Meet Our Yiddish Instructors

Kolya 1 to 1 100x100Kolya Borodulin is the Director of Yiddish Programming at the Workers Circle.

Kolya has been teaching Yiddish since 1988, just three months after he began learning the language himself. He joined the Workers Circle staff in 1993, and has been developing curricula and leading classes for Workers Circle students of all ages ever since.     

As a longtime Yiddish educator, Kolya has taught for a number of organizations internationally, including the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education, the YIVO summer program, the Teacher’s College in his hometown of Birobidzhan, Russia, as well as Klezkanada, which he has attended for close to two decades. 

Kolya currently teaches both in-person and online Yiddish classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced speakers at the Workmen’s Circle.

Shane-1 to 1 100x100Shane Baker, executive director of the Congress for Jewish Culture, is one of the most prominent proponents of Yiddish language, culture, and theater in New York today.  As an actor, translator, and playwright, he teaches students to apply the skills of the Yiddish stage to their own interpretation of the literature.


isaac-beaman 1 to 1 100x100Isaac Bleaman is a doctoral student in Linguistics at New York University. His research focuses on variation in how Yiddish is spoken in New York today, both by Hasidim and by Yiddishists. Isaac holds a Master’s degree in Yiddish Studies from Oxford and a Bachelor’s in Linguistics and Comparative Literature from Stanford. In addition to his studies, Isaac writes a biweekly column in the Yiddish Forverts and serves as director of Leyenzal – A Yiddish Literacy Project, an educational nonprofit that commissions Yiddish-language lectures by sought-after teachers and makes them available to view for free online. He has taught beginning and intermediate language students at the Yiddish Farm and has tutored and lectured in Yiddish at various venues.

Baruch Blum is the Yiddish Coordinator at the Workers Circle. He has worked as a Yiddish translator, as the secretary for the League for Yiddish, Inc., and as Yiddish language instructor at the Yiddish Farm.


yankl peretzYankl-Peretz Blum began teaching himself Yiddish while a college student in California. He’s been on the board of Yugntruf — Youth for Yiddish since 2006 (for several years serving as its chair), and active in the Yiddish Farm since its founding in 2011. He began teaching Yiddish in 2007. He has taught classes at the Yiddish Farm, YIVO, Workmen’s Circle, and Yugntruf. He has an MA in Linguistics from CUNY Graduate Center, and works as Project Manager at YiddishPOP. He lives with one of his brothers in Brooklyn in an apartment they call “Yiddish Hoyz”, and spends his free time learning languages.

dovid_braunDovid Braun has taught Yiddish at all levels and at many of the foremost academic Yiddish programs worldwide. He has been a faculty member teaching Yiddish language, Yiddish linguistics, or general linguistics at Harvard University; Hebrew University (Jerusalem); University of Pennsylvania; Hampshire College/Yiddish Book Center; Jewish Historical Institute (Warsaw); YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in its summer programs at Columbia University, NYU, and now Bard College; Gratz College; Workmen’s Circle (Boston; NYC). In the general field of Yiddish he has worked as a translator, researcher, dialect/pronunciation coach for performers, presenter on Yiddish-language pedagogy and topics in folklore, and a decipherer of handwritten documents. 

leyzer BurkoLeyzer Burko is a professional Yiddishist who has taught Yiddish in the YIVO Summer Program and the Jewish Theological Seminary. He is at work on a Yiddish Dialect Dictionary ( which grew out of the research for his dissertation Saving Yiddish: Yiddish Studies and the Language Sciences in America, 1940-1970 (Jewish Theological Seminary, 2019). He edited the volume Mame-loshn by Nahum Stutchkoff, lives in the “Yiddish House” in the Bronx, and performs occasionally on the Yiddish stage.  

motl-didnerMotl Didner is the Associate Artistic Director of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. In addition to directing, producing, and occasionally appearing on stage in critically acclaimed productions, Motl oversees the Folksbiene’s Outreach and Education program, which include Yiddish language and performing arts classes and workshops for children and adults. Motl is a fourth generation Workmen’s Circle member and a former member of the WC/AR National Executive Board. Motl has offered “Instant Yiddish” classes before Folksbiene performances since 2009 and began teaching Yiddish 101 classes in 2017.

head shot 2Naftali Schaechter Ejdelman is a grandson of the late Yiddish professor Dr. Mordkhe Schaechter, and has been teaching Yiddish in a variety of formal and informal contexts since he was in high school. He received a Masters Degree in Judaic Studies from Brandeis University and is a licensed teacher in New York and Massachusetts. Naftali helped found the Yiddish Farm Education Center in 2010 and was selected to participate in the ROI Global Community of Jewish Innovators in 2011 and the PresenTense Community Entrepeneur Partnership in 2012. Before founding Yiddish Farm, Naftali worked as a schoolteacher teacher at Beit Rabban and as an environmental educator at the Teva Learning Center and at the Kayam Farm. He was named one of the Jewish Week 36 Under 36 in 2013.

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Gennady Estraikh is a Clinical Associate Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and Rauch Associate Professor of Yiddish Studies at New York University, as well as a staff writer for The Yiddish Daily Forward (Forverts). From 1988-1991, Gennady was Managing Editor of the Moscow-based Yiddish literary monthly Sovetish Heymland. From 1995-2002, he worked at the Oxford Institute for Yiddish Studies and London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies. Gennady holds a PhD from the University of Oxford and has written and edited over a dozen publications on Yiddish language and culture.

FishmanPhoto2David E. Fishman is Professor of History at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He is the author of several books, including the award-winning The Book Smugglers: Partisans, Poets and the Race to Save Jewish Treasures from the Nazis (2017), which has appeared in six foreign languages, and The Rise of Modern Yiddish Culture. He is also the proud father of Yiddish-speaking children.

Frieda-Forman 1 to 1 100x100Frieda Forman has been a teacher, writer and scholar in the fields of Jewish Studies and Women’s Studies for over four decades.  She was the founder and coordinator of the Women’s Educational Resources Centre at OISE/ University of Toronto, where she is currently an associate scholar.  

She was the researcher, co- editor, and a translator of Found Treasures: Stories by Yiddish Women Writers, the first collection of Yiddish women’s literature in translation. More recently, she edited The Exile Book of Yiddish Women Writers.

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Eve Jochnowitz is a Yiddish scholar, culinary ethnographer, chef, and baker.  Eve has lectured both in the United States and abroad on food in Jewish tradition, religion, and ritual as well as food in Yiddish performance and popular culture. 

Eve received her PhD on the subject of Jewish culinary ethnography from New York University’s Performance Studies Department. She translated and edited “The Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook” by restaurateur Fania Lewando, which is based on a 1938 Yiddish cookbook. She also runs the video program “Est Gezunterheyt” with author Rukhl Schaechter for The Yiddish Daily Forward.

Eve teaches in-person as well as online classes.


Dovid Katz is a native of New York City who went on to found and lead Yiddish studies at Oxford for 18 years (1978-1997), and, after a stint as visiting professor at Yale (1998-1999), relocated to Vilnius, Lithuania in 1999. He is the author of Grammar of the Yiddish LanguageWords on Fire: The Unfinished Story of YiddishLithuanian Jewish Culture; and Yiddish and Power (in English); Issues in Yiddish Stylistics (in Yiddish), numerous works on Yiddish linguistics, and four volumes of Yiddish fiction, most recently Einstein of Svir and Other Short Stories (Leyvik House, 2020). He is currently at work on his Yiddish Cultural Dictionary: English-Yiddish Dictionary for the 21st Century (available free online). He edits, a web journal at the forefront of efforts to counter the new East European incarnations of Holocaust denial. Many of his writings (including his translation-in-progress of the Bible into Lithuanian Yiddish)  are posted on his website:

Dov Ber KerlerDov-Ber Kerler is the Cohn Chair in Yiddish Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. He taught Yiddish as well as courses on Yiddish literature, culture and scholarship in Jerusalem, Oxford, Moscow, and Vilnius. A son of the noted Yiddish poet, Yosef Kerler, Dov-Ber has been publishing his own original Yiddish poetry since 1993, in addition to scholarly and general articles (mostly in Yiddish). To date, since 1996, six collections of his poetry have been published in Britain and Israel, including a joint volume of his and his father’s poems, entitled “Shpiglksav” (Words in a Mirror).

Miri015Miri Koral has shared her passion for Yiddish by teaching the language and culture to hundreds of students of all ages at UCLA, at the American Jewish University, and privately for over 20 years.  She is also the Founding Director of the California Institute for Yiddish Culture and Language which produces Yiddish programming since 1999 (, and is an accomplished Yiddish poet and translator.  

natalia_krynicka2Dr. Natalia Krynicka is a teacher, researcher and translator of Yiddish literature. Since 1995 she has worked at the Medem Library in Paris, where she is the chief librarian. She teaches Yiddish language and literature at the Sorbonne, at the Paris Yiddish Center (Maison de la culture yiddish) and on international seminars in Paris, Strasbourg, Warsaw, Berlin. Her doctorate covers the Polish-Jewish cultural relations in the light of translations from Polish to Yiddish and from Yiddish to Polish in the years 1885-1939. 

Ber KotlermanBer Kotlerman is Associate Professor in Yiddish Studies at Bar Ilan University, Israel. In the late 1990s to the early 2000s he served as director for the Tel Aviv-based Association of Yiddish Writers and Journalists in Israel (Leyvik House) and as the Israeli representative of The Yiddish Daily Forward (Forverts). He has also taught Yiddish language and culture at Kiev, Tokyo, Berlin, Vilnius, and Birobidzhan, where he founded an International Yiddish Summer Program. Ber’s academic activities include numerous publications on Yiddish history and culture, among them monographs about Sholem Aleichem’s and Der Nister’s writings, as well as translations from the Old Yiddish into Russian and Hebrew. 

Avraham-1 to 1 100x100Avraham Lichtenbaum has been the Executive Director of the IWO Foundation (Institute of Jewish Research) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, since 1994. He has taught Yiddish in New York, Warsaw, Buenos Aires and Vilnius. Avraham is also the lecturer and the author of texts about Jewish history and culture. Avraham was one of the first instructors to lead the Workmen’s Circle online Yiddish program, teaching students from around the world from his office in Buenos Aires.

zhenya-Lopatnik-100x100Zhenya Lopatnik is a singer, composer, author of songs in Yiddish, published writer, and a teacher of everything that is connected to the word “Jewish”. She is a master of informal Jewish education, teaching Jewish culture and traditions to people of all ages.


Elena LuchinaElena Luchina, born in Moscow, is a PhD candidate in linguistics at the Hebrew University. Her research objectively answers questions with agenda, like how is Yiddish similar to German or certain Slavic languages, how different are texts from different places or how special or “good” is the language of particular author. She also translates songs into Yiddish. Elena has been teaching Yiddish since 2012 in various places, including National Research University HSE (Mosocw) and Beit Leyvik (Tel Aviv). She is passionate about developing new formats for teaching fluency and creativity.

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David Mandelbaum has been producing and acting in experimental theater in New York for over 35 years. He has worked at La Mama, etc., Theater For The New City, The Common Basis Theater and numerous others. In 2007, he and Amy Coleman founded the New Yiddish Rep and premiered its first show, an adaptation of the Holocaust classic, Yosl Rakover Speaks To G-d, which has since been showcased in Montreal, Rome, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem. Under David’s leadership, the New Yiddish Rep has presented original films, concerts, performance art, and art exhibitions, and has workshopped and developed The Essence: A Yiddish Theater Dim Sum and The Big Bupkis: The Complete Gentile’s Guide to Yiddish Vaudeville.

alyssa masorAlyssa Masor received her PhD in Yiddish studies from Columbia University.  Her dissertation was entitled “The Evolution of Literary Neo-Hasidism.” She has taught Yiddish language and literature at Columbia, YIVO, Yeshiva University, and Yiddish Farm.  She has published poetry and prose in Yiddish in Forverts Penshaft and Afn Shvel, as well as scholarly articles on Yiddish literature.  She gives tours of Hasidic Boro Park and lectures on contemporary Hasidic culture.  

lmishulovinLazer Mishulovin is a teacher, writer and translator. He taught Yiddish in Israel, Chicago and New York and created a Yiddish conversation group titled Shmooze and Kvell. Some of his writings appeared in Der Algemeiner Journal and they range from current events to Jewish and human interest. He translated numerous family letters, diaries and articles, including from Israel Prime Minister Golda Meir, as well as audio testimonies and talmudic lectures. He holds a degree in Jewish Studies and English Literature. He also received training as a language instructor and educator at Hebrew University and served as a Jewish educator at Jewish day schools in North America. 

yitskhokniborski 1 to 1 100x100Itskhok Niborski is a Vice President of the Paris Yiddish Center, and a beloved teacher to numerous students from all over the world. His extensive Yiddish teaching experiences includes courses in Buenos Aires and Paris, where he lives.

In the Paris Yiddish Center, Niborski created the Summer University of Yiddish Language and Literature, which has become one of the most important Yiddish learning centers in Europe. He is known throughout the world for his Dictionary of Yiddish words of Hebrew and Aramaic origin.  Niborski has also translated some Spanish works into Yiddish and writes original poetry in Yiddish.

Eugene OrensteinEugene Orenstein taught Modern Jewish History for 39 years in the Department of Jewish Studies at McGill University with particular emphasis on the Jewish labor and socialist movement in Eastern Europe and North America and the development of modern Yiddish culture. He is an author of numerous publications including bio-bibliographical studies in Der leksikon fun der nayer yidisher literatur. (“Biographical Dictionary of Modern Yiddish Literature” Eugene has been teaching Yiddish at various intensive Summer Programs including YIVO and Tel-Aviv.

polyan_2019Alexandra Polyan holds a PhD in Linguistics from the Institute of Linguistics (Russian Academy of Sciences) and is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Jewish Studies, Institute of Asian and African Studies, Moscow State University. Since 2017, she has been teaching Yiddish at the Naomi Prawer Kadar International Summer Yiddish Program (Tel Aviv University). She has also taught Yiddish language and culture in MSU, Project Judaica (Russian State University for the Humanities in cooperation with Jewish Theological Seminary), Eshkolot Project, International Solomon University (Khar’kiv), and in Jewish communities of Riga and Minsk. She served as Moscow correspondent of Forward Yiddish Radio, now she writes for Forward newspaper.

SANDLER-FOTO 1bwBoris Sandler (born in Beltz, Moldova) is a Yiddish language author, journalist, playwright and lyricist and the former editor of the Yiddish edition of the Forward.



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Dmitri “Zisl” Slepovitch is a Yiddish cultural activist, educator, musician, composer. A native of Minsk, Slepovitch holds a Ph.D. degree in musicology (Jewish music) from the Belarus State Academy of Music (2006). Having moved to the US and New York City in 2008, Zisl has taught Yiddish Language and Culture at The New School (New York City); taught, presented at, and led numerous Yiddish-related programs and events in scholarship, education, and performing arts hosted by The Workmen’s Circle (Trip to Yiddishland), Brandeis University, University of Michigan, Indiana University, Marks JCH in Bensonhurst (Brooklyn, NY), Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Eshkolot project, and the Sefer Center (the latter two in Moscow, Russia). Zisl’s personal belief as an educator is that study is a two-way road where the teacher and the student are equally educating and being educated. For additional information, check out his website.

Paula Teitelbaum is a native Yiddish speaker and an experienced teacher of Yiddish, Spanish, and English to speakers of other languages. Her courses integrate listening, speaking, reading, and writing to help students understand basic conversational Yiddish, its vocabulary and its grammatical structures. Teitelbaum holds a Master’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University and is an accomplished singer. Her singing can be heard on the recordings Vaserl, Zumerteg, Fli,Fli, My Flishlang and on the soundtrack of the documentary film Image Before My Eyes.  In addition to teaching at the Workmen’s Circle, she has taught Yiddish at the YIVO Summer Intensive Program, New York University, Stern College for Women, the Shevach High School for Girls, the 92nd Street Y, the Central Queens Y, Yugntruf, and Klezkamp.

Miriam TrinhMiriam Trinh was born in Poland, grew up in Germany and immigrated to Israel after finishing High School. She completed her undergraduate studies in Philosophy and Yiddish at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, obtained her Master’s degree in Yiddish literature at the Universities of Paris-Sorbonne and Strasbourg (France), her Ph.D. at the Hebrew University and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She has taught Yiddish language and literature since 1999, in Paris, Oxford, Strassbourg, Vilna, New York, Baltimore, Tel Aviv and is currently teaching Yiddish at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Miriam Trinh has published works in the field of Modern Yiddish Literature and especially on Holocaust literature. She is also engaged in translation from and into Yiddish.

Yuri-Vedenyapin_1 to 1 100x100Yuri Vedenyapin is a Yiddish scholar, teacher, and performer. He is Preceptor in Yiddish at Harvard University and has also taught Yiddish language and culture at Cambridge University, Columbia University, Moscow State University, the Naomi Prawer Kadar Yiddish Summer Program at Tel Aviv University, the Yiddish Book Center, the Yiddish Summer Program in Warsaw, and elsewhere. Interested in Yiddish dialects and oral history, he has interviewed Yiddish writers, actors, and members of Hasidic communities. He studied acting at the Shchepkin Theater School in Moscow and performs songs in Yiddish and other languages. 

Warschauer-2010-aviamoore-397 squareCantor Jeff Warschauer is internationally renowned as a pioneering klezmer instrumentalist, as an expressive Yiddish singer and as a skillful and inspirational educator. One half of the Strauss/Warschauer Duo, Jeff was a long-time member of the Klezmer Conservatory Band. A graduate of the H.L. Miller Cantorial School at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Jeff is Cantor at synagogues in Massapequa, NY and Manchester, Vermont. He is on the faculty of Columbia University, and is a Founding Artistic Director and Senior Artistic Advisor of the KlezKanada Institute for Yiddish/Jewish Culture.

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Michael Wex is a Canadian novelist, columnist, playwright, translator, lecturer and performer. His is also the author of numerous books, including the 2005 bestseller “Born to Kvetch.” A native of Lethbridge, Alberta, Michael has worked in virtually every area of contemporary Yiddish. Some of his songs have been recorded by such klezmer bands as Sukke, The Flying Bulgars, and the 2007 Grammy winners, The Klezmatics. Michael’s teaching and lecture activities—a unique combination of learning, stand-up comedy and probing investigation into the nature of Yiddish and Yiddishkayt—have taken him from Toronto to Budapest, and to many points in between.

mikhl checksBorn in Detroit and educated at Harvard, Mikhl Yashinsky is an actor-director, writer, and Yiddish teacher and translator. He recently appeared with the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene in the Drama Desk-winning Yiddish Fiddler on the Roof, directed by Joel Grey, and in The Sorceress (a New York Times Critic’s Pick), for which performance he was hailed by the Times for giving a “keen, if malevolent, psychology” to the title role. Forthcoming publications include his translation of the memoirs of theatrical pioneer Ester-Rokhl Kaminska (Syracuse University Press), and In eynem (Yiddish Book Center), a new Yiddish textbook he co-authored. He has also taught the language at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and the University of Michigan. In 2019, he was named to the Forward 50, the historic newspaper’s annual list of “influential, intriguing, and inspiring” American Jews.

Moshe-Yassur 1 to 1 100x115Moshe Yassur, born in Iasi, Romania was a child actor in the Pomul Verde [The Green Apple], the original Yiddish theatre founded by Avram Goldfadn in Iasi in 1876 and revived after WWII. At the same time he trained at the Conservatory and acted in the Romanian National Theatre in Iasi. In 1950, after immigration to Israel and learning Hebrew, he became part of the Hebrew theatre in Israel as actor, director, and teacher. Moshe has directed traditional and modern works in Yiddish at the Jewish State Theatre in Bucharest, premiered Howard Barker’s Judith, Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw, and The Belle of Amherst along with directing several plays by Ionesco at major Romanian theatres, acted at Castillo Theatre in Fred Newman’s Mr. Hirsch Died Yesterday, and directed Dan Friedman’s The Learning Play of Rabbi Levi Yitzhok, Son of Sara, of Berdichev. Having directed Waiting for Godot for New Yiddish Rep, originally in cooperation with Castillo in 2013, he is honored to have performed it at Portora Royal as part of the Beckett Festival in Enniskillen, NI and reprised as part of Origin’s 2014 First Irish Theatre Festival. Most recently he directed 2 By Wolf, for New Yiddish Rep.

8.15.18TTYL-238Sheva Zucker is the author of the textbooks “Yiddish: An Introduction to the Language, Literature & Culture,” Vols. I & II and the editor and producer of the CD The Golden Peacock: Voice of the Yiddish Writer. She has taught and lectured on Yiddish language, literature and culture on five continents and has taught Yiddish for almost two decades  in the Uriel Weinreich Program in Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture, currently under the auspices of Bard College and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York City. She is the director of the League for Yiddish and the editor of its all-Yiddish magazine “Afn Shvel.”