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 of the lecture: Dr. 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, 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.

The Jewish Language Project announces an initiative 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. Are you interested in contributing financially to this important initiative? If so, you can donate here. You can read more about endangered Iranian Jewish languages here.

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Copyright © 2002-2020    Jewish Language Website 

To cite: Author name (if available). Page name. Jewish Language Website, Sarah Bunin Benor (ed.). Los Angeles: Jewish Language Project. Web address (jewishlanguages.org/**).

Last update: 2020-12-29

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