Mordechai Schaechter, known by his own wish as Mordkhe, spent a passionate lifetime seeking to resuscitate the Yiddish language of Central European Jewry into a daily means of communication….
When Schaechter began his relentless crusade, the market for Yiddish had shrunk to academia. And there he played a key role in cementing a language that had for centuries been dismissed as no more than a folk dialect, into a subject worthy of academic status on the same level as any other language, be it English, Russian, Arabic or Chinese.
For 12 years until his retirement at the age of 66, he was senior lecturer in Yiddish studies at Columbia University. He taught the language into his seventies at Yeshiva University in New York, at the prestigious Jewish Theological Seminary in that city and at a joint programme run by Columbia and the Yivo Institute for Jewish research in New York; and his academic writings remain on the compulsory reading list of every university Yiddish course…
Apart from Yiddish, Schaechter was fluent in English and German, and had a working knowledge of Russian, Ukrainian, Polish and Hebrew.
Alevasholem. (Thanks for the link, Paul.)
The New York Times also ran an obit, with a sadly typical error involving language for which they had to append a correction: “An obituary on Feb. 16 about Mordkhe Schaechter, a leading Yiddish linguist, misidentified the language in which his doctoral dissertation was written. It was German — not Yiddish, which was the subject of the dissertation.”