Yiddish - a language once spoken by more than 10 million Jews - had a profound effect on American culture in the first half of the 20th Century.
It originated in central and eastern Europe - and spread to the United States when thousand of immigrants arrived in New York.
Zalmen Mlotek is the Artistic Director of the city's last surviving professional Yiddish theatre - the Folksbiene.
With the help of his piano, he has been telling Radio 3's Dennis Marks how the language influenced jazz music - and the likes of George and Ira Gershwin.
Not all images have captions.
Yiddish: A Struggle for Survival will be broadcast on Radio 3 at 2140 on Sunday 30 November.
It will be available for seven days on the BBC iPlayer.
Slideshow by Paul Kerley. Production date 27 November 2008.
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