A two-year Modern Hebrew language program and a two-year Yiddish language program provide the necessary language skills. The Hebrew language courses are augmented by a number of informal forums, such as Hebrew Circle and an Israeli film series, which are sponsored and organized in cooperation by the Hebrew instructors and a student. Seminars in Hebrew literature are offered in the original Hebrew as a direct follow-up to the language classes, and in translation to draw a wider audience of students. Faculty-supervised independent studies are also available for advanced language and literature studies. The Jerusalem program now allows students to complement the Hebrew language courses with an intensive immersion experience achieved through study in Israel.
The Yiddish program is complemented by literature courses in translation on Eastern European and American Jewish writing, ranging from Scholem Aleichem to Saul Bellow and Isaac Bashevis Singer. A number of students have gone on to participate in both the NYU and Vilnius summer programs in Yiddish and, in cooperation with the Hillel Foundation, a weekly Yiddish conversation group meets, drawing students, faculty, and Yiddish speakers from the community.