University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine

Yiddish Gets a Boost

$600,000 gift will support Yiddish Studies program

Prior to the Second World War, about 12 million of the world’s 16 to 17 million Jews spoke Yiddish. The Holocaust, which wiped out half of the world’s Yiddish-speaking population, together with Israel’s adoption of Hebrew, reduced the use of the language to fewer than one million Yiddish speakers today. “Knowing the language is essential to understanding the Jewish experience in Europe,” says Carl Amrhein, dean of Arts and Science. A $600,000 gift from Al and Malka Green of Toronto will ensure that the Yiddish language lives on through the Yiddish Studies program at U of T, named in their honour. With this gift the language and literature courses will be funded in perpetuity.

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