One Keeps Spinning: Saving Yiddish on Cape Cod | CAI

One Keeps Spinning: Saving Yiddish on Cape Cod

Feb 24, 2020

Ellie Glener reads a Yiddish phrase book.
Credit October 2019. Photo by Theo Greenly.

Yiddish was once spoken by over 11 million Jewish people before it was nearly wiped out in the Holocaust. But it spread to the New World and flowered in places like New York and Boston. Today, however, it’s declining quickly—by about fifteen percent every decade. Even the United Nations has declared Yiddish an “endangered language.” 

There are only about a thousand speakers left in Massachusetts. And Ellie Glener is one of them - organizing  a Yiddish conversation group in the unlikely pocket of Falmouth, where she hopes to perpetuate the language. 

Ellie Glener and her book of Yiddish phrases in Mashpee
Credit October 2019. Photo by Theo Greenly.

This piece came to us from our production partners at Atlantic Public Media through their media training program, The Transom Story Workshop in Woods Hole. Theo Greenly is a graduate of the workshop and you can find out more about that program at Transom.org.

Ways of Life is made possible by the Circle of Ten - ten local businesses and organizations committed to local programming on WCAI.

To learn more about  Yiddish : 

Falmouth Jewish Congregation Website: https://www.falmouthjewish.org/

UNESCO Endangered Language Atlas: http://www.unesco.org/languages-atlas/