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Yiddishist Mordkhe Schaechter dies at 79

Yiddish linguist Mordkhe Schaechter died Thursday in New York after a long illness. A native of Romania, Schaechter dedicated his life to preserving Yiddish as a spoken language. He taught at several New York-area universities, was associate editor of The Great Dictionary of the Yiddish Language in the 1980s, and was associate editor of The Language and Culture Atlas of Ashkenazic Jewry, the New York Times reported. Schaechter also was connected to the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, serving variously as bibliographer, proofreader and editor of the organization’s journal, Yiddishe Shprakh, and teaching in its Weinreich Program in Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture, a joint project with Columbia University. Schaechter arrived in the United States in 1951, the same year he earned his doctorate from the University of Vienna, and served in the Korean War. Schaechter is survived by his wife of 50 years, Charne Schaechter; his sister, four children, and 16 grandchildren, with whom he was said to speak only in Yiddish.