Teaching Guide for “Invitation to Participate: Teaching with Sholem Aleichem,” by The Editors

Jessica Kirzane


This teach­ing guide accom­pa­nies this ped­a­gogy poll. It is part of a series designed to make writ­ing pub­lished on In geveb acces­si­ble for use by edu­ca­tors in a vari­ety of set­tings. We’d like your feed­back to make these guides as use­ful as pos­si­ble. Please write to pedagogy@​ingeveb.​org to tell us what you found help­ful, what need­ed clar­i­fi­ca­tion, what you would like to see more or less of, and what texts you would like us to pro­duce guides for next. 

If you are inter­est­ed in cre­at­ing a teach­ing guide for a text on our site (inde­pen­dent­ly or in col­lab­o­ra­tion with our ped­a­gogy edi­tor), or if you are already teach­ing with a text on our site and have ideas to share, please also write to pedagogy@​ingeveb.​org.


Surveys are a way of collecting information and pooling resources. Yiddish Studies has a long and fruitful history of such surveys, from Y. L. Peretz’s statistical survey of Polish Jews in 1890 that resulted in his fictionalized “Bilder fun a provints-rayze in tomashover poviat um 1890 yor” (Impressions of a Journey through the Tomaszów Region in 1890; 1891), to Uriel Weinriech’s research for theLanguage and Culture Atlas of Ashkenazi Jewry, to Sandra Fox’s survey on Yiddish in Your Love Life, surveys offer a window into the culture and language of Yiddish speakers. That’s why In geveb regularly polls its readers on a variety of subjects, from translation to pedagogy, to their own In geveb reading practices.

Invitation to Participate: Teaching with Sholem Aleichem,” by The Editors was published on In geveb on November 6, 2017. It received much publicity and attention: it was featured in our newsletter, on our Facebook feed, and repeatedly shared by our frazzled, frustrated pedagogy editor, who is also the author of this Teaching Guide. While reading the invitation, it is hard not to assume that the author’s intent was to engender an instant flood of responses, given how widely taught Sholem Aleichem is throughout the Yiddish Studies world. While we must always be careful not to ascribe intention to the authorial voice, one imagines the Pedagogy Editor wondering how she would ever be able to summarize all these dozens of responses into one succinct pedagogy post. Instead, she has received six wonderful, thoughtful, detailed responses. Six?!?! Yes, six.

This Teaching Guide is intended to hound and guilt instructors and students into responding to the poll by helping them to learn how best to respond to a call for participation.

Discussion Questions

  1. Who do you think should respond to this pedagogy poll?

After listening to student responses, explain to your students that YOU, your friends, and your students should RUN to participate in the poll today!

2. How hard is it to participate in the poll?

Explain to your students that it may require some motivation, perhaps engendered from feelings of guilt after reading this teaching guide, as well as a computer, internet access, and a few minutes of your time. That’s not so hard, really, is it?

Suggested Activities

  1. Participate in the poll.
  2. Share the poll with your friends via email, social media, in conversation, etc. You may wish to brainstorm with your students what would be the best method for further disseminating the poll.
  3. Invite your students to write ideas for In geveb’s next pedagogy poll. They should send these ideas to [email protected], especially if it is a poll that YOU would be excited to answer and to circulate.

Creative Writing Activity

  1. Ask your students to compose an email in the voice of the In geveb Pedagogy Editor, urging YOU to respond to this poll. They can be as creative, nagging, and desperate as they desire.

Essay Prompts

  1. The poll contains several questions that can be answered in a short essay format.

אַ פֿריילעכן פּורים, לייענערס!

a freylekhn purim, leyeners!

Kirzane, Jessica. “Teaching Guide for "Invitation to Participate: Teaching with Sholem Aleichem," by The Editors.” In geveb, February 2018:
Kirzane, Jessica. “Teaching Guide for "Invitation to Participate: Teaching with Sholem Aleichem," by The Editors.” In geveb (February 2018): Accessed Jun 23, 2024.


Jessica Kirzane

Jessica Kirzane is the assistant instructional professor of Yiddish at the University of Chicago. She holds a PhD in Yiddish Studies from Columbia University. Jessica is the Editor-in-Chief of In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies.