August 17, 2017 10:30 am at 10:30 am #1341014
Rashi – He probably spoke a Jewish dialect of Old French (written in Hebrew letters). That community was destroyed by the Crusades and they moved eastward towards what is today Germany and eastern Europe (which is why there are many French words in Yiddish, such as “bentsch” and “lein” and possibly “daven”.
Yiddish dying? – The number of children speaking Yiddish has a primary language has been increasing steadily starting with the late 20th century, and non-Torah Yiddish materials (such as Yiddish newspapers) appear stable. Unless the non-zionist hasidim switch languages, Yiddish is not dying.
Advantages of studying Yiddish (if you aren’t a hasid or a scholar of 19th and 20th century Jewish history) – It would help understand English grammer (which is true of studying any Germanic language, but outside of German the other Germanic languages are significantly less useful to a Jew than Yiddish). While Yiddish grammar is being corrupted by English and Hebrew, Yiddish preserves the complex verb structure also found in English and still has a full set of inflections for gender (though I suspect the “neuter” will drop out under English and Hebrew influences).August 17, 2017 11:15 am at 11:15 am #1341087
gilda: Yiddish is “Mama Loshen” ONLY to Yidden who come from Europe/Russia (Ashkenazic lands).August 17, 2017 11:57 am at 11:57 am #1341132
Most Yidden, both in Eretz Yisroel (per the Israeli C.B.S. government census) and certainly in the world at large, are Ashkenazim.August 17, 2017 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm #1341182
Disadvantage of speaking Yiddish: random German speakers who overhear you understand you but think you have awful grammar.August 17, 2017 2:55 pm at 2:55 pm #1341210
1. Secular Yiddish newspapers in the US either folded or went over to English years ago.
2. Yiddish and German grammar is not at all like English grammar. For example, Yiddish and German separate the prefix form the main verb in sentences and put the infinitive at the end (e.g. in German “I am beginning to learn German” is “Ich fange an, Deutsch zu lernen” – to begin” is “anfangen”.
Joseph, wrong again. Most Jews in Israel are Sepharadim and bnei Eidot HaMizrach. the vast majority of French Jews are also Sepharadim.
RY, speakers of Swiss-German might understand a Yiddish speaker if he speaks slowly (so I was told by a Swiss-German speaker) but Germans would have a problem, especialy being that many Yiddish words are of Hebrew or Slavic origin (e.g. “bubbe” comes from the Russian “babuska” whereas in German it is “Oma”. See “Yiddish vs. German: An Experiment” online.August 17, 2017 2:59 pm at 2:59 pm #1341262
Whose momma?August 17, 2017 2:59 pm at 2:59 pm #1341266
Yiddish is a dying language
Now that’s pushing it. The Yiddish-speaking communities (such as the various Chassidim and the heavily Yeshivish) are increasing in size much more rapidly than the other Orthodox communities are.August 17, 2017 3:21 pm at 3:21 pm #1341325
Avi, According to the Israeli CBS census you’re wrong. Israel has more Ashkenazim than Sephardim.August 17, 2017 6:31 pm at 6:31 pm #1341331
Why would a Swiss-German speaker understand Yiddish any better than a German-German speaker?August 18, 2017 1:04 am at 1:04 am #1341625
Yekke, already in Volozhin he preferred to speak Hebrew. When Rav Charlap first came to his yeshiva he addressed RK in Yiddish. RK said “Being that you are new hear I will not be makpid on you. However, you should know that one does not address me in Jargon”. All of his letter to his son, brother and father were written in Hebrew. He did write to his mother in Yiddish but that was probably because she simply did not understand Hebrew.September 10, 2017 6:24 pm at 6:24 pm #1359908
Yiddish is the Jewish language hence the name. The only reason so many people dont speak it is because people (no offense avi k) people like you are suggeting against. well of coarse it wont spread. and also yiddish is not even close to dying. Many chassidim and yeshivish litvaks still speak it in there homes today. Yidden stopped speaking hebrew because it wasnt b’chavodik to use it for ovdei chol. Therefor they made yiddish. Maybe yiddish speakers shrunk significantley that doesnt mean we cant learn it and bring it back.September 10, 2017 7:34 pm at 7:34 pm #1359951
In his weeks ami in the numbers it said there around 250,000 Yiddish speakers in the USA aloneSeptember 10, 2017 7:54 pm at 7:54 pm #1359993
Ami is likely underestimating the number of American Yiddish speakers by a large amount.September 10, 2017 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm #1360126
IncludIng chabadSeptember 10, 2017 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm #1360128
In a certain Litvish school, kindergarten children are taught the alef bais in Yiddish. For each letter, they have pictures of things that begin with the letter. The problem is that no Yiddish word begins with vais, so they use a picture of a lulav, which at least ends in vais. As someone pointed out, they phase out Yiddish after a few years, after which I suspect most boys forget it (unless they have Yiddish speaking relatives).September 11, 2017 12:19 am at 12:19 am #1360142
I’ve been to Yiddish speaking schools and spoken to the children. They don’t speak much Yiddish or anything else.September 11, 2017 6:39 am at 6:39 am #1360121
When Bais Yaakov of Borough Park began teaching classes in Ivrit B’Ivrit (that is, translating the holy words of Chumash into Modern Hebrew), a group of parents complained, until the school staff agreed to present the question to Rabbi Aharon Kotler. The staff and a group of parents (among them the Debretziner Rav) came before Reb Aharon. The staff argued that they had no textbooks besides those produced in Eretz Yisroel, which were written in Ivrit. The parents argued that the purpose of teaching in Ivrit was to inculcate the students with the Zionist ideology. They demanded that the school teach in Yiddish, or at least arrange for separate Yiddish classes. As he listened, Reb Aharon’s face grew stormy. He stood up and said fervently, “There is no doubt that teaching in Ivrit is completely forbidden. It is an assimilation worse than all other assimilations in the world. For the goal of Zionism is to uproot the holy Torah from its source. Assimilation with gentiles is like a gentile idol, which can be nullified; but assimilation with Ivrit is a Jewish idol, which can never be nullified! (See Avodah Zarah 52a.) If you teach in English, that is the language of the country and we have no choice, because we need to know the language to earn a living and so on. This is like teaching one’s child a trade. But if we teach in Ivrit here in America, it serves no constructive purpose; it is only to bring the children closer to Zionism. Therefore it is definitely forbidden.”
But the staff threatened that if Reb Aharon ruled this way, they would resign in protest and Bais Yaakov would have to close down. The Debretziner Rav commented, “Who ever heard of one of the parties in a Din Torah threatening the dayan?” In the end, Bais Yaakov arranged separate classes in Ivrit and Yiddish. (Botzina Kadisha v. 1 pp. 263-264; Shailos Utshuvos Be’er Moshe v. 4, 140:6)September 11, 2017 8:14 am at 8:14 am #1360230
Unfortunately, BJ BP dropped Yiddish (as far as I understand) last year.September 11, 2017 8:30 am at 8:30 am #1360238
“Israel has more Ashkenazim than Sephardim.”
My understanding is that Israel had more Sephardim until the influx of Russians.September 11, 2017 8:30 am at 8:30 am #1360239
BJBP is heavily Chasidic these days, so it is highly unlikely they dropped Yiddish. But they have long ago dropped Ivrit.
Edit: Confirmed — every grade has Yiddish classes.September 11, 2017 8:40 am at 8:40 am #1360253
At least here we didn’t drop Yiddish BHSeptember 11, 2017 10:03 am at 10:03 am #1360320
770: Isn’t there one cheder in Crown Heights that teaches in English? Can you perhaps clarify for the CR how the CH schools are structured when it comes to language. Inquiring minds want to know.September 11, 2017 10:30 am at 10:30 am #1360362
More and more Litvish schools are teaching in English/Ivrit while retaining Yiddish in the upper grades for Talmud study etc…..need for basic English fluency for whatever secular studies they offer and job skills afterwards. Not sure that most take seriously the ludicrous notion that speaking Hebrew makes one a “Tzionista”. Does speaking some Arabic (as do a larger percentage of students in EY) make them Islamic Terrorists?September 11, 2017 11:47 am at 11:47 am #1360441
I learned many years ago in a BY that translated the chumash into Hebrew and then English, and limudei kodesh were taught in Hebrew. I say Hebrew and not Ivrit, because it was closer to lashon HaKodesh than modern Hebrew- we used ashkenazi pronounciation (kita beis, not Kita Bet) and regularly used words/phrases that would have gotten strange looks had we used them in Israel. We had a lot to unlearn by the time we went to Israel for seminary and had to speak Ivrit to the natives. But it was useful in that it strengthened our language skills so that we could learn chumash and mefarshim and other sefarim.
With hundreds of thousands of cheder and BY kids learning and living in Ivrit in E”Y these days, it is no longer a Zionist tool of assimilation, as it once was. The question is what today’s gedolim have to say about learning in Hebrew in the US today, not what R’ Aharon paskened several generations back when things were very different.September 11, 2017 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm #1360489
Teaching in Ivrit in the United States (and probably the rest of Chutz La’aretz) in Chareidi Yeshivos and Beis Yaakovs is virtually non-existent.September 11, 2017 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm #1360520
As I once pointed out to Joseph (who thinks Yiddish is STILL the most spoken Haredi language).
Unlike 30 yrs ago, try asking directions any random Charedi, Chassidic, Chazon Ishnik, Ponovich etc. in Bnei Brak and in even most Yerushalmi neighborhoods in Yiddish, they won’t understand a word and even if they will understand some, they won’t be able to respond, I’m not even going into S’phardim.
So in other words, most Klal Yisrael communicates or understands in ‘Hebrew/ Ivrit.
And thus, whatever Rav Ahron Kotler said (if true) is definitely not relevant today.September 11, 2017 2:24 pm at 2:24 pm #1361069
Most Charedim that I see that arent Old Line Chassidish (Like Satmar or Viznitz types) speak either English or Hebrew among themselves , Im sure some speak Yiddish, Spanish or French (Occasioanlly I see French). It might be these people speak and understand Yiddish, but they dont use it for everyday speakingSeptember 11, 2017 4:28 pm at 4:28 pm #1361268
Ok @ mammale Everything you learned weather it’s chumish or navi we teitch into Yiddish we the dvar torahs are in Yiddish and in high school u have the option to answer in Yiddish or Hebrew but most people answer in Yiddish because it’s easier
We also learn sichois wich are in Yiddish we translate it to speaking Yiddish tearms
And that one cheider ULY has optional “English” after school witch U have to pay for and there they just learn how to read and write EnglishSeptember 11, 2017 4:59 pm at 4:59 pm #1361294
In simple English 98% of what we learn is in Yiddish
Also by pesach besides mah nishtana which is in Yiddish also the simunei haseiderSeptember 11, 2017 5:41 pm at 5:41 pm #1361277
And that one cheider ULY has optional “English” after school witch U have to pay for and there they just learn how to read and write English
How much does it cost?September 11, 2017 6:09 pm at 6:09 pm #1361341
Don’t know none of my bros go there they go to the school where zero English is taughtSeptember 11, 2017 6:29 pm at 6:29 pm #1361352
“Does speaking some Arabic (as do a larger percentage of students in EY) make them Islamic Terrorists?”
Gadolhador Do you know of a Jewish school that teaches Arabic?September 11, 2017 9:56 pm at 9:56 pm #1361440
The avnei nezer paskens that in a town in Germany they had a custom of Avoidah zorah (let’s say throwing rice for example). he paskens that even though this minhag was continued not for Avoidah zorah and the townspeople didn’t even know the source of this minhag it’s still ossur, because something which originated as Avoidah zorah is still considered as such for all time, the same thing with “ivrit” even though today it may just be used as a launguage, because it’s root is a tool of assimilation by the tzionim ימ״ש it should be avoided as much as possible and certainly not be taught in the USSeptember 12, 2017 12:23 am at 12:23 am #1361493
770chabad- your brothers really don’t learn any English? How does this work, considering the number of BTs in the Chabad community, who obviously feel much more comfortable in English than Yiddish? Where do their kids learn- or are there separate schools for FFB Chabadniks and BTs? And how do bochurim with no English skills grow up to communicate effectively with an English speaking secular Jewish public?September 12, 2017 1:00 am at 1:00 am #1361506
KJ, don’t give up your day job.September 12, 2017 1:27 am at 1:27 am #1361511
KJ – Sorry, but your comparison to the Avnei nezer does not even hold for Drush’ let alone halacha.
Avoda Z has its unique dinim of אביזרייהו ..September 12, 2017 6:14 am at 6:14 am #1361518
Parents who insist on teaching their kids yiddish are beating a dead horse, are waisting their childrens time, and are guilty of bittul Torah in the name of warped values. I was force fed yiddish for two years during what should have been a formative period at the begining of elementary school. Instead of learning real Yiddiskeit, ie- Hashem loves you and gave us tbe Torah to have a relationship with him and get the most out of our short stay here, we learned only the first perek of Bereishis in yiddish.I didnt learn from perek beis through the end of Lech Lecha until age eighteen, on my own in yeshiva.
There are no Roshonim or Achronim written in yiddish. The Halacha sefarim and poskim are not in yiddish. If you are fluent in modern ivrit, they are open books to you (you must still excert ameilus).Yiddish will not help to learn these fundamentals.
There are many people in the US who are deeply uncomfortable with the fact that Israel is where the future of the Jewish people is.Teaching yiddish to ones children in 2017 is a symptom of this sad reality.September 12, 2017 6:14 am at 6:14 am #1361523
770chabad: You wrote: “Also by pesach besides mah nishtana which is in Yiddish also the simunei haseider”, I think you mean translated in Yiddish. Ma Nishtana is stated in the mishna, long before Yiddish was ever spoken. The simanei haseder are also translated; either RASHI or R’ Shlomo of Falaise were French.
Howevedr, my daughter, was taught in Prospect Park Yeshiva to translate them in French.September 12, 2017 8:29 am at 8:29 am #1361539
Wtp they have to learn from home how to read and write and the grammar when they speak is the best u gotta hear it lol like they can say” lash me out the fire” for exampleSeptember 12, 2017 8:32 am at 8:32 am #1361546
Ye translatedSeptember 12, 2017 8:32 am at 8:32 am #1361541
An observation, not a put-down
I don’t care how good you think the Yiddish education is in Chabad schools. Your English education has been terrible. You are posting in an English forum and can’t spell, can’t write proper sentences and are all over the place.
I get asked to hire frum young women as secretarial and administrative staff (because Shabbos and Yuntif is no problem in our firm) but would never consider someone who exhibits the writing level such as you post.
BTW, this goes for non-Jewish employees as well.September 12, 2017 8:32 am at 8:32 am #1361549
when they speak is the best u gotta hear it lol like they can say” lash me out the fire” for example
Lol, sounds like their reading, writing, and grammar is really bad.September 12, 2017 8:51 am at 8:51 am #1361557
Lol 😂 😂😂😂😂😂September 12, 2017 8:51 am at 8:51 am #1361559
Punctuation takes to much time lolSeptember 12, 2017 8:54 am at 8:54 am #1361566
Ikr. LolSeptember 12, 2017 10:13 am at 10:13 am #1361598
French is more useful than Yiddish. Its likely more jews speak French than speak Yiddish (France has the 3rd largest jewish population in the world after Israel and the US) and there is also a large jewish community in Montreal although many of them speak English rather than FrenchSeptember 12, 2017 10:14 am at 10:14 am #1361647
At this point its clear that anyone who wants to function in society and assure his/her children are able to earn a parnassah will have taken steps to learn either English or Ivrit (depending on where they live) and acquire any Yiddish skills as a function of need to access limudei torah in the context of where/how they are learning. Those who want to suspend time, live in a cave and not have any material societal access can continue with Yiddish…no one else will care and they will ultimately atrophy.September 12, 2017 10:24 am at 10:24 am #1361669
Chaver….many schools in EY teach Arabic given that 20 percent of the population speaks that language; likewise, a large percentage of Palestinians speak Hebrew
There are several Jewish day schools in the U.S. that offer introductory Arabic as an AP option…probably not in any of the yeshivos or kollelsSeptember 12, 2017 11:33 am at 11:33 am #1361895
Far far more Yidden speak Yiddish than speak French. And Ivrit is not used as a default language anywhere outside of Israel. The Israelis mostly know English and use that when speaking to non-Ivrit speakers.September 12, 2017 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm #1361899
Rabbi Avigdor Miller, ztl, held that anyone who could speak Yiddish to their children should do so (and left instructions that as many of his descendants as possible should grow up speaking Yiddish) so that they should know that they’re different from the Goyim around them. Based on this I recommend that anyone who can speak any kind of Yiddish to his children should do so, (even if it’s not the best Yiddish the children won’t so much know the difference and they’ll grow up used to hearing it and won’t have problems when they start in school). Recent research has shown that children who are exposed to multiple languages do much better on intelligence tests, having to juggle different languages seems to stimulate parts of the brain that promote intelligence.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.