לויט די לערערס | Teachers Weigh In: The Place of the Khurbn in Yiddish Language Classes

Sandra Chiritescu


In an effort to pool the wis­dom and expe­ri­ence acquired by our con­trib­u­tors’ work in the class­room, In geveb reg­u­lar­ly polls Yid­dish instruc­tors on top­ics relat­ed to Yid­dish ped­a­gogy. In our Loyt Di Lerers series, we com­pile ideas and best prac­tices for teach­ers who teach Yid­dish, teach about Yid­dish, and teach with texts from Yid­dish sources. The respons­es to these polls offer a cross-sec­tion of the opin­ions, approach­es, and expe­ri­ences of Yid­dish instruc­tors from Los Ange­les to Tel Aviv, from children’s pro­grams to uni­ver­si­ty class­es to con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion cours­es, from new teach­ers to those with a life­time of experience.

In our Loyt di Lerers series we have gathered teachers’ thoughts about Yiddish textbooks, focused on the question of whether and how to use Weinreich’s College Yiddish, asked teachers to describe how they conduct the first day of Yiddish class and what their strategies are for the Intermediate Yiddish classroom, learned how instructors teach with texts translated from Yiddish, asked Holocaust educators how they teach with and about Yiddish, and learned about Yiddish clubs and reading groups.

This summer, YIVO organized a teachers’ seminar, led by Miriam Trinh and Eliezer Niborski dedicated to discussing issues of Yiddish language pedagogy. While every day of the seminar provided extremely rich food for thought - ranging from “How and when do we teach our students to use dictionaries and which dictionaries?“ to “How can we instruct our students in correct Yiddish handwriting?“ - It was in particular the question of “How and when do we teach khurbn materials in our language classes?“ that struck a nerve among participants. Two common responses to the question were, on the one hand, a hesitation to inadvertently confirm a stereotype of Yiddish as being exclusively a “dead” Holocaust language, and, on the other hand, a deep commitment to showcasing the connection of Yiddish as a language of Holocaust literature, testimony, and scholarship. If you teach Yiddish language classes, we invite you to participate in our short survey to help us learn more about your approach to teaching the khurbn.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with the In geveb teaching community. Please note that you don’t have to answer every question in order to participate. Choose the questions you find most relevant - we appreciate any thoughts, ideas, or information you are willing to share.

Chiritescu, Sandra. “לויט די לערערס | Teachers Weigh In: The Place of the Khurbn in Yiddish Language Classes.” In geveb, October 2019:לויט-די-לערערס-teachers-weigh-in-the-place-of-the-khurbn-in-yiddish-language-classes.
Chiritescu, Sandra. “לויט די לערערס | Teachers Weigh In: The Place of the Khurbn in Yiddish Language Classes.” In geveb (October 2019): Accessed Feb 26, 2021.


Sandra Chiritescu

Sandra Chiritescu is a PhD Candidate in Yiddish Studies at Columbia University.