores the rich culture and historical experience of the Jewish people, their unique traditions, interactions with other cultures, and impact on world civilizations. It draws on the academic excellence and expertise of faculty in many disciplines: English, History, Near Eastern Studies, Political Science, Romance Languages, Slavic Studies, and Women’s Studies.


With over 120 currently approved Judaic Studies courses offered during the Fall and Winter terms of each academic year, majors and minors enjoy diverse options as they progress through their studies. Students can also sample additional courses from visiting faculty. Frankel Center advisors assist students in determining the program of study tailored to individual interests. Due to ongoing curriculum development, the course numbers and titles are subject to change at any time. Please contact the Frankel Center for verification of this information and for current availability.

Why study Yiddish?

The language of the Jewish people for over a thousand years, Yiddish possesses a lively literature that flourished in the 19th and 20th centuries. Jews living in Eastern Europe brought Yiddish culture — music, drama, newspapers, film, poetry and prose — wherever they emigrated: to the United States, Argentina, South Africa, and Israel. Yiddish is a key to unlock the world of Jewish immigrants and to understand the dynamic society of East European Jews before the Holocaust. While never a sacred language like Hebrew, Yiddish is now the vernacular of Hasidic Jews in Israel and the United States.

“Why Study Yiddish?”

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

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. They can learn to read and speak, to write and compose. Texts studied in class include Yiddish children’s literature, folklore, literary and historical works, films, and music. All courses examine Yiddish within a broader context of Jewish history, sociology, politics, and culture.

Yiddish courses are offered at U-M under two different sets of numbers, Judaic Studies and Yiddish, by the Jean & Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies and the Department of Germanic Languages & Literatures, respectively.

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