What languages have Jews around the world spoken? Which are thriving, and which are endangered? Professor Sarah Bunin Benor answers these questions, using three examples: Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Tat/Juhuri (spoken in Azerbaijan and Dagestan), and Judeo-Median (a group of non-Persian languages spoken in Iran). This lecture was presented on March 15, 2020, at Passover Around the World: A Multimedia Concert.
End end of the lecture: Benor explains the urgency of documenting and teaching about endangered Jewish languages, and she introduces the Jewish Language Project.
Throughout the world, wherever Jews have lived, they have spoken and written differently from their non-Jewish neighbors. Some of their languages have differed by only a few embedded Hebrew words, but others have been so different in grammar and pronunciation that Jews and non-Jews could barely communicate. Most longstanding Jewish languages are now endangered, but new ones are emerging. Many people have heard of Aramaic, Yiddish, and Ladino, but knowledge of other Jewish languages is less common, such as Judeo-Greek, Jewish Malayalam, and contemporary Jewish French. On this site you will find resources on these and other languages, including dictionaries, maps, and videos. You can connect with researchers and translators and find answers to common questions, and you can participate in online lectures. Learning about Jewish languages leads to a better understanding of the diversity of the Jewish diaspora and what happens when languages come into contact.
Jews around the world have celebrated Passover in many languages. Learn about this diversity and find resources to spice up your seder by clicking on the image above.