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About Yiddish

Yiddish has been spoken for centuries by Jews in Eastern Europe, the United States and Canada, Latin America, and elsewhere. Its grammar is close to that of German (and English); its vocabulary comes from early German, Hebrew, and Slavic sources. From the sixteenth century, Jews developed a rich and multifaceted literature in this language. Today Yiddish is the primary language of some ultra-Orthodox and Hasidic communities. Among other Jews and non-Jews around the world it is enjoying a revival as a language for reading, speaking, and singing.

At Stanford, Yiddish is taught through the Taube Center for Jewish Studies. The instructor for 2009-2010 is Jon "Reb Yankel" Levitow. Yiddish literature classes are taught by Gabriella Safran, an Associate Professor in the Slavic Department.

Professors in other departments--including Amir Eshel (German), Steven Zipperstein (History), and John Felstiner (English)--also use Yiddish literature in their teaching. Zachary Baker is Judaica/Hebraica Curator in the Stanford University Libraries, which boasts an extensive collection of Yiddish literature and periodicals.