A New York City Council member has proposed opening a dual-language Yiddish-English programme in a city public school.
Mark Levine, who represents parts of upper Manhattan and is the chair of the City Council’s Jewish Caucus, is working to open the programme in a kindergarten classroom in autumn 2020, according to the Forward.
The secular Yiddish-language programme would be the only one of its kind in the United States.
Levine told the Forward: “I’ve been inspired by young activists who are looking to keep this language alive, and keep its literature and theatre and culture alive by passing it on to the next generation”.
Because it would be a publicly-funded programme, the Yiddish teaching would be devoid of religious content. Questions have already been raised as to who would attend such classes, since spoken Yiddish is already the main language of strictly Orthodox Jews who would be unlikely to send their children to secular tuition.
There are dual language programmes in New York City public schools in more than 20 languages, including Urdu, Polish, Albanian, Russian, and Spanish.