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Aramaic as a Living Language

Hosted By: My Jewish Learning

From ancient times to the Renaissance period, Jews everywhere from Berlin to Baghdad used Aramaic to record texts and translate Hebrew into a language their congregants could understand. Related to Hebrew and Arabic, Aramaic was the common language of the Middle East until the 600s. It fell out of use, except in select Jewish and Christian communities that still use it today. But the language, which was used to transcribe the Kaddish prayer, the Talmud, and Passover songs like “Had Gadya,” Aramaic continues to have an important place in all Jewish communities.

How did a language spoken by an ancient people from today’s Syria become a crucial throughline connecting Jewish communities and histories? Join us in this fascinating, immersive 4-part class to find out.

Filmmaker, Jewish Language Project contributor and My Jewish Learning teacher Alan Niku returns with a new series that will explore the ancient origins and modern life of Aramaic. In each class, we will investigate the development, use and survival of Aramaic throughout millennia in a region surrounded by Persian, Arabic, Kurdish and Turkish influence. In addition to the rich history, you’ll learn some Aramaic phrases along the way.

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