Yosl Kurland teaches Yiddish language and Literature at Temple Israel of Greenfield, MA or in your community. Classes focus on the relationship between the Yiddish language and Jewish religion, culture and philosophy, and make use of songs, poetry, idiomatic expressions and vocabulary building games. Although we are studying texts from Yiddish song, poetry and prose literature in depth, the classes are designed to accomodate students with some, little, or no familiarity with the languge. Interested teenagers are welcome in Yosl's adult ed. Yiddish classes.
|Yiddish Transliteration Guide
Now Available: Yiddish Interactive Flashcards
The grandmother and her grandchild were on a bus in Tel Aviv. The grandmother was speaking to the child in Yiddish and the child was answering in Hebrew. “Redt Yiddish,” (speak Yiddish) the grandmother would say every so often, but the child continued speaking Hebrew. Another passenger overhearing the conversation spoke up, “Lady, the child speaks a beautiful Hebrew. Why do you want him to speak Yiddish?” “Ikh vil,” she answered, “er zol nisht fargesn az er iz a Yid.” (I want that he shouldn’t forget that he is a Jew.”
What is it about Yiddish that its very structure contains the essence of Yiddishkayt (Jewishness)? The above sentence, if said in standard English would be, “I don’t want him to forget....” Why the “shouldn’t”? “Shouldn’t” isn’t an exact translation. The Yiddish word “zoln” turns the sentence into the subjunctive, indicating that we know we have no control over whether our wishes will be fulfilled, especially if they involve the actions of another, or of God. It’s an acknowledgement of humility. As the Yiddish proverb goes, “Der mentsh trakht un Got lakht.” (A person thinks (plans) and God laughs.)
Everywhere Jews have lived they have had internal bilingualism, using Hebrew for prayer and study, and a local Judeo-vernacular for daily life, in addition to whatever other languages they used to communicate with non-Jews. It could be Judeo-Italian, Judeo-Spanish (Ladino or Judezmo), Judeo-Farsi (Persian) or Yiddish. Believe it or not, there is a Judeo-English because Jews need such a language to express Jewish concepts in English.
Here, for example is a sentence in Judeo-English. “I went to shul to daven this past erev-shabbos and it was a good thing because I made a minyan so someone could say kaddish.” (I went to the Synagogue last Friday evening, the beginning of the Sabbath, to pray in the manner that Jews traditionally pray, and it was good that I went because I was the tenth person, which made the group a quorum of ten people which is required for public prayer which enabled someone to recite a prayer with the support of the community in memory of someone who had died.) The sentence is English, but it wouldn’t make much sense to someone who isn’t familiar with the Jewish concepts.
But why should we know Yiddish instead of just using Judeo-English? Because the Yiddish Language contains the accumulated wit, irony, wisdom, poetry, laughter and tears of a thousand years of Eastern European Jewish civilization, plus another three thousand or so years of Jewish
civilization before that. Yiddish is the key to vast treasures of Literature. It unlocks the essence of who we Ashkenazic Jews are.
Temple Israel of Greenfield hosts it’s eleventh series of Yiddish classes, “What Yiddish Tells Us about Being Jewish” on six Sunday mornings this Spring. The class is taught by Yosl Kurland, and will meet at 10:30 am on March 5 and 19, April 2 and 23, and May 7 and 14, 2017. May 21, is a make-up date in case of a cancellation.
Yosl Kurland teaches Yiddish language and Literature at Temple Israel and at workshops across North America from New Mexico to Quebec. Classes focus on the relationship between the Yiddish language and Jewish religion, culture and philosophy, and make use of songs, poetry, idiomatic expressions and vocabulary building games. Although we are studying texts from Yiddish song, poetry and prose literature in depth, the classes are designed to accommodate students with some, little, or no familiarity with the language. Interested teenagers are welcome in Yosl’s adult ed. Yiddish classes.
Suggested tuition: $15 per session or $75 for the series for Temple Israel members, $20 per session or $100 for the series for non-members. Or pay what you can. No one will be turned away if you can’t pay.
Yosl studied Yiddish at the Columbia University/YIVO Summer program and at UMass Amherst. He writes Yiddish poetry and songs and is the lead Yiddish singer in the Wholesale Klezmer Band. For more information and class schedule see: http://ganeydn.com/YiddishClassResource
Yosl will also be singing his original songs, teaching a workshop on Jewish music, and participating in a panel on ‘Making Jewish Art & Art-making as Jews’ at Temple Israel’s weekend of Art, Creativity, & Community Friday, March 24, 2017 - 7:15pm to Sunday, March 26, 2017 - 5:00pm. For more information, see: http://templeisraelgreenfield.org/events/art-creativity-community
Zayt gezunt (be healthy),
Yosl (Joe) Kurland
Gan Eydn Jewish Art and Music
Colrain, MA 01340
Yosl Teaches Yiddish
“What Yiddish tells us about being Jewish”
“Advanced Yiddish Literature for Beginning Yiddish Speakers”
Sunday mornings from 10:30 AM to noon or a little longer if we just can't tear ourselves away.
Yiddish songs, games, conversation, literature. No prior knowledge required. Something new for all levels of Yiddish knowledge. Topics and material for study will be chosen based on the interests of students.
Please note that the schedule may change. Be sure to put your contact information on the class mailing list to get notice of changes.
For those interested and committed to more intensive study of the Yiddish language, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange private or group tutorials.
As before, the class will be tailored to the experience and desires of the students. Classes focus on the relationship between the Yiddish language and Jewish religion, culture and philosophy, and make use of songs, poetry, idiomatic expressions, vocabulary building games and grammatical examples taken from the literature we are studying.
Although we are studying texts from Yiddish song, poetry and prose literature in depth, the classes are designed to accommodate students with some, little, or no familiarity with the language. Interested teenagers are especially welcome. Even if you are fluent in Yiddish, come and discuss the literature with us.
Those familiar with the Hebrew alphabet will have Yiddish texts to read. Others will use transliterated texts.
If you wish to learn to read Yiddish with Hebrew letters, please see my Interactive Yiddish Flashcards for the Computer
Place: Temple Israel of Greenfield. For directions, see: http://templeisraelgreenfield.org/directions
Suggested tuition: $15 per session or $75 for the series for Temple Israel members, $20 per session or $100 for the series for non-members.
No one will be turned away if you can't pay the full tuition. Even if you can't afford to pay anything, would I earn any more money if you stay away? Better I should have the nakhes from your participation. Please pay by check Payable to Temple Israel, or check off the amount you are paying on a registration form. If you cannot afford the full tuition, please call Temple Israel's Treasurer: Carol Silver 413-773-5608 to arrange for reduced rate tuition.
No prior study of Yiddish language or attendance at the previous Yiddish classes is required, but we will be working on new material, so it won't be repetitious for those who have already attended. Adults and teenagers, beginners and experienced Yiddish speakers are all welcome. Something for everyone! Class topics will reflect the interests expressed by the participants.
Yosl is available to teach classes and workshops on "What Yiddish Tells Us about Being Jewish" and "Advanced Yiddish Literature for Beginning Yiddish Students" in your community. Depending on the distance from Western Massachusetts, he can present an ongoing weekly class, or a single two-hour, day-long, weekend or week-long workshop. Yosl and his wife, Khaye (Peggy) Davis also teach nusakh (traditional prayer chant) and zmires (Hebrew and Yiddish table songs for Shabbos and festivals), traditional dance and customs for Jewish weddings. Yosl gives concerts of Yiddish song including many of his own compositions, both solo and with members of the Wholesale Klezmer Band.
Yosl studied Yiddish at Columbia University/YIVO and at the University of Massachusetts. Besides classes at Temple Israel, he has taught Yiddish at the Conference on Judaism in Rural New England, the Klezmerquerque Festival, and in the children's program at KlezKamp. Two of his Yiddish songs have been selected for the Shalshelet Festival of New Jewish Liturgical Music.
A great big thank you to you, Yosl and the gang for making that very long trip to bring some Yiddishkeit to the Jewish wasteland that is Fort Wayne Indiana. Everyone who was there had a fantastic time and truly appreciated your being with us.---Nina M.
I really enjoyed the Yiddish class and Yosl's teaching style.---Jess C.
I thought the Yiddush class was fabulous. Joe is an incredible teacher. He teaches a very practical and usable type of Yiddish -- not to mention a lot of fun idiomatic expressions and the music, which brings it alive. ---Alicia W.
Yosl is brilliant, of course--wise, and of the utmost kindness and patience. Of course I would take another class with him! I missed the first two classes because of conflicts, so in some way I missed the premise of the class...but I went to all the rest of the classes. It was an impossible task in one way--people with smatterings of Yiddish and little ability to read Hebrew wanting to know more, but where to start? Where is the beginning if we are not at the beginning? I enjoyed learning the songs, and the literary, historical, religious, social, cultural, spiritual, human meanings in them. And we learned a little grammar through the songs and in basic instruction, which was also good. ... Yosl enlightened me on some of the ways that cultural Judaism does refer to religious Judaism, but he also fed my appetite for Jewish learning where it is centered, or located (i.e. secularly). ---Ann F.
Yosl- In a nutshell - you were the perfect guest artist for our event; you are incredibly knowledgeable yet humble and patient with all levels of students. You are very organized, print nice-looking and legible materials. As a performer you were professional, relaxed and you were having fun and included the audience in on the fun. I can tell that you have also been a professional teacher, because you included everyone, you were patient and thorough - and you made sure that everyone understood materials before we moved on to something new. And as a person, you are truly a mentsh and I am so happy that I got to know you and work with you and I hope that we get to meet Peggy and the rest of The Wholesale Klezmer band in the near future.
Thank you for sharing your talents and joy with our family and our community!
Beth, Randy, Jamie and the Nahalat Shalom "shtetl"
Joe Kurland's visit to my 9th Grade English class was a very special experience for the students. We read the novella "Night" by Elie Weisel previous to his visit; the poetry and music that Joe brought to share with the students was particularly appropriate during our unit on Holocaust literature. As an expert in Jewish History and the Yiddish language, Joe provided the students with an in-depth and personal look into the lives of the people we study. I cannot overstate the importance and effectiveness of humanizing these characters and voices from the past during our unit on the Holocaust. The music that Joe sang and discussed was a perfect vessel for the kids to glimpse a genuinely human side of this tragic period in history. I intend to invite Joe back in future years.
Christian Austin, Mohawk Trail Regional H.S.
My husband Richie and I are in Florida from December to April. If you have classes in the spring or start earlier next Fall, please let us know. We the loved the classes when we did come. Jeanie E.
HI YOSL, I LOVED THE CLASS THIS MORNING, THE FORMAT is great for me. Could you please send me the link to the flashcards? Thanks so much, Laurie/Leah
It's amazing! I printed out everything, 200 plus pages, and had fun trying to sound out and guess the words as they were spewing from the printer. I will have Staples punch 3-holes for a binder.
Your work is so thorough. Rona C.
at Beth Jacob Synagogue. For details, see: http://bethjacobvt.org/content/programs
You are welcome to attend individual classes even if you are not signed up for the whole series.
We do work a little on grammar and vocabulary, using examples from the songs to reinforce grammatical constructions. However, to do a comprehensive class on Yiddish grammar requires an ongoing comitment to more hours of class and homework than most students are able to make. (If there is a group of comitted students, Yosl will teach such a class.)