What is Yiddish?
Yiddish is the millennium-old language of the Jews of central and eastern Europe, a region known to its Jewish inhabitants as Ashkenaz. For a thousand years this language was the vehicle of Jewish culture and communal life; in modern times it spread to all inhabited continents, and it remains the mother tongue of contemporary traditionalist groups throughout the world.
Yiddish at Berkeley?
While the number of native speakers of Yiddish continues to dwindle, Yiddish at Berkeley is thriving. In addition to the esteemed annual conference on Yiddish Culture, we have a wide range of courses dealing with the life and culture of Ashkenazic Jewry, a diverse faculty committed to the preservation and scholarly investigation of Yiddish, and an ever-growing number of students who are pursuing academic futures exploring Jewish culture in the traditional languages of the Jewish people. Students interested in Yiddish at Cal can pursue their interests in the departments of German, Comparative Literature, History, or through the program in Jewish Studies.
This site is dedicated to the memory of Eli Katz, who passed away on July 22, 2006.
Eli was the pioneer of Yiddish at Berkeley and paved the way for our Yiddish program. A scholar, an activist, a lover of Yiddish and a friend to all of us here, he will be missed always.