Support the Jewish Language Project
Click the image to watch a brief video about the important work of the Jewish Language Project
Most longstanding Jewish languages are now endangered because of migrations, nationalistic language policies, and genocide. The only remaining speakers are elderly, and in the coming decades the languages will likely become extinct (or, we prefer to say, “dormant,” as there is always the possibility of future revitalization). Some languages, such as Bukharian, Judeo-Arabic, and Juhuri, are partially documented in books and periodicals. Others have few written records, including Judeo-Amazigh (Morocco), Judeo-Esfahani (Iran), and Hulaula (Jewish Neo-Aramaic from Sanandaj, Iran). If we do not engage the last speakers in this important work in the coming years, the languages - wellsprings of Jewish cultural creativity and history - will be lost to the dustbin of history.
Here's where the HUC-JIR Jewish Language Project comes in. Our mission is to promote research on, awareness about, and engagement surrounding the many languages spoken and written by Jews throughout history and around the world. We accomplish this by recording interviews and songs by native speakers, sharing unique content on social media, and producing high-quality online events that both teach about and celebrate Jewish languages. Our website, jewishlanguages.org, offers dictionaries, exhibits, and free educational resources—and over the last two years, 1.5 million people have engaged with these materials. We also play a leadership role in our field by convening the Jewish Language Consortium, a group of ten partner organizations with the shared mission of Jewish language preservation and education.
Why have we created this fundraising campaign? While our institutional home is Hebrew Union College, our program functions independently. That means the Jewish Language Project is 100% reliant on donations and grants to support our operating budget and hard-working staff.
We invite you to be part of the movement to preserve Jews’ precious linguistic heritage and raise awareness about Jewish cultural diversity. Join us by making a tax-deductible contribution to our nonprofit organization. Your gift will help ensure that anyone, now and in the future, can access a whole world of Jewish languages.
Sarah Bunin Benor's call to action to document endangered Jewish languages
Interested in getting involved with the Jewish Language Project as a volunteer or intern? We're looking for help in the following areas:
Recording entries for the Jewish English Lexicon
Interviewing speakers of endangered Jewish languages
Creating Living Dictionaries for endangered and emerging Jewish languages
Please let us know you're interested in helping out by filling out this form. And you can read about our current volunteers here. Thank you for your interest!
A touching video about grandchildren learning Jewish languages from their elders
Thank you to these individuals, who have donated $360 or more to the Jewish Language Project:
Roberta and David Benor
Rachel Amado Bortnick
Dan and Alice Nussbaum
Rabbi Amy and Gary Perlin
Dean and Shaili Solomon
טייבל בת רחל לאה ושלמה יהושוע
אברהם דוד בן פעסיע יהודת וישראל משה
in Honour of the University of Cambridge Graduation of
ירד בן טייבל ואברהם דוד
כ"ז בתשרי תש"פ