Newest Volume of the Yiddish Language Dictionary Published
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Newest Volume of the Yiddish Language Dictionary Published

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Volume IV of the Great Dictionary of the Yiddish Language was published recently completing the letter Aleph, the first letter of the Yiddish alphabet. The newest volume contains 20,000 entries and is about one-third of the entire dictionary.

The first four volumes were published under the auspices of the Yiddish Dictionary Committee which was organized in the United States in the early 1950’s. The dictionary project has historical roots going back to the early days of this century and to the great centers of Jewish learning and scholarship in Eastern Europe.

Publication of upcoming volumes has been handed over to a consortium of researchers and scholars from several major universities including Columbia University, the City College of New York and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and, on an administrative level, to the American Friends of the Hebrew University.

This arrangement was made public in a joint statement by Avraham Harmon, president of the Hebrew University, and Isaiah Minkoff, chairman of the American Yiddish Dictionary Committee which, accordingly, has now been dissolved.


Many persons have been deeply involved in the Dictionary. The late Yudel Mark edited much of the first four volumes, settling in Jerusalem and working at the Hebrew University. The Yivo Institute for Jewish Research is among the institutions which have been involved in the project.

The manuscript for Volume IV was ready for some time but its publication was made possible only last year when a grant from the estate of the late Harry Abramson, the Treasurer of the Yiddish Dictionary Committee, became available for its printing. The volume was dedicated to his memory.

According to Dr. Marvin Herzog, Atran Professor of Yiddish Studies at Columbia University and the other co-principal investigator, “Further research and the preparation for publication of the rest of the Dictionary will require about two years a volume to complete, including glosses in English and in Hebrew which will enable individuals for whom Yiddish is not their mother tongue to use the Dictionary. “Herzog is the editor-in-chief of the Dictionary.

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