Invitation to Participate: Teaching Yiddish Modernist Poetry

The Editors


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, learned about Yiddish clubs and reading groups, and gathered instructor’s thoughts on teaching Sholem Aleichem’s work.

Near the end of each poll, we ask teachers for their suggestions for future In geveb polls. We are delighted that Philip Hollander (University of Wisconsin, Madison) not only shared his thoughts, but agreed to conduct our next poll on a subject he holds dear: teaching Yiddish modernist poetry.

In her 2016 introduction to a forum for the Modernist Studies Association’s journal Modernism/modernity on “Teaching Modern Poetry,” Emily Setina notes that “Modern poetry presents particular pedagogical hurdles but also offers enticing resources for teaching... Modernist poems can seem to reinforce a sense that students sometimes bring to poetry, that poems require forbiddingly specialized training, to read and, even more, to have anything to say about them.” Perhaps these challenges are even greater for Yiddish Modernist Poetry, for which most instructors have to overcome language barriers and teach historical and literary contexts that may be unfamiliar to many students. That’s why we are so eager to hear your thoughts about teaching Yiddish modernist poetry. Hollander’s survey asks: What works do you teach, and why? What contexts do you place these texts in? What are some techniques you use that you have found most successful?

Do you teach Yiddish modernist poetry? We want to learn from you!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences with the In geveb teaching community.

Editors, The. “Invitation to Participate: Teaching Yiddish Modernist Poetry.” In geveb, April 2018:
Editors, The. “Invitation to Participate: Teaching Yiddish Modernist Poetry.” In geveb (April 2018): Accessed Jan 20, 2021.


The Editors