Ethel Cooper Yiddish Studies (722200302240)



Ethel Cooper Yiddish Studies Award of Excellence


In celebration of her 60th birthday, friends and family are delighted to contribute to the creation of this important award in honour of Ethel Cooper’s lifelong commitment to Yiddish. Ethel has passionately dedicated her life’s work to energizing a love for the Yiddish language and ensuring its preservation. As the daughter of Holocaust survivors and born into a Yiddish speaking home, Ethel has a deep understanding and respect for the roots of the language, its history, its culture and its legacy. As a Yiddishist Ethel began her career working for the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research which is dedicated to the history and culture of Ashkenazi Jewry and to its influence in the Americas. Armed with a teaching degree, Ethel took to teaching in the 1990’s as a way to spread her excitement for the Yiddish language. Dedicated to educating young people about Yiddish heritage, Ethel taught Yiddish at Bialik Hebrew Day School in Toronto and more recently at the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto. She instilled in her students a love for the unique language, inspired a curiosity for Yiddish’s particular character and a feeling of responsibility for its protection. She enthusiastically brought Yiddish to life in the classroom through poetry, song, literature and by giving her students the ability to speak the language of Ashkenaz Jewry.

As chairperson for the committee for Yiddish of Greater Toronto, Ethel worked to promote a vision of Yiddish as integral to the Jewish community at large, in Toronto and beyond. She loyally promoted Yiddish language and culture – indeed the entire Ashkenaz tradition – as a vibrant part of contemporary Jewish life and as a fundamental link between the Jewish past and future. To this day Ethel avidly contributes her time outside of teaching to enjoying its culture and involving the community in all things Yiddish. Ethel participates and organizes a Leyen Krayz, a Yiddish book club and is helping to institute a permanent home for Yiddish at an academic level at York University. Ethel adamantly haks at anyone in Yiddish whether they are listening or not and is known in Toronto as the “go to” person for Yiddish translation and editing.

Ethel has instilled a similar love and admiration for Yiddish in her children entrusting the language’s legacy and safety in their hands and hearts. Friends and family have contributed to this award in honour of Ethel’s continuing commitment to all things Yiddish. Inspired by her dedication, creativity and devotion to the preservation of the Yiddish language, contributors to the Ethel Cooper Yiddish Studies Award of Excellence hope that the recipient will be inspired by the language in the way that Ethel has been. It is the group’s hope that the student who achieves this award will work to preserve Yiddish and to spread its distinctive characteristics, history, heritage and idiosyncrasies. Contributors to this award as well as Ethel Cooper thank the recipient for exploring the Yiddish language, for studying and becoming a part of its unique history and for helping to keep a beautiful language alive and breathing.


To recognize students who demonstrate a commitment to the study of Yiddish language and culture by providing an award to the student who obtained the highest mark in a Yiddish language and culture course at the University of Ottawa.


Eligibility Criteria

The candidate must:

1. have obtained the highest mark in the Introduction to Yiddish Language and Culture course (YDD1901); and

2. be in good academic standing.

Value of the award: $250

Number of awards: One

Frequency of the award: Annual

Level or program of study: Undergraduate


No application is required, the award is allocated automatically.