About the Great Jewish Books Teacher Summer Seminar

Applications for the 2020 Teacher Seminar are currently closed. 

Seminar Dates: July 5-31, 2020

The Great Jewish Books Teacher Summer Seminar is a program for middle and high school teachers interested in enriching their curricula with materials that reflect the breadth and depth of modern Jewish literature. The four-week seminar takes place at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, home to exhibits on Jewish history and culture as well as to a vast collection of Yiddish books.

Great Jewish Books Teacher Summer Seminar

While in Amherst, participants survey modern Jewish literature from the Enlightenment to the present day, studying with leading scholars in the field. The survey includes writers from Israel, the United States, and throughout the Diaspora writing in Hebrew, Yiddish, Russian, English, and other languages. (All non-English texts are provided in English translation.) Along the way, participants read works of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction by writers such as Sholem Aleichem, Gertrude Stein, Paul Celan, Dvora Baron, Isaac Babel, Franz Kafka, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Adrienne Rich, and Cynthia Ozick.

In addition to studying and discussing texts, participants also attend the Yiddish Book Center's annual gathering of educators, during which they share teaching practices and learn from other experienced teachers. Over the course of the month in Amherst, each participant develops a curriculum unit for use in their own classroom.

After the seminar is over, participants stay connected with one another throughout the subsequent schoolyear, as they teach new material and continue to develop new approaches for incorporating modern Jewish literature into their classrooms.

Each teacher accepted to the program receives a stipend of $3,000, as well as room and board for the duration of the seminar. Participants cover the cost of their own transportation to and from the Yiddish Book Center.

Every single day, I felt challenged and excited by what we were discussing in our seminars and by the energy and intelligence of my cohort.
2019 Participant

Questions? See our Frequently Asked Questions, or contact Lesley Yalen, education program manager, at [email protected] or 413-256-4900, ext. 142.

The Great Jewish Books Teacher Summer Seminar is made possible with support from the Jim Joseph Foundation. The Foundation, established in 2006, is devoted to fostering compelling, effective Jewish learning experiences for youth and young adults in the U.S.