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, videos, and statistics. You can connect with researchers and translators and find answers to common questions, and you can view videos of lectures and of people speaking and singing the languages. Learning about Jewish languages leads to a better understanding of the diversity of the Jewish diaspora and what happens when languages come into contact.
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 is part of an online exhibit about Passover, featuring a Zoom haggadah, videos of Passover songs in Jewish languages, and images of Passover tables around the world.
Jews around the world are using Zoom, YouTube, and other platforms for services and events. The auto-transcripts are generally filled with errors - rendering Hebrew words as completely unrelated English words. The Jewish Language Project is working to fix this problem. Learn more here.
The Jewish Language Project is working to document endangered Iranian Jewish languages, in collaboration with the Endangered Language Alliance and the Y&S Nazarian Iranian Young Leadership Initiative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. Do you or someone you know speak Judeo-Shirazi, Judeo-Hamadani, Judeo-Yazdi, Judeo-Isfahani, Judeo-Kashani, Judeo-Kermani, or Judeo-Khunsari? If so, please complete this form. You can learn about endangered Iranian Jewish languages, and you can contribute financially to this important initiative.