Intensive Yiddish Language and Literature Program (Not offered 2020-2021)

The Vered Jewish Canadian Studies Program at the University of Ottawa is proud to offer the Yiddish Summer Institute, the first program of its kind in Canada. This six-week, six-credit intensive introductory course in Yiddish language and culture will run during the Spring session (May-mid-June, 2020).


The program will include a daily language class (9:30-11:30 am) and a weekly culture class (Thursday afternoons) comprised of live musical performance, film screenings and lectures. The course will conclude with a fieldtrip to Yiddish Montreal, including a live theatre performance.

Who should register for the course?

The course is open to all and no previous background is required. We have had successful students from all university programs, all age groups and all ethnic and religious backgrounds.

The program is of interest to students:

  • who enjoy learning new languages, especially lesser-spoken languages
  • who require Yiddish language reading knowledge for their research
  • who are interested in Yiddish performance of theatre or music
  • for whom Yiddish is a family or heritage language
  • who want to learn more about Eastern European Jewish culture
  • who wish to be able to translate out of or into Yiddish
  • who seek to be creative in Yiddish

By the end of the course, successful students will be able to:

  • Hold a basic conversation like a native speaker,
  • Write about a variety of topics,
  • Read a Yiddish newspaper or other text with the help of a dictionary,
  • Know at least 20 Yiddish songs,
  • Be familiar with many aspects of Yiddish culture from Eastern Europe through present-day Canada including music, literature, theatre and film.

Special for graduate students

A parallel graduate course, LCM 5903, offers the same intensive language training with additional workshops on research methods and topics for the graduate level. Graduate students will complete a research project of their choice that employs original Yiddish-language sources.


Scholarships are available to offset the costs of travel and accommodation for University students coming from outside of the Ottawa area.


Registration is open to regular full-time or part-time students at the University of Ottawa, students from other universities. Non-university students are welcome to register as special students. Registration opens at the end of March, 2020, with more details to follow.

For questions, more information or to be added to the Yiddish Program emailing list for updates, please contact Prof. Rebecca Margolis, the coordinator and instructor for the course.

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