Yehadus Ashkenaz

Igros Moshe Orach Chaim 4:24
“Behold it is known that all the people of Poland, Hungary, and Russia…are children of Ashkenaz even Chasidim. And until Chasidus spread they all prayed with nusach Ashkenaz. However, the Chasidic leaders lead them to pray in a different nusach with various changes…They changed the customs of their ancestors and our great rabbis of Germany and France. The reason for the change is not clear nor how they permitted a change from the established nusach….If one desires to change back and pray in nusach Ashkenaz, since it is the nusach of our ancestors and rabbis, he is permitted as he is returning to what once was."

Primary Links

Machon Moreshes Ashkenaz (Institute for German Jewish Heritage)
Minhag Forum
Brief History of Minhag Ashkenaz
Madrich in English (Guide to Customs)
Collage of German Rabbanim
Nusach Audio
Tefiloh Sefas Yisroel
Video of R' Shlomo Benyamin Hamburger on the Development of Ashkenaz
Legacy of Rav Breuer
home - Yeshivas Frankfurt

Institute for German Jewish Heritage

The Institute for German Jewish Heritage has published a number of important volumes on German Minhagim. They would like to publish more but need some funding. If you would like to contribute, click here

Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz

Vol. 1 (5755), 481 pages

"Foremost in the effort of Machon Moreshes Ashkenaz during the last thirty years to research, archive, preserve and disseminate the over-one-thousand-year-old, magnificent heritage of Ashkenaz has been the publication of this monumental series, which researches the evolution of German-Jewish customs and traditions, their development, origins and views surrounding them, in a detailed and clear format.

These books have become an invaluable asset for anyone with an interest in Jewish customs in general and German-Jewish customs in particular. The series is intended to expand to tens of volumes, and currently includes a wide range of topics such as minhagim of tefillah and shul, Shabbos and Yom Tov, marriage customs, yoledes and bris milah, as well as a variety of other minhagim."


An Elzas Sargenes can be obtained at France, in the following address:
Manufacture de Ridaux
6 rue du Noyer
67000 Strasbourg
Fax: 03-88-45-07-51

Start Your Own Minyan

Minhag Ashkenaz is the set of customs and tefillah nusach that preceded what we call today nusach Ashkenaz. The latter really are customs that developed in Poland, Austria, Lithuania, or elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Minhag Ashkenaz is older and closer to the original customs of the nation. It also is elegant, positive, and noble. There's an entire institute the focuses on bringing back these customs, which still are practiced by Jews all over the world and by communities in New York City, Bnei Brak, Kiryat Sefer, Jerusalem, Beitar Illit, Monsey, Switzerland, London, New Jersey, and a few other places.

You can start your own "Yekke minyan", ie Minhag Ashkenaz minyan. Here are some recordings of a full service. With these and a few visits to a German minyan where you can learn a few points such as saying Lecha Dodi from the Bimah (since it's not part of the regular service) you'll be on your way.

Sites Not Connected to Orthodox Judaism:


Learn Yiddish and German

Neither Minhag Ashkenaz nor Torah Im Derech Eretz require knowledge of German. However, such knowledge is helpful for study of German Jewish history and for making sense of German instructions in German siddurim and necessary for reading R' Hirsch in the original German. Study of German or Yiddish can help a person to feel better connected with German Orthodoxy as both languages were spoken by Jews at different points in German Jewish history. I believe, but am not yet sure, that Yiddish was widely spoken in Germany before the 19th century.


"It is fairly clear that the Jewish populations that first began speaking what could be called Yiddish came from various locales, such as France, Germany, the Slavic lands, and the Mediterranean. The difficult question is which of these groups contributed most to the distinctive character of the language and culture. The traditional view, which is also probably still held by the majority of scholars who have studied the question, is that Yiddish was born of eastward migrations. In other words, Jews from France (and perhaps Italy) moved into Germanic-speaking territories and adopted some form of Middle High German (the ancestor language of both Yiddish and German). More recently, several linguists have suggested that the most important migrations were of Slavic-speaking Jews who moved westward. This debate hinges in part on theoretical issues about the nature of language-contact influences."

Book on Yiddish Grammar. Is somewhat formal with many terms of linguistics.

This book (Sheva Zucker's Yiddish textbooks and recordings) is geared for the public. The audio that comes with it is narrative by a woman and contains some kol isha.

Ship manifest of R' Joseph Breuer

Free of charge


"Does anyone else find the similarities in vocabulary between Old English and Modern German to be quite striking? 

Here are some examples I was able to find. A lot of these words didn't survive into Modern English while some others shifted in meaning slightly. 

Old English- Modern German- English

'Leod' 'Leute' 'People' 
'Frith' 'Friede' 'Peace' 
'Fregnan' 'Fragen' 'To question' 
'Haftling' 'Häftling' 'Prisoner' 
'Laex' 'Lachs' 'Salmon' 
'Geotan' 'Gießen' 'To pour' 
'Brucan' 'Brauchen' 'To use' 
'Faran' 'Fahren' 'To travel' (Still survives in English compounds) 
'Ream' 'Rahm' 'Cream' 
'Dreogan' 'Ertragen' 'To endure' (Survives in English Dialect 'Dree') 
'Lof' 'Lob' 'Praise' 
'Here' 'Heer' 'Army' 
'Gesetnes' 'Gesetz' 'Law' 
'Gewinn' 'Gewinn' 'Profit' 
'Lendenu' 'Lende' 'Loin' 
'Dael' 'Teil' 'Part' (Source of Modern English 'Deal') 
'Earm' 'Arm' 'Poor' 
'Elpendban' 'Elfenbein' 'Ivory' 
'Stund' 'Stunde' 'Hour' 
'Gefangen' 'Fangen' 'To catch' 
'Smaec' 'Schmecken' 'To taste' (Source of Modern English 'Smack') 
'Lyft,luft' 'Luft' 'Air' (Source of Modern English 'Lift' and 'Loft') 
'Hydan' 'Haut' 'Skin' (Source of Modern English 'Hide') 
'Niman' 'Nehmen' 'To take' 
'Heofon' 'Himmel' 'Sky' (Source of Modern English 'Heaven') 
'Gebyrd' 'Geburt' 'Birth' 
'Sniþan' 'Schneiden' 'To cut' 
'Weorpan' 'Werfen' 'To cast' (Source of Modern English 'Warp') 
'Fremd' 'Fremd' 'Foreign' 
'Haerfest' 'Herbst' 'Autumn' (Source of Modern English 'Harvest')"

How the Germanic Tribes Beat the Romans Full Documentary

Some useful Yiddish expressions for giving family a taste of it. Done with google translate so I'm not sure these are colloquially correct.

please eat your dinner
ביטע עסן אייער מיטאָג

what time is it
וואס איז דער צייט

where is the blanket
ווו איז דער קאָלדרע

are you hungry
ביסטו הונגעריק


  1. וויפיל איז דער זייגער
    is how one says "What time is it?" in Yiddish.

    1. sorry, just saw this, i'm not sure but the translator has it as וואס איז דער צייט