A century ago, the University of Wisconsin-Madison became the first university in America to offer Yiddish language instruction when Professor Louis Bernard Wolfenson inaugurated Yiddish instruction on campus. Today, you can find Yiddish students, professors, and members of the campus community who share an interest in Yiddish—a Germanic language that Jews around the world have spoken continuously since the Middle Ages. Yiddish speakers also played a central role in the development of American popular culture, especially music, theater, and film. Today, there are nearly 1,000,000 Yiddish speakers spread out across the globe—from America to Europe to the Middle East. Yiddish is a critical language for learning about the Holocaust, Jewish history, American popular culture, German linguistics, and eastern European culture.