Tertiary Yiddish

Tertiary Yiddish was taught at Prahran College of Advanced Education in High Street Prahran (which later merged with Victoria College at Stonington), from the mid-1970s.  Yiddish, levels 1 to 3, was part of a Jewish Studies Department headed by Henry Shaw and situated within an Arts faculty at the College. Danielle Charak taught all three levels of Yiddish and when she resigned, the subject ceased to be taught.

A group of enthusiastic activists worked hard to have Yiddish introduced at Monash University’s Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation.  In 2003 Yiddish was offered as a first year subject taught by Danielle Charak.  After some years Bobbi Zylberman took over teaching levels 1 and 2, while Danielle taught level 3.  In 2010, Hinde Ena Burstin teaches levels 2 and 3 Yiddish at Monash University.

The course, established by Danielle Charak, encompasses language and culture and is based on the text books written by Sheva Zucker, Yiddish:  An Introduction to the Language, Literature and Culture (1995).  Spoken language is stressed and additional reading materials such as newspaper articles, poetry, and short stories form the basis for oral work and conversation.

The tertiary students come from a variety of backgrounds.  Enrolments vary from five to ten students and students range in age from high school graduates to retired members of the Jewish community.  They also have different levels of previously acquired Yiddish language and learning.

In addition to the formal studies offered at Monash University, there are four adult groups meeting weekly to study Yiddish language and literature.  They range from beginners to highly advanced levels and include Yiddish conversation, language, literature and culture.  The teachers are Hinde Ena Burstin, Danielle Charak, Elissa Grey and Tomi Kalinski.