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Residential Assistants (RAs) for the Great Jewish Books Summer Program

The Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA is seeking Residential Assistants (RAs) for the Great Jewish Books Summer Program, a five-day exploration of literature and culture for rising high school juniors and seniors.

The Great Jewish Books Summer Program uses compelling works of modern Jewish literature to help students develop a rich understanding of Jewish culture and history, and to spark discussions about contemporary issues of identity, family, cultural practice, and community. The program is lively, full of social opportunities, and intellectually exhilarating. Participants and RAs stay in a Hampshire College dorm and eat in the campus dining hall. Dates for Great Jewish Books are July 23–28, 2023. Visit for more information.

The RA’s role is to facilitate a comfortable, fun, and intellectually stimulating environment for participants; to respond to their questions and concerns; to make sure they are present and on time for scheduled activities; and to enforce all program rules and policies. RAs build their own skills as discussion leaders, group facilitators, and teen mentors.

RAs will be in residence and working from Thursday morning, July 20 (with the option to move in on July 19) through Friday evening, July 28. The days leading up to the program will be for staff orientation, planning, and preparation. All RAs will read the required texts for the program before arriving in Amherst. RAs will also do some preliminary planning with Yiddish Book Center staff (remotely) before arriving.

RAs will:

  • Live in dorm with students; be the first line of response for students’ questions and concerns
  • Lead small-group discussions on assigned readings
  • Facilitate informal reflection and discussion among students
  • Participate in and lead extracurricular activities for students
  • Chaperone students on local field trips
  • Eat meals with students
  • Attend students’ classes
  • Communicate with Yiddish Book Center staff if any concerns about students arise
  • Enforce program rules, quiet hours, and nighttime curfew
  • Abide by the same rules as students, including quiet hours, curfew, and no drinking/smoking policies
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the Program Manager

RA qualifications:

  • Minimum 21 years of age
  • College graduate or currently enrolled college student
  • Extensive experience and comfort working with teens
  • Knowledge of and passion for modern Jewish culture and literature
  • Outgoing and energetic personality
  • Comfort supporting students from various backgrounds, and with various learning styles and abilities
  • Team player, able to communicate well with supervisor and willing to pitch in however needed
  • Must have a cell phone and be reachable throughout the week of the program
  • Ability to lead participants in extracurricular activities (sports, arts, games, music, etc.)
  • Valid driver’s license and safe driving record (preferred)
  • Certification in first aid and CPR (preferred)

RA compensation: $1,800 plus room and board

Application Instructions:
All application materials should be sent to: Sylvia Peterson, Associate Director of Education Administration, at: [email protected]. To apply, send:

  1. Resume or CV;
  2. Cover letter addressing why you want to work in the Great Jewish Books Summer Program and describing your relevant interests and experiences;
  3. Two references that we may call (one academic instructor and one professional supervisor, preferably someone who has supervised your work with teenagers).

Summer Program Assistant

The Yiddish Book Center seeks an experienced program assistant to help with logistical and administrative aspects and the daily operations of our summer educational programs, including translation workshop, Great Jewish Books for Rabbis and Cantors, the Steiner Summer Yiddish program, Moishe House retreat, and Great Jewish Books for Teens. The job will be 20 hrs/week for the last two weeks in May, 30–35 hrs/week for eight weeks in June and July, and 20 hours/week for one week in August.

Program Assistant Position: The program assistant reports to the education program manager(s). Areas of responsibility include, but are not limited to:

  • Preparing orientation materials for incoming participants
  • Coordinating with Hampshire College about participant dining and housing
  • Responding to faculty and participant questions about housing, transportation, and food
  • Opening and closing the building and coordinating with facilities and visitors center staff
  • Preparing and printing course packs and other reading materials
  • Coordinating and participating in field trips and special events
  • Driving faculty and participants to events as needed
  • Conducting and collating the results of program evaluation
  • Overseeing extracurricular or social activities, including on evenings and weekends
  • Other tasks as assigned


  • May 21–June 2: 20 hours/ week, spread out over 3–4 days/week, between 9am–5pm
  • June 4–July 29: 30–35 hours/ week, with varying schedule, including some nights and weekends
  • July 30–August 5: 20 hours, spread out over 3–4 days, between 9am–5pm

Required Summer Program Assistant Qualifications:

  • Strong organizational and communication skills
  • Experience with program logistics and support
  • Detail-oriented
  • Responsible
  • Friendly
  • Valid driver's license
  • Safe driving record

Preferred Summer Program Assistant Qualifications:

  • Familiarity with the Five College area of Western Massachusetts
  • Interest in Jewish education and culture

Compensation: $16/hour. This is an hourly non-exempt position. For the successful candidate, housing in Hampshire College dormitories is available, if needed.

Application Instructions: Send cover letter, resume, and contact information for two references who can speak to your relevant work to: Gretchen Fiordalice, director of education administration, at [email protected].

Note: CORI and SORI checks (criminal and sexual offender background checks) will be required as a condition of employment.

The Yiddish Book Center is an equal opportunity employer.