Trained as an engineer, Rita Poretsky devoted most of her life to the study of Judaism and artistic expression. Her interest in Yiddish, like her interest in Hebrew, which she spoke fluently, came from a commitment to learning about Jewish languages, cultures, politics and folklore. Before she died tragically at a young age, she established the Rita Poretsky Foundation, dedicated to the promotion of Jewish culture, education, arts, and health in the United States and Israel.
To increase support for Yiddish language instruction, the Rita Poretsky Memorial Fund recently gave a $150,000 challenge grant to the Yiddish program of the University of Michigan’s Frankel Center for Judaic Studies. Gifts of any size will be matched dollar for dollar, until the goal is reached, or by January 31, 2019.
Yiddish is critical for undergraduates and graduate students who intend to pursue study of Jewish languages in their past forms, as well as for an understanding of how Yiddish is intertwined with Jewish culture. A gift to the Rita Poretsky Memorial Fund for Yiddish instruction will assure essential support for scholars and students at Michigan for many years to come.