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Languages in Jewish Communities, Past and Present: Book Launch

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Please join us to celebrate the launch of Languages in Jewish Communities, Past and Present, co-authored by Professor Benjamin Hary of the Hebrew & Judaic Studies Department.

Panel Discussion will be led by coauthors Benjamin Hary (NYU) and Sarah Benor (HUC) with respondents David Bunis (Hebrew University) and Zvi Ben-Dor Benite (NYU). Kosher reception to follow.

Mon, December 10, 2018

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST


by NYU Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies

60 5th Ave

60 5th Avenue

About the Book:

Languages in Jewish Communities, Past and Present, Editors: Benjamin Hary & Sarah Bunin Benor

Since Joshua Fishman’s seminal work in the 1980s (e.g., Fishman, Joshua A., ed. 1985. Readings in the Sociology of Jewish Languages. Leiden: Brill), there has been a good deal of research on languages in Jewish communities. This research has mostly been either structural or sociological but not both. Our volume brings together these two research traditions, offering sociological and structural descriptions of languages used in about 20 Diaspora Jewish communities, along with synthesizing descriptive and theoretical articles about the structure and sociology of languages in these and other communities. Using the construct of the continuum of Jewish linguistic distinctiveness, we posit “Jewish languages” as a historical and contemporary phenomenon. With a few exceptions, including Yiddish in Slavic lands and Ladino/Judeo-Spanish/Judezmo in Ottoman lands, Jews have tended to speak variants of the local non-Jewish languages. The distinctiveness of these variants has ranged from minor to major, depending on the degree of Jews’ integration into the surrounding populations, their orientation toward rabbinic texts, and other factors. While much previous research on Jewish languages assumes that the phenomenon essentially ended with modernity, this volume highlights its 21st-century manifestation.

This event was made possible by the generous support of our sponsors:
Hebrew Union College
NYU Center for Ancient Studies
NYU Center for European and Mediterranean Studies
NYU Department of Linguistics
NYU Goldstein Goren Center
NYU Graduate School of Arts & Science
NYU Taub Center for Israel Studies

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