Torah mantle. Sušice, Czechoslovakia (now in Czech Republic), early twentieth century. This mantle, donated to the synagogue by Dr. Heřman Barthů and his wife Kamil, represents an unusual example of Czech written in Hebrew characters. (Jewish Museum in Prague)

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To explore the principal languages of the Jews in Eastern Europe, this entry includes four articles. The first two treat Hebrew and Yiddish, respectively, from a linguistic perspective, including their historical development, dialects, and status. Planning and Standardization of Yiddish describes the attempts to elevate the status of Yiddish and to standardize its spelling, and the political context of these efforts. Finally, Multilingualism surveys this phenomenon among East European Jews, combining sociolinguistic data with an evaluation of its cultural consequences. For further discussion of Yiddish-language standardization, see Czernowitz Conference. For Hebrew and Yiddish as literary languages, see Hebrew Literature and Yiddish Literature.