Help newcomers pronounce Jewish words

By Sarah Benor

89% of $9,800 goal
This campaign ends on July 19 at 06:00PM EDT
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Alicia Chandler photoAlicia matched $360
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Kathy's friend is getting married and uses the word "chuppah" in the invitation. She wants to use the word but has no idea how to pronounce it. Is it HOO-pah? TSHUP-ah? khoo-PAH? The HUC-JIR Jewish Language Project wants to help by adding pronunciation recordings to the Jewish English Lexicon - an online dictionary of Hebrew, Yiddish, and other words used by Jews within English.

Kathy is not the only one who will find this useful. Over the years we've gotten requests for recordings from many people, such as:

  • Converts and prospective converts
  • Non-Jewish spouses, relatives, friends, and colleagues of Jews
  • Tech companies that wish to improve the accuracy of their voice recognition and auto-captioning software (a problem we’re trying to address from multiple angles)
  • Jewish organizations that want to orient non-Jewish employees to Jewish life
  • Jewish educators who want to teach about cultural diversity among American Jews
  • Actors portraying Jewish characters who need to learn authentic pronunciations
  • Christians, Muslims, and others involved in interfaith dialogue with Jews
  • Researchers who want to analyze Jewish pronunciation
  • Jews who want to learn how other Jews pronounce certain words (e.g., Festival of Booths: Orthodox Ashkenazi Jews might say "SOOK-kiss," while Sephardi/Mizrahi and non-Orthodox Ashkenazi Jews might say "soo-COAT").

Once the recordings are added, the Jewish English Lexicon will be helpful for anyone who wants to strengthen their communication with Jews of various backgrounds.

To make this project a reality, we would like to raise $9,800 and find 36 volunteers to record entries. We invite you to join this exciting and important initiative. You can sign up to volunteer here, and you can donate by clicking "Give Now."

A donation in any amount will be helpful. $180 pays for 25 entries. If you give $360 or more, your name will be included on the donor recognition page. For $600 or more, Dr. Sarah Bunin Benor will give a lecture to your community on a topic of your choice (such as Jewish languages, Yiddish in America today, the language of newly Orthodox Jews, or Jewish English). $1000 or more: your name on a special section of the donor recognition page.

2 days from deadline: crowdfunding campaign to add pronunciation recordings

Thank you again for your generous donation to the HUC-JIR Jewish Language Project. You have brought us one step closer to adding pronunciation recordings to the Jewish English Lexicon.

With everything going on in the world, especially the COVID crisis and violence between Israelis and Palestinians, adding pronunciations to a dictionary is, of course, not a high-priority cause. Therefore this campaign hasn't been as aggressive as crowdfunding campaigns are supposed to be.

However, some of you have asked for an update. In the last four weeks, we have raised $6845. The deadline is two days away - Friday at 3pm Pacific time - and we still have to raise $2955. If you're so inclined, I'd appreciate if you could share the campaign with two friends to help us reach our goal.

Here are some incentives, which refer to the total each person gives throughout this campaign:

If you give $360 or more, your name will be included on the donor recognition page (thank you, Mark David, Elyssa Elbaz, and Alicia). For $600 or more (thank you, Congregation Kol Ami in Salt Lake City), you'll have the option of requesting a lecture by me for your community on a topic of your choice (such as Jewish languages, Yiddish in America today, the language of newly Orthodox Jews, or Jewish English). $1000 or more: your name on a special section of the donor recognition page. Of course donations of any size are helpful.

With appreciation,


P.S. Thank you to the following donors (listed alphabetically by first name), as well as the 15 people/families who gave anonymously:

Aaron Lansky
Adina Danzig Epelman
Akiva Nelson
Aliyah Silverstein
Archie Gottesman
Arnee R. and Walter A. Winshall
Aviva Sussman
Benjamin Hary
Beth Rabin
Beth Weisman
Carrie Vogel
Dan Lainer-Vos
David and Roberta Benor
David Stolow
Dovi Seldowitz
Edmund C Case
Elyssa Elbaz
Erica Huls
Erica Rothblum
Hannah S Pressman
Irving Massey
Jacqui Jacobs
Janet Halbert
Jason Lustig
Judi Amsel
Larry Novey
Laura Levitt
Lionel (Ariel) David Moss
Lora and Jim Meyer
Lucinda H Lees
Mark David
Marvin Lange
Melissa Balaban
Michael Steuer
Miriam Benor
Naomi Walinsky-King and Gary King
Nina Litvak
Rabbi Adam R. Schaffer
Rabbi Hayim Herring
Rabbi Jan Katzew and Cantor Alane Katzew
Rabbi Michael Ragozin
Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr
Rachel Mann
Rachel Simkin
Regina M Wurst
Ruth and Alan Bunin
Sarah Goldfinger
Scott G Perlo
Shani Fisher
ShaSha Zipkin
Shoshana Kruskal
Stephen and Robin Einstein
Steve Bunin
Susan Lerner
Tali E and Benny Zelkowicz
Terri L Weiss
The Benor Family (NJ)
Yaakov Malomet and Gabi Wachs
Yechiel Hoffman

460 days ago by Sarah Benor

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David and Jennie Rosenn


Sarah Benor photo
generated 186 clicks and 8 gifts, totaling $468
Alicia Chandler photo
matched a total of $360
generated 5 clicks
Rebecca Einstein Schorr photo
generated 96 clicks and 1 gift, totaling $108
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generated 174 clicks and 1 gift, totaling $50

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