Two Opportunities: Steiner Summer Yiddish Program and Yiddish Book Center Fellowship

Steiner Summer Program

AMHERST, MA: Since its founding in 1980 the Yiddish Book Center, a non-profit organization, has been offering an array of educational programs. The Center's renowned Steiner Summer Yiddish Program began as a summer internship and has grown to become one of the country's leading Yiddish language and culture programs. Each summer, eighteen college students are accepted into the seven-week program. Thanks to a fund endowed by David and Sylvia Steiner the program is tuition-free. Students - who come from colleges and universities in the US and abroad - attend morning classes in beginning or intermediate Yiddish and afternoon classes in Yiddish culture. Each student also completes a research or creative project. A highlight of the program is a field trip to New York City, where students and faculty visit contemporary and historic Yiddish cultural sites, museums, and Yiddish-speaking neighborhoods. Led by the Yiddish Book Center's academic director Josh Lambert and the Center's Yiddish Language Institute director Asya Vaisman Schulman, faculty this year include instructors from Smith College, Trinity College, University of Ottawa, New England Conservatory of Music, University of Colorado, and University of Cambridge.

The Steiner Summer Yiddish Program boasts notable alumni: professors at Ivy League schools who teach college-level Yiddish to a new generation of students; award-winning authors of fiction and nonfiction who write about Yiddish and modern Jewish culture; musicians, historians, cultural anthropologists, linguists, artists, and actors whose work is related to Yiddish culture. Some alumni have gone on to help found a Yiddish opera company and a Yiddish theater troupe, while others are now working at Jewish organizations around the country. Some are raising Yiddish-speaking children. All have taken away a new understanding of how Yiddish literature, language, and culture inform modern Jewish culture and identity.

Now in its fourth year, the Yiddish Book Center's Fellowship Program accepts recent college graduates for a one-year Fellowship. Fellows, who work as paid staff at the Center, spearhead new initiatives and work on existing programs. To date, their projects have included creation of the Center's Wexler Oral History Project; overseeing the remastering and digitization of more than 1,500 rare audio recordings of lectures by renowned Yiddish writers; development and support of on-site and online Yiddish courses; helping with the development of a tablet-based multimedia Yiddish textbook; the launch of a translation website; production of a weekly podcast series; publication; and more. The program has included Fellows from the US, Argentina, Canada, Norway, and Poland, as well as several alumni of the Center's own Steiner Summer Yiddish Program.

Applications for the Fellowship Program are due by January 4, 2013. Fellows must be recent college graduates with strong backgrounds in Jewish studies or related disciplines, a working knowledge of Yiddish, and demonstrated interest in Yiddish language and culture. The program begins in September 2013 and runs through August 2014. For more information and application instructions:

Applications for the Steiner Summer Yiddish Program are due February 10, 2013. The program, which is open to enrolled college students, will run from June 9-July 26, 2013. Six undergraduate college credits will be available through the University of Massachusetts. To learn more and to apply online:  

To hear from recent Steiner students watch the Steiner student documentary (a 4 minute film about their experience):

To listen to a podcast interview with current Fellows and Steiner alumni Allison Posner and Jessica Parker:

Lisa Newman December 3, 2012