On the eve of World War II, there were over 12 million Yiddish speakers worldwide. There were over 150 daily newspapers worldwide and at least 11 Yiddish theaters in New York alone. Unfortunately, this rich cultural heritage has only been passed down to a fraction of today’s younger generations.
In the last few decades, there has been a resurgence of interest in the Yiddish language and culture. Yiddish is now taught in over 50 universities and academic programs throughout the world, Klezmer music has become popular across continents, and over 10,000 Yiddish books have been digitized and are now available for free on the internet.
However, while the mantra of “Let's keep Yiddish alive” is repeatedly invoked, little is done to help students become fluent in the language. While students of other languages can study abroad or attend immersion programs, Yiddish students lack meaningful opportunities to use the language outside of the classroom.
I am raising money in order to build cabins at the Yiddish Farm, a working organic farm that runs Yiddish-immersion programs that bring together native Yiddish-speakers from diverse backgrounds with the goal of creating a Yiddish-speaking community that can ensure a healthy future for this cultural treasure.