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Ot Azoy! 2013

Sunday 11th August 2013 - Friday 16th August 2013

Discover JMI’s famous full immersion courses in Yiddish Language, Song and Culture for people of all  ages, levels and backgrounds – where even complete beginners learn to speak, read, write,  sing and even dream in Yiddish in a week.

Ot Azoy Yiddish language classes are held at 4 levels, led by world renowned Yiddish Lecturer Helen Khayele Beer and her distinguished team of fellow Yiddishists, Sonia Pinkusowitz, Heather Valencia, Lily Kahn and Barry Davis. Shura Lipovsky, Director of The Golden Peacock, will also teach a daily session of Yiddish through song.

Here are a few reasons why this promises to be a week not to be missed this summer

  • This is the only opportunity in the UK to immerse yourself in the deep and inspiring world of Yiddish culture for a whole week through language, literature, song and film with interesting and like-minded people of all ages and from all backgrounds.
  • You will have the privilege of working with some of the UK and Europe’s top educators and performers. No matter what your level in Yiddish whether a beginner or a budding linguist, professional singer or amateur enthusiast, you will benefit from the width and breath of programmes on offer through the week, both day and night.
  • The language and song schools run parallel during the week. Sessions for the week include reading, writing and speaking Yiddish, song master classes, concerts, film and discussion of the Yiddish scene in London and beyond.
  • The programme is based at SOAS, the heart of Ethnomusicology and the study of world cultures in the UK, on the doorstep of King’s Cross in central London. What better chance to combine meeting an eclectic bunch of Yiddish enthusiasts with exploring one of Europe’s finest capital cities including a special guided walk through London’s historical Jewish East End?
  • Any questions? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the JMI team for extra information about the course, accommodation advice or financial support.

Full rate £235
Discount rate £220 (if paid in full by 1 May)
Student rate £135
Discount Student rate £120 (if paid in full by 1 May)



Helen Khayele Beer

Helen Khayele Beer, Ot Azoy! Course Director
Helen Khayele Beer is Course Director of Ot Azoy! London and She is the William Margulies Lecturer in Yiddish, Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University College London. She has taught Yiddish at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and is a veteran of Yiddish Intensive Summer Courses in Oxford, Brussels, Paris. She produces an annual Yiddish Purim Shpil with students at UCL and produced a full length Yiddish play in 2002.
Read more about Dr. Helen Beer



Shura Lipovsky
This is Shura’s eighth year as Director of the Golden Peacock, Yiddish Song School (formerly Tumbala!). Shura Lipovsky is one of the world’s most renowned singers of Yiddish/Jewish repertoire. A native of the Netherlands, she studied singing at the Rotterdam conservatory with Margreet Honig and Yiddish with Mira Rafalowicz and at New York University, Oxford Summer University and La Maison de la Culture Yiddish/Bibliothèque Medem in Paris.

Shura Lipovsky teaches master classes for singers, repertoire classes of Yiddish songs and workshops in Hassidic dance, songs and stories. Shura has taught and performed at KlezFests and Yiddish and Jewish Culture Festivals worldwide and has worked with a plethora of world-class musicians from Europe and the United States.

Heather Valencia
Formerly a lecturer in German, Heather is now an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Stirling. She began studying Yiddish in the mid 1980s and in 1991 completed a doctoral thesis on the poetry of Abraham Sutzkever. She has taught on Yiddish summer programmes across Europe. Alongside many publications, Heather edited a bilingual edition of the London Yiddish play The King of Lampedusa and has produced an anthology of Yiddish literature for students entitled Mit groys fargenign / With Great Pleasure.

Sonia Pinkusowitz
A much loved Ot Azoy! Teacher, Sonia hails from Belgium and is one of the most sought after and popular teachers of Yiddish in Europe. A mainstay of Ot Azoy! her teaching is enjoyed by young and old who find her methods extremely engaging and effective.

Lily Kahn
Lily has become a regular Ot Azoy! Faculty member, known for her clarity and her ability to make learning Yiddish a lot of fun. She teaches Yiddish at the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University College London.  She participated in the Yiddish Educator Seminar at Vilnius University in 2005 and has recently taught on the Medem Bibliotek’s intensive 3-week Yiddish summer course in Paris. In 2006 she co-produced the UCL Purimshpil with Khayele Beer.

Some scholarships are available for Ot Azoy! and The Golden Peacock, which provide funds towards the fees. To apply for a scholarship, please email JMI explaining your need for financial assistance and why you would like to do the course.

Sunday 11 August 10.30am Registration for beginners
Sunday 11 August 11-12.30pm Alef Beys class for beginners
Sunday 11 August 2.00-5.00pm Special afternoon programme for all students
Monday 12 August 9am Registration for all other participants
Classes: Monday-Friday 9.30am-6.30pm
Thursday 15 August 7.00-9.00pm: Faculty & student evening performance – family and friends welcome.

SOAS Vernon Square Campus, Penton Rise, London WC1X 9EW

Meals are not included – the SOAS cafeteria at the Vernon Square Campus supplies hot and cold snacks at very reasonable rates. You are also welcome to bring a packed lunch. There will be a communal area for course participants to eat together. A packed lunch is recommended on Sunday.

Accommodation is not included. There are lots of Hotels/Hostels in the area, if you would like a list of these then please get in touch.
Or try www.airbnb.com which offers cheap accommodation in private homes.


Online booking for Ot Azoy will commence shortly, however if you would like to register your interest for a place then Contact JMI .


Sunday 11th August 2013
Friday 16th August 2013


Vernon Square, Penton Rise, Kings Cross
London, WC1X 9EW United Kingdom
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020 7898 4307
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