Videotape or record your family members – it's easy and extremely important.
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By following the three-step instructions below, you can contribute to the important project of preserving the Jewish languages. If you find steps 2 and 3 technically daunting – don't worry, we will do them for you (see details below, under "alternative method"). The important part is step 1 – making the recording!
Step 1 – documentation – making the video or audio recording
You can use the camera in your phone or any other electronic recording device. Don't worry about low video quality – that is not crucial for the purpose of this project. We also recommend taking a look at the "tips" below.
Step 2 – publishing – uploading the video/audio to YouTube
At this stage we ask you to upload your video to YouTube. Uploading is easy and requires no more than creating a free Google account.
Step 3 – preservation – uploading the YouTube video to this website
First, create an account on this website. Once you have an account and are logged in, go to the add a recording page and fill in the details as you know them. You can also add a dedication to your recording (commemorating or honoring relatives, friends or communities dear to you).
The rest is up to us – we will check the details you entered, contact you if any questions arise, and make the recording available on this website. The recording and the accompanying information will be displayed on a separate page with a unique address you can share with family and friends.
Alternative method: As mentioned, those who find steps 2 and 3 difficult may send the recording to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, along with the details listed in the make a recording page, and we will handle the rest of the process. Important: When sending in a recording, do not forget to provide your name and phone number so we can contact you with questions if needed.
Tips for making a good recording
- Choose a quiet place with a minimum of background noise (television set, electrical appliances, traffic, people talking, etc).
- Before starting, make sure the battery on your device is fully charged.
- Record only one or two speakers at a time.
- If you are using your phone, make sure to place it close to the speaker/s (not more than 2 meters away). This gives the best audio quality.
- People are different – some are naturally talkative and like to speak and share, whereas others are more reserved. You can help by suggesting topics for conversation and by asking questions (for ideas, see topics of conversation).
- We especially recommend explaining the purpose of the recording and its importance and necessity, and the significant contribution they are making both as individuals and as representatives of their family and community.
- Before starting the full recording, it is recommended to make a short trial recording to make sure everything is working properly.
The topics of conversation listed above are meant to enrich the recordings and optimize the documentation, but let us stress that they are merely suggestions. If you cannot address them all – don't worry. Your recording is still invaluable. Any documentation is helpful!
Why is it so important to document the Jewish languages?
The languages spoken by the Jewish communities were rich and varied; they are a treasure trove of unique forms and of ancient traditions and culture. These languages were handed down from generation to generation for centuries, and today it is our turn to pass them on – but we are no longer fluent in these languages. Sadly, the generation of our parents and grandparents is slowly passing away, and their treasures are vanishing with them. Some are no longer with us, but some are still here, and it is our duty to document and preserve their invaluable knowledge before it is irretrievably lost.
This is our opportunity to seize a historic moment that will never return! The action required is simple (but urgent) and any one of us can undertake it at home, in his or her free time. All that is required is to record and/or film our loved ones speaking in their native tongues. The required devices are readily available, and possible topics of conversation are many (see above). You can ask the questions in Hebrew (or some other language), as long as the speaker answers in the language of his community. Together we can record these unique languages before it's too late and the window of opportunity closes forever. Making a recording is a fascinating family project that has many advantages and benefits on the individual, family and inter-generational levels.
We must record these languages before it's too late!
If you require help at any stage of making the recording, we will be more than happy to assist – contact us.