Columbia University is one of the world's most important research universities. Its world-class departments in diverse fields like comparative literature, history, sociology, religion, and anthropology, as well as its strong commitment to interdisciplinary study, provides the opportunities to approach Yiddish studies in a truly comparative context. This assures Yiddish Studies a position at the forefront of critical and scholarly development. Additionally, Columbia's substantial collection of Yiddish-related books, periodicals, and microfilms makes it one of the leading places to do primary and secondary research in the field.

Columbia has one of the most vibrant undergraduate Yiddish programs in the world: the Yiddish major for undergraduates was reinstated in 2003, with two graduating seniors that year, and in the Fall 2003 semester, 79 students were enrolled in Yiddish classes, both in language instruction and in Yiddish literature in translation. During the school year and the summer, courses in Yiddish language are offered at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, where students are exposed to classroom instruction and interaction in the Yiddish language. In addition, classes in Yiddish literature in translation and Yiddish culture are regularly given in English. Student writings have appeared in their own journal, under the editorship of Miriam Hoffman.

The Deutsches Haus sponsors Yiddish concerts and lectures, as well as Kave-sho, an informal Yiddish conversation hour which gives members of the Columbia community the chance to shmues several times each semester.