If Stephen Colbert is shepping naches…


…then what does that say about the place of Yiddish in American society? Is there something bigger going on? Über-researcher of contemporary Jewish life, Professor Steve Cohen and Proferssor Sarah Bunin Benor want to know how you use Yiddish and Hebrew words in everyday speech, along with habits of language that you may have picked up either from your bubbe, zaideh or Barry Levinson’s Avalon.

You are invited to participate in an interesting and entertaining survey about language. Essentially, we’re asking about the spread of Yiddish (and some Hebrew) among English speakers in North America. We’re turning to both Jews and non-Jews to answer questions like these: Who uses Yiddish words like “shmooze” and “daven” and phrases like “Money, shmoney”? Why do some people say “temple” while others say “shul”? Who prefers biblical names for their babies? Your responses will help us answer these and other questions, and you might learn something about yourself in the process. Please set aside 15-20 minutes, and click on this link to participate.

Click here to participate.

Please forward this e-mail to your friends and family. We are hoping to get thousands of responses from people of all religions, ages, and regions of the United States and Canada. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail Prof. Sarah Bunin Benor <sbenor@huc.edu> or Prof. Steven M. Cohen <Steve34nyc@aol.com>.

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