Jewish Languages Today: Endangered, Surviving, and Thriving
Thursday aft 12:00pm PDT
Throughout history Jews have spoken many languages, such as Ladino, Judeo-Arabic, Jewish Neo-Aramaic (Iraq-Iran), and Judeo-Malayalam (Southern India). Over the past two centuries, migrations and other historical events have led to the endangerment of these languages and the destruction of Jewish communities that kept them alive. At the same time, Jews are engaging with these languages in variety of different ways, such as through song and food, and new Jewish language varieties are developing, including Jewish English, Jewish Latin American Spanish, and Jewish Russian. Join Dr. Sarah Bunin Benor as she takes you through these historical developments and highlights why there is an urgent need for documentation and reclamation.
Sarah Bunin Benor is Vice Provost and Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies at HUC-JIR (LA) and Adjunct Professor in the University of Southern California Linguistics Department. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University in Linguistics in 2004. Her books include Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism (Rutgers University Press, 2012) and Hebrew Infusion: Language and Community at American Jewish Summer Camps (Rutgers University Press, 2020). Dr. Benor is founding co-editor of the Journal of Jewish Languages and directs the HUC-JIR Jewish Language Project, which features the Jewish Language Website and the Jewish English Lexicon.