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Jewish Language Project

Promoting research and education on the many ways Jews have spoken and written

Wherever Jews have lived around the world, they have spoken and written in language distinct from their non-Jewish neighbors – from Yiddish and Ladino to Judeo-Italian and Jewish Malayalam. 

 

Because of migrations and other historical events, many of these languages are on the verge of extinction, and most Jews today are unaware of their existence. It is imperative that we document and raise awareness about these languages in the next decade – for the sake of the elderly Jews who are their last speakers and for the sake of Jewish children who would benefit from knowing about their multifaceted heritage.

The HUC-JIR Jewish Language Project addresses these problems through our many initiatives. Since we launched in 2020, over 1.8 million people have visited our websites, and we have reached thousands of others through online events, videos, and educational social media posts. We have also convened organizations and scholars to document endangered Jewish languages and created collaborative dictionaries for emerging Jewish languages. The Jewish Language Project was launched in 2020, building on and encompassing several projects led by Professor Sarah Bunin Benor.

 

Mission

To promote research on, awareness about, and engagement surrounding the many languages spoken and written by Jews throughout history and around the world.

 

Vision

  • Every known Jewish language variety will be well documented

  • Jewish language resources will be available and accessible, thereby increasing comparative research, postvernacular activities, and knowledge about Jewish diversity

  • Jews will feel a stronger connection to far-away Jewish communities, past and present

Mission

We've made great progress over the last 3 years. Read all about it in our 2023 Impact Report!

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Initiatives

Current Initiatives

Past Initiatives

Future Initiatives