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Jewish Language and Names Consultation

The HUC-JIR Jewish Language Project offers a free consultation service about Jewish languages and names. Hundreds of journalists, filmmakers, educators, organizations, website visitors, and expectant parents have made use of this service, asking questions and getting responses within days. Sarah Bunin Benor, PhD, runs this service, answering questions within her areas of expertise and finding scholars to answer others.

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Some Questions We Have Answered:


  • My grandmother kept this letter, and we want to get it translated. I've seen your list of translators, but I can't figure out who to ask because I don't know what language the letter is in.

  • We have a recording of a family Passover song in Judeo-X. What dialect is it?

  • How can we incorporate more information about Jewish diversity into our school's curriculum?

  • I'm making a film / writing an article on X community and need to interview an expert on their language. Who would be the best person to ask?

  • In my novel there's some dialogue in X language, and I need an expert to make sure it's correct. Who should I contact?


  • My (Jewish) organization is creating a new program, and we need to come up with a name for it. Here are a few Hebrew and Yiddish words we're considering. Which do you think would be most understood and appropriate?

  • We're expecting a baby and considering the name X. What can you tell us about its history and nicknames?

  • We're expecting a baby and want to name her/him after my grandfather, whose Hebrew/Yiddish name was X. What names should we consider?

  • I want to get a Hebrew tattoo of my son's name. How should I spell it?

  • My congregant's/father's/grandmother's Hebrew/Yiddish name was X. Can you help us spell it in Hebrew letters for the ketubah/gravestone?

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Speech by David Kalontar at the opening of a Bukharian Jewish school, August 25 1900. Image courtesy of Ruben Shimonov, originally from Iosif Kalontarov.

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One of the Jewish Language Project's most high-profile consultations was for Jewdle, a Jewish Wordle spin-off. As of April 2022, Jewdle has been using data from the Jewish English Lexicon and linking to our entries in the answer box.

Another consultation project brought together basketball and Jewish languages: an ad in J Weekly, the San Francisco Jewish newspaper, saying "Golden State Warriors" in 13 Jewish languages, all using different fonts.

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Currently this service is available free of charge. If you'd like to express your gratitude, you're encouraged to make a donation to the Jewish Language Project.

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