Yiddish is an inseparable part of Jewish culture and literature, spoken by European Jew for over 600 years. Connect with your Jewish roots, and learn Yiddish with our teachers in Israel.

Course Description

Course Main Takeways
  • Level
  • Weekly Hours
    2 hrs
  • Duration
    9 Months
  • Language
  • Accreditation
    This course is worth 3 credits at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Learn grammatical rules, sentence structures, and a rich vocabulary while discovering Yiddish literature and humor with your classmates. You’ll quickly be able to hold your own in basic Yiddish conversations!

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Syllabus Summary

  1. Welcome to Yiddish

    Welcome! In the first unit we familiarize ourselves with the phonetic system of writing and reading in Yiddish using the Hebrew alphabet. The Hebrew-Aramaic (loshn-koydesh) element in Yiddish is discussed. We begin constructing simple questions using the word וואָס . We read and analyze a short text, "Doved un Sore". Finally, we learn our first Yiddish proverb.

  2. Where do you live?

    In this unit we will learn the personal pronouns and the conjugation of the present tense of the regular verb; the new question words who and where (וווּ, ווער) are introduced. In this unit students learn to introduce themselves with the phrase (איך הייס...) "my name is". We complete our survey of the Yiddish alphabet with the complex vowel sounds and complex consonant sounds.

  3. Are you a student?

    In this unit, students learn the present tense of the irregular verb “to be” (זײַן). The use of the pronoun מען is discussed, as well as the use of the pronoun איר for polite address. The unit teaches the basic rule of word order in Yiddish. Students learn the new question word וואָסער . Finally, the unit introduces some new vocabulary with words from loshn-koydesh.

  4. Is that a dog?

    In this unit we learn the basic colors in Yiddish as well as some new adjectives. We meet “Rabtshik” in a new text, and learn to construct “yes” or “no” questions with the question word “tsi”. We learn about the noun in Yiddish, definite and indefinite articles and the gender of nouns. Finally, we learn to negate simple sentences.

  5. How are you doing?

    In this unit, we will get acquainted with the important irregular verb האָבן —to have. We will learn the greeting “how are you?” and possible responses. We will learn the numbers 1-10 and the use of the question word וויפֿל . We will also learn a little addition and subtraction.

  6. Unit 6: In Class

    In this unit we’ll learn the difference between “redn” and “zogn”. We will learn how to use indirect speech with the word “az”. We’ll get acquainted with the new verbs: “arbetn”,”fregn”,”entfern” and “shraybn”. Finally, we’ll read a new text: אין קלאַס and use it to practice posing and answering more complex questions.

  7. Family - Mishpokhe

    In this unit we'll learn some basic vocabulary for family members. We'll also learn possessive pronouns: my, your, his, etc…

  8. What do you want to do?

    This unit introduces a series of new regular verbs and the slightly irregular verb ("to do"). These verbs are practiced extensively with the use of pictures, by asking and answering questions. The modal verb וועלן ("to want") is introduced and its use explained. Students learn the question and answer words פֿאַר וואָס and ווייַל . Finally, students practice word order in Yiddish.

  9. Where are you going?

    This unit concentrates on verbs of motion. We will learn a number of new verbs--to go, to run, to come--and how to use them. We will also practice numbers and learn how to tell time in Yiddish.

  10. I love Yiddish!

    In this unit we learn how to express like and love using the verb ליב האָבן . We also learn the imperative form of the verb.

  11. At Home

    In this unit students will learn new vocabulary from the home. They also learn some plural forms of words from loshn-koydesh. Students also learn the expressions es iz do and es iz nishto "there is" and "there isn't". The unit contains two short new texts "gornisht tsu esn" and "pini's dire". Finally, students learn the form of verbs like "shtudirn" and "telefonirn".

  12. I must buy a present!

    In this unit we will learn vocabulary for purchasing and selling, particularly clothes and vegetables. In addition we will learn the verbs that express "I must/ I have to".

  13. The Past Tense

    This unit introduces the past tense of regular verbs: those that take the auxiliary verb "hobn" and whose past participle is regular. The issue of word order is re-introduced and extensive attention is given to asking questions in the past tense. New verbs zukhn, hern and shpiln are learned. Students also learn the use of the prepositions oyf and in with shpiln in order to express playing an instrument (oyf) or playing a game (in). Some new vocabulary for instruments and games is taught.

  14. He told us a story.

    In this unit we will continue our study of the past tense, learning verbs with unstressed prefixes. We will also learn the verb "to give" and the personal pronouns in the Dative case (as indirect objects).

  15. The Bird Sang!

    In this unit we will focus on the past participle of some familiar irregular verbs.

  16. Bob became a dancer!

    In this unit we will focus on familiar verbs that use the verb זייַן to form their past tense. We will also learn the verb in Yiddish "to become". Finally we'll learn the past form of the phrase "there is"-- .עס איז דאָ

  17. The Future Tense

    In this unit we will learn the future tense. We will also begin our study of the different grammatical cases in Yiddish, focusing on the direct object. We will also learn some vocabulary for the natural world. We will review the imperative and the direct object pronouns. We also learn the modal verb meaning "to know" קענען .

  18. I'm happy when I see your face!

    Students learn the reflexive verbs freyen zikh, krign zikh, shemen zikh, ayln zikh and lernen zikh. The unit introduces some vocabulary for parts of the human body. In this unit students learn the second meaning of the verb kenen "to be able to".

  19. I walked in the forest!

    In this unit we practice the use of verbs of motion in the past tense emphasizing the use of the auxiliary verb zayn. The unit reviews the numbers and students learn to express the years in Yiddish. (e.g. 1942). Students also practice the use of the verb "to want" in the past tense.

  20. Sore talks with her Grandmother

    This unit revolves around a dialogue between a granddaughter and grandmother. Students learn and practice the past tense of the verb hobn, "to have". Students also learn the past tense of the verb lib hobn. We will learn some other periphrastic verbs: faynt hobn, moyre hobn, khasene hobn and hanoe hobn. We will also begin learning the declension of adjectives in the nominative case.

  21. I ate the big red apple!

    In this unit we will review the changes that occur when a noun is in the accusative case (the direct object of the verb). We will get familiar with the adjective endings for the accusative case. We will also introduce some new vocabulary related to animals and eating.

  22. "On the stove" "אויפֿן פּריפּעטשיק"

    This unit provides an overview of the use of the various cases in Yiddish. Students learn the changes that occur when a noun is in the dative case. We will also get familiar with the dative adjective endings. Students learn contraction of prepositions with male and neuter articles. The Yiddish song, "Oyfn pripetchek" is also taught.

  23. It hurts

    In this unit we will explore some of the uses of the dative case in expressions, "it hurts" and "I'm cold". We will learn to make sentences with " עס " as the subject. We will also learn some vocabulary related to the weather and the seasons.

  24. Chanukah

    This unit is devoted to the theme of Chanukah and we will learn vocabulary and a Yiddish song related to the holiday. We will learn to conjugate a new type of verb: the verb with a detachable prefix. We will also learn a new way of using adjectives in the predicate.

  25. Rebbe Elimeylekh

    This unit centers on the classic Yiddish song, "Rebbe Elimeylekh", using it as a starting point to learn new material. We learn the adjective (/adverb) ending יק,-דיק - . We learn two new verbs with separable prefixes: אויסטאָן, אָנטאָן .We learn the inflection of the word אַנדער (other) and the use of demonstrative pronouns.

  26. The Sabbath

    This unit centers on the theme of shabes (the Sabbath) with a folktale about the creation of the world. We will learn the ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.), comparative adjectives (bigger, better, stronger, etc.) and superlatives (the biggest, strongest, etc.).

  27. In, Out, Up, Down

    This unit centers on the use of the adverbial compliments: arayn, aroys, aroyf and arop in combination with verbs of motion and other verbs.

  28. Tum-Balalaika

    In this unit we will learn the Yiddish folksong "Tum-Balalaika" and vocabulary from the natural landscape as well as words relating to love and romance. We will review the modal verbs and learn some uses of the auxiliary-verb "zoln".

  29. The Holocaust

    This unit is devoted to the theme of the Holocaust and it includes related vocabulary. We will learn part of the song of the Jewish Partisans in WWII.

  30. Yiddish Sayings

    In the last unit, students will learn a series of Yiddish sayings, as a way of reviewing and consolidating topics learned.

Full Syllabus

This course is accredited by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

  • We partnered with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, one of the leading biblical research institutes in the world, to bring you a wealth of Biblical knowledge in courses developed by renowned scholars.
  • Upon completion, you’ll receive a certificate of achievement from the Israel Institute of Biblical Studies signed by the dean of the faculty.
  • We also offer an academic track, with 3 academic credits, which is recognized in universities worldwide. To hear more details and enroll in the academic track click here.
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  • Extra Practice Sessions
    A weekly Q&A session in addition to the regular lesson

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