Schäechter, Mordkhe 1927-2007 (Itsye Mordkhe Schäechter)

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Schäechter, Mordkhe 1927-2007 (Itsye Mordkhe Schäechter)


See index for CA sketch: Born December 1, 1927, in Cernauti, Romania (now Chernivtsi, Ukraine); died February 15, 2007, in New York, NY. Linguist, educator, and author. Schäechter was an authority on the Yiddish language who devoted his life to preserving this important tongue of the Ashkenazi Jews for future generations. Becoming interested in Yiddish as a young pupil, he studied linguistics at the University of Bucharest for two years, then received a doctorate from the University of Vienna in 1951. He had already been working for the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research for four years before leaving Europe for New York City in 1951. He served in U.S. Army Intelligence during the Korean War, then resumed work with YIVO at its New York City headquarters. In 1958, Schäechter founded the Committee for the Implementation of the Standardized Yiddish Orthography. Motivated to reestablish Yiddish as a living language, he wrote and taught in order to promote and standardize the tongue. During the early 1960s, he was a teacher at the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Jewish Teachers' Seminary in New York City, and from 1968 until 2004 he was also a teacher in the Weinreich Program in Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture. In addition, the energetic linguist was an instructor at Columbia University from 1962 to 1972, founded the Task Force for Yiddish Terminology in 1970, and was founding executive director of the League for Yiddish from 1979 until 2004. As a writer and editor, Schäechter published numerous useful texts on Yiddish, many of them written in that language. Among his works are Food: A Yiddish Terminology (1976), English-Yiddish Dictionary of Academic Terminology (1988), The History of Standardized Yiddish Spelling (1999), Yiddish II: An Intermediate and Advanced Textbook (2004), and Plant Names in Yiddish: A Handbook of Botanical Terminology (2005). He was also an associate editor for The Great Dictionary of the Yiddish Language and The Language and Culture Atlas of Ashkenazic Jewry. Schäechter received the 1994 Itzik Manger Prize from the League for Yiddish for his numerous contributions.



Los Angeles Times, February 19, 2007, p. B11.

New York Times, February 16, 2007, p. C11; February 26, 2007, p. A2.

Times (London, England), March 26, 2007, p. 56.

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Schäechter, Mordkhe 1927-2007 (Itsye Mordkhe Schäechter)

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