From Massachusetts to California, 29 Public Libraries Selected for the Yiddish Book Center’s Reading Program for Public Libraries
AMHERST, MA (November 15, 2022)—The Yiddish Book Center (the Center) is launching the second year of its Reading Groups for Public Libraries program. Twenty-nine libraries have been selected to participate in the initiative which uses translated Yiddish works to engage local communities in discussions on social issues such as immigration, displacement, and economic and political upheaval. This year’s theme, “Stories of Exile,” utilizes narratives which grapple with questions of identity and belonging. The Center received fifty-eight applications from libraries across the country including Alabama, California, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
“The ideas and stories introduced this year are timeless and relevant to our current moment,” says Susan Bronson, executive director of the Yiddish Book Center. “Throughout history, communities have grappled with challenges of displacement and exile. Today, war, economic uncertainty, and climate change create new disruptions for people across the globe. By reading together, we hope to foster conversations about the meaning of home, identity, and belonging. Many works of Yiddish literature are born of exile. We hope to introduce new readers to these literary treasures.”
How it works:
Participating libraries organize reading groups for adults and/or teens to discuss three works of Yiddish literature in translation, selected by the Yiddish Book Center. Copies of the selected translations as well as discussion and resource guides are provided. Libraries also select a fourth book, not designated by the Center, that relates specifically to their community.
Representatives from the libraries will attend a workshop at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, to orient them to the Yiddish literature selections. Books, travel, lodging, and meal costs are covered by the Yiddish Book Center.
“Stories of Exile” Yiddish Titles:
1. In the Land of the Postscript: Short Stories by Chava Rosenfarb, translated by Goldie Morgentaler
2. On the Landing: Stories by Yenta Mash, translated by Ellen Cassedy
3. The Glatstein Chronicles by Jacob Glatstein, edited by Ruth Wisse, translated by Maier Deshell and Norbert Guterman
To learn more about the Yiddish Book Center’s “Stories of Exile” Reading Groups for Public Libraries and to view the full list of participating libraries, visit: yiddishbookcenter.org/publiclibrary-reading-groups.
About the Yiddish Book Center
The Yiddish Book Center is a nonprofit organization working to recover, celebrate, and regenerate Yiddish and modern Jewish literature and culture. The million books recovered by the Yiddish Book Center represent Jews’ first sustained literary and cultural encounter with the modern world. They are a window on the past thousand years of Jewish history, a precursor of modern Jewish writing in English, Hebrew, and other languages, and a springboard for new creativity.
Since its founding in 1980, the Center has launched a wide range of bibliographic, educational, and cultural programs to share these treasures with the wider world.
In 2014, the Yiddish Book Center was awarded a National Medal for Museums and Libraries, the nation's highest medal conferred on a museum or library, at a White House ceremony. I
In 2019, the Yiddish Book Center launched its White Goat Press publishing imprint to bring newly translated works of Yiddish to the widest readership possible. Learn more at yiddishbookcenter.org.