The Workmen’s Circle Expands Online Yiddish Program
Courses Draw Multi-generational Students From Around the World
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February 10, 2015 – As the winter semester gets underway, students from around the world are joining a new virtual classroom: the Workmen’s Circle’s online Yiddish courses, which begin this month with an all-star lineup of teachers.
The Workmen’s Circle’s online Yiddish program is the first educational initiative of its kind. By incorporating the latest technologies in distance learning, it is bringing together a diverse, international community of Yiddish speakers—from beginners to advanced—who share a passion for the language. Classes are conducted via a web conferencing service, WebEx©, which is equipped with face-to-face chat, whiteboard, and audio and video capabilities. Every session is recorded, giving students the flexibility to review the material at their own pace.
Designed for all ages and skill levels, the online program is drawing students as young as 15 and those well into their 80’s. Last semester, Robert Kaplan, a longtime Workmen’s Circle Board member, enrolled in a beginners’ class with his teenage granddaughter Emma Karnes. “The Workmen’s Circle’s online Yiddish classes are a natural fit for young people who live and learn through digital media,” Kaplan commented. “It was the perfect way for Emma to discover Yiddish—and for me to shep nakhes. It is also the perfect way to cultivate the next generation that will keep the language alive.”
By popular demand, the Workmen’s Circle is now rapidly expanding its online program, offering classes on Yiddish language and culture. This semester’s instructors are the foremost experts in the field. They include Gennady Estraikh, Avraham Lichtenbaum, Michael Wex, Sheva Zucker and Kolya Borodulin, the Workmen’s Circle’s Associate Director for Yiddish Programming. Teaching from Buenos Aires, New York and Toronto, they will connect students from every continent.
Borodulin remarked on the online program’s impact, stating, “Students of all ages who don’t have access to traditional Yiddish education centers are embracing this model. They live in different states or even completely different countries. As a teacher, it is incredibly rewarding to see them interact with one another while they progress through class, reading and speaking Yiddish. We look forward to watching this vibrant program continue to grow.”
The Workmen’s Circle’s Winter/Spring 2015 classes begin this month. To learn more about online and in-person classes in New York, visit www.circle.org/yiddish-language.