Councilman Proposes Secular Yiddish Program For NYC Public School


A New York City Council member has proposed opening a dual-language Yiddish-English program in a city public school.

Councilman Mark Levine, who represents parts of upper Manhattan and is the chair of the City Council’s Jewish Caucus, is working to open the program in a kindergarten classroom in the fall of 2020, The Forward reported.

The secular Yiddish-language program would be the only program of its kind in the United States. As a public school program it would be devoid of religious content.

“I’ve been inspired by young activists who are looking to keep this language alive, and keep its literature and theater and culture alive by passing it on to the next generation,” Levine told the Forward.

Read more at JPOST.



  1. Yiddish has given a lot of picturesque words to English, especially for a language that is one of the less widely spoken. And learning any language makes you see the world differently.

    Not only in New York do a lot of people know bits of Yiddish. So special pleading might seem proper, if, apparently, people heve not the interest to organize groups to practice their Yiddish on a regular basis or put together Yiddish plays of broad enough interest to attract an audience. French, Italian, German, and Spanish language groups exist for this reason, but for some reason, not Yiddish?

    I took Latin in high school, back when schools still considered learning a language important. The ablative absolute construction was my downfall, so I wasn’t much good at it except vocabulary. But, boy, I’ve had use for that my whole life.

    Yiddish on the other hand? Not so much. So why would we divert public funds for a lprivate interest, if that interest is not great enough to encourage it privately?

  2. I have no problem with this. It’s only fair … other languages are taught in public schools including a “dead” language .. Latin. Mark Levine, the sponsor, is a progressive Democrat.

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