'Gevalt' as Yiddish instruction ends

After nearly a quarter century, the country's largest high school Yiddish program is 'kaput.'

yiddish book 88 248 (photo credit: Courtesy)
yiddish book 88 248
(photo credit: Courtesy)
End of an era… the only high school in Tel Aviv to offer a Yiddish stream to its students is being forced to close down its teaching of the mamaloshen in the coming school year, reports www.nrg.co.il. And the school says the Education Ministry is failing its responsibility to keep teaching the traditional language of European Jewry. According to the report, for the past 24 years the Ironi Aleph High School has offered a Yiddish stream to its ninth- to 12th-graders, complete with the option of five matriculation units in the subject. Last year 40 students participated in the stream. But now the school has found itself up against changing times and bureaucratic obstacles, and will not open a Yiddish stream in the coming school year. Principal Ram Cohen said the teacher in charge of the stream, Shoshana Dominsky, was retiring and there was no one to replace her. "The generation of teachers who teach Yiddish is diminishing. I am sad because this language is part of the legacy of Israel," Cohen said. Dominsky said the state had an obligation to the Jewish people to teach Yiddish, but it had established no clear policy and teachers were not being allocated the time or pay they should be. She said the Education Ministry had threatened to close the stream every year and that at times she had been forced to work for no pay just to keep it going. And a teachers' union spokesman said it was sad that the ministry was so apathetic about the closure of the largest Yiddish stream in Israel. The report said the ministry responded that its funding policy for the Yiddish stream had not changed, but that a check with the school had shown that there was a continuing fall over the years in the number of students wishing to study the language, and there was "no choice but to close the stream."