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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the timeline for this course? Do I have to be online at a particular time? How long will it take?

This course launched on May 1, 2018. You can watch all the activities at your own pace, at any time.

Is this a MOOC? What is a MOOC?

“MOOC” is an acronym for “massive, open, online course.” It has unlimited participation and anyone can learn online at anytime. This course is a YIVO digital pilot project sponsored by the Shine Trust, Los Angeles, CA,  and powered by Open edX.

What are the technical requirements to access this course online?

Make sure you have a good internet connection and an up-to-date browser. This course was designed to be viewed best on a personal computer, and may be more difficult to view on a tablet or iPad. If you experience difficulties with the audio component of the videos, try listening to the videos with headphones plugged into your computer.

I can’t get the course videos to play. What do I do?

The course videos are hosted on YouTube. If you are experiencing video playback problems, the most likely culprit is your internet connection or computer. If you consistently experience problems accessing course content, you can contact YIVO for troubleshooting support. Please call 212.246.6080 or email

Can I zoom in on an image? What do I do?

You can zoom in on most images in the class. Images that may not have zooming capability are images in grids. Images that can be zoomed in on will have a "Fullscreen" icon when you scoll over them. To zoom in on an image, simply click on the image to begin. You will then be able to zoom in (or out) on the image. Once zoomed in, you can drag the image around. When you are ready to exit, press the "close" button in the top right hand corner.

Who is this course designed for? Do I need background knowledge in Jewish history?

This course is designed for an adult audience with a general interest in Jewish and European history and culture. It is approximate in scope with an upper-level college course.

Will you be running future courses like this one?


YIVO currently has two other online courses: Discovering Ashkenaz: Jewish Life in Eastern Europe, and Folksong, Demons, and the Evil Eye: Folklore of Ashkenaz.

Please make sure you are on YIVO’s email list and following YIVO on social media to receive up-to-date information on our future educational programs.

How can I support the development of more courses like this one?

Donations to YIVO are gratefully accepted, and will help us expand our future online educational programs. To make a donation to YIVO, visit

You are invited to become a member of YIVO. Members get special perks, including discounts on YIVO's classes, and print newsletters.