Frequently Asked Yiddish Questions

  1. Where and when was the last Yiddish Club Conference, and the next one?
  2. How can my Yiddish group join IAYC?
  3. What Yiddish club/s are there in my community?
  4. How can I start a Yiddish club?
  5. Where can I get material in transliteration for my club?
  6. Which Yiddish organizations/publications should our club join/receive?
  7. What is the best Yiddish program for my computer?
  8. How do I get on the Mendele list?
  9. What is the difference between the old transliteration and YIVO's?
  10. What is the situation in Israel in reference to Yiddish?
  11. Are there Yiddish theater groups putting on plays?
  12. What are the major Yiddish events?
  13. Which is the best beginner's Yiddish textbook?
  14. How do I subscribe to Der Bay?
  15. What does Der Bay mean?
  16. Which Yiddish dictionary should I get?
  17. What does one do in a Yiddish Club?
  18. Are there different kinds of Yiddish groups?
  19. Why should I join a local Yiddish group?
  20. How can I find a Yiddish pen-pal?
  21. Which colleges teach Yiddish courses?
  22. Where can I get information about Yiddish films?

1. Where and when was the last Yiddish Club (IAYC), and the next one?
April 26-29, 2013 at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, Pittsburgh, PA
The next IAYC Conference will be November 14-17, 2014 at the Marriott Hotel in Boca Raton, FL

2. How can my Yiddish group join the International Association of Yiddish Clubs (IAYC)?
By sending a check to Gerald Gerger, IAYC Treasurer, 6820 Oyster Cove, W. Bloomfield, MI 48323-2051 made out to IAYC. The annual dues is $25 per club. Application.

3. What Yiddish club/s are there in my community?
Ask Fishl and your request will be filled shortly. First check the list of IAYC affiliated clubs.

4. How can I start a Yiddish club?
Place a notice online or in the newsletter of the Jewish Community Center, Temples, Synagogues, the local newspapers. etc. that a meeting will be held at a specific time and place. Mention that if they cannot make the meeting to let you know the times they are able to attend. If transportation is a problem you may be able to work out a carpool. Once the group decides on a good meeting time and place, you then can begin to talk about what to do at the meetings.

5. Where can I get material in transliteration for my club?
Member clubs of the IAYC may receive transliterated materials free from IAYC by contacting Fishl. Others will be charged only our cost plus shipping and handling.

6. Which Yiddish organizations/publications should our club join?
In addition to the IAYC there are advantages to joining and supporting other Yiddish groups for their publications--journals, bulletins, magazines, newsletters, etc. It is suggested that each member subscribe to at least one. By receiving different ones, your group will have access to more resources. At your meetings, members may make a short report on an interesting article. You may even start a lending library. Another possibility is to have the group pay dues and the group would receive the publications.

7. What is the best Yiddish program for my computer?
Click UYIP or see under links to other sites on the home page.

8. How do I get on the Mendele list?
Send a message to listproc@lists.yale.edu In the body of the message write SUBSCRIBE MENDELE and then add YOUR OWN NAME. To see Mendele on the Web: http://shakti.trincoll.edu/~mendele http://www.ibiblio.org/yiddish/school.html/

9. What is the difference between the old transliteration and YIVO's?
YIVO distances itself from the German spelling. The difference is mainly in the vowels and in the use of kh instead of ch. The long I is spelled AY, and the long A is EY. The English word RICH is in Yiddish is spelled RAYKH and not REICH.

10. What is the situation in Israel in reference to Yiddish?
There has been a mjor shift in Israel with Yiddish being taught as a third language in many high schools and at the university level. The largest Yiddish staff at any university is at Bar Ilan. There is a national Yiddish theater and YUNG YiDiSH under the leadership of Mendy Cahan has really vitalized Yiddish in Israel.

11. Are there Yiddish theater groups putting on plays?
The major Yiddish theatrical groups are the The National Yiddish Theater — Folksbiene
in New York City, Gilbert & Sullivan Light Yiddish Opera on Long Island, Montreal, Tel Aviv, and Bucharest. There are smaller local groups, most notably in Washington, D.C. Periodically others are listed in der internatsionaler kalendar.

12. What are the major Yiddish events in North America?
See Major Yiddish Events

13. Which is the best beginner's Yiddish textbook?
The old standby Weinreich's College Yiddish is being used less now. Sheva Zucker's Yiddish: An Introduction to the Language, Literature & Culture is receiving more attention. Unlike Weinreich's book, it has an answer key. Volume 2 has been published. Jean Jofen's Yiddish for Beginners. A truly excellent children's book is the new, Hulyet, kinderlekh!. there are older books like Der Onheyber by David Bridger. In my beginner's class, I use Goldin's Yiddish Teacher. It has one major flaw--it does not use the YIVO standard transliteration.

14. How do I subscribe to Der Bay to get free online editions?
Der Bay is published bi-monthly, 6 times a year. The editor Philip "Fishl" Kutner, lives at 1128 Tanglewood Way, San Mateo, CA 94403
. To get the free online edition of Der Bay register at the homepage.

15. What does Der Bay mean?
This name was used in the first issue January 1, 1991. Bay is an acronym for Bay Area Yiddish, and was used because it started in the San Francisco Bay area. It is pronounced the same as if it were in English.

16. What Yiddish dictionary should I get?
Two English transliterated Yiddish dictionaries are Yiddish Dictionary Sourcebook by Galvin and Tamarkin, and A Yiddish Dictionary in Transliteration by Coldoff. The standard is Weinreich's Modern E-Y and Y-E Dictionary. For Hebrew words in Yiddish, both Niborski's and Jacobson's dictionaries are recommended. An excellent older one is by Harkavy and the latest new one is Comprehensive Yiddish-English Dictionary, Solon Beinfeld and Harry Bochner co-editors.
Jacobson's A Guide to the More Common Hebraic Words in Yiddish is also helpful.

17. What does one do in a Yiddish Club?

    1. Shares FRIENDSHIP with other Yiddish speakers.
    2. Speaks Yiddish: serious or small talk.
    3. Adds to your vocabulary and general knowledge of Yiddish.
    4. Helps beginners and less experienced Yiddish speakers.
    5. Sings Yiddish songs, and learns new ones
    6. Performs Yiddish playlets.
    7. Learns to read Yiddish, and improve your reading.
    8. Plays Yiddish games like: Password, Bingo, and Shloyme Zogt (Simon Says).
    9. Celebrates Jewish holidays "Yiddish Style."
    10. Hears guest speakers, performers from outside your club; or within your club.
    11. Reads Yiddish poetry/short stories using Hebrew letters or in transliteration.
    12. ENJOYS!

18. Are there different kinds of Yiddish groups?
Yes, we might attend a: Yidish tish, leyenkrayz, shraybkrayz, shmueskrayz, seasonal groups, and possibly chorus, theatrical groups, classes.

19. Why should I join a local Yiddish group?
It is an excellent way to: help support interest in Yiddish locally. It is an excellent way to: meet other people interested in Yiddish locally. It is a way of using and hearing Yiddish. It is a way of sharing and learning of Yiddish publications, organizations, etc.

20. How can I find a Yiddish Pen-Pal?
Contact Fishl. It was succeeded by Dr. Frida G. de Cielak of Mexico City with a very successful Pen Pal Club. She has become overburdened, and Der Bay has continued theYiddish Pen Pal Program (YPPP).

21 Which colleges teach Yiddish courses?
There are a few colleges that have a regular program of Yiddish courses; however, there is a variation from semester to semester with colleges instituting and dropping both courses and programs. In some colleges it is part of the Germanic Studies Department.

22 Where can I get information about Yiddish films?
The National Center for Jewish Film in the US is at Brandeis Univeristy which restores old films. Other organizations and bookstores also sell them.

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Last Updated: 4/21/2014
Webmaster--Philip "Fishl" Kutner
1128 Tanglewood Way,
San Mateo, CA 94403
E-mail FISHL@derbay.org Ph:
(650) 349-6946