Jewish Language Project

$19,392
Donated
77% of $25,000 goal
84
Donors
This campaign ended on January 09, 2024, but you can still make a gift to Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion by clicking here!
About

Most longstanding Jewish languages are now endangered because of migrations, nationalistic language policies, and genocide. The only remaining speakers are elderly, and in the coming decades the languages will likely become extinct (or, we prefer to say, “dormant,” as there is always the possibility of future revitalization). Some languages, such as Bukharian, Judeo-Arabic, and Juhuri, are partially documented in books and periodicals. Others have few written records, including Judeo-Amazigh (Morocco), Judeo-Esfahani (Iran), and Hulaula (Jewish Neo-Aramaic from Sanandaj, Iran). If we do not engage the last speakers in this important work in the coming years, the languages - wellsprings of Jewish cultural creativity and history - will be lost to the dustbin of history.

Here's where the HUC-JIR Jewish Language Project comes in. Our mission is to promote research on, awareness about, and engagement surrounding the many languages spoken and written by Jews throughout history and around the world. We accomplish this by recording interviews and songs by native speakers, sharing unique content on social media, and producing high-quality online events that both teach about and celebrate Jewish languages. Our website, jewishlanguages.org, offers dictionaries, exhibits, and free educational resources—and over the last three years, over 2.8 million people have engaged with these materials. We also play a leadership role in our field by convening the Jewish Language Consortium, a group of ten partner organizations with the shared mission of Jewish language preservation and education.

Why have we created this fundraising campaign? While our institutional home is Hebrew Union College, our program functions independently. That means the Jewish Language Project is 100% reliant on donations and grants to support our operating budget and hard-working staff.

We invite you to be part of the movement to preserve Jews’ precious linguistic heritage and raise awareness about Jewish cultural diversity. Join us by making a tax-deductible contribution to our nonprofit organization. Your gift will help ensure that anyone, now and in the future, can access a whole world of Jewish languages.

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