Yiddish studies now offered at the Ivy League university focus on reading for translation and research purposes rather than on spoken Yiddish. The courses did not count toward its language requirement, meaning students had to take them as electives.
The beginner courses, which will start in the fall, will likely develop into levels of increasingly advanced courses in Yiddish as a spoken and written language.
Recent decades have seen an increased interest in learning Yiddish among younger Jews. Just this week Duolingo, the language learning app, added Yiddish to the list of languages it offers on its app , and earlier this year the Yiddish Book Center released a new multimedia Yiddish textbook.
“Most of our peer institutions teach Yiddish language and I’ve long felt that it was time for Yale to do so as well,” Maurice Samuels, chair of Yale’s Judaic Studies program, told the Yale Daily News in an email. “Yale is a center for the study of Jewish history and the Holocaust and Yiddish is central to those disciplines.”
According to the student paper, the new course will focus on conversational language and incorporate a variety of readings, including love songs, poetry, folktales and even tweets.