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‎12 Adar I 5784 | ‎21/02/2024

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Oxford Offers Courses on TWELVE(!) Rare Jewish Languages

Oxford Offers Courses on TWELVE(!) Rare Jewish Languages

ENGLISH CORNER, CON LINDA JIMÉNEZ – This week’s trivia question:  What do most Jewish languages have in common with each other?

In October 2021 Oxford University’s Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies (OCHJS) inaugurated the new Oxford School of Rare Jewish Languages (OSRJL), in collaboration with other institutions across Europe and beyond. The school offers a range of free online language classes on twelve vernacular languages, spoken and/or written by Jews from the Middle Ages until today.

Although these Jewish languages were originally used as means to communicate with the world outside Jewish communities, they became the languages of Jewish families, the means of expressing emotions and daily concerns, and, in many cases, an essential part of the Jewish history, creativity, culture, and identity.

The OSRJL is the first online school of its kind. By offering free, online teaching of rare Jewish languages and their cultural and historical contexts, along with public lectures (which you can hear live or recorded) and an educational blog on the same topics, OSRJL aims to preserve, spark interest in, enable access to, and reflect on the nature and role of Jewish languages as essential aspects of Jewish life and history.

This week Professor Judith Olszowy-Schlanger, President of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, is speaking with us about this innovative school and its program.