Program Activities

The Great Jewish Books Teacher Summer Seminar is a four-week exploration of the vast, multilingual body of modern Jewish literature. Participants read and discuss a wide variety of authors from I. L. Peretz to Orly Castel-Bloom, crossing centuries and continents. Each participant also researches and develops their own teacher resource kit about a specific modern Jewish text.

Films, concerts, and field trips are part of the seminar schedule, as is time for reading and for exploring the many cultural and recreational amenities of Western Massachusetts in the summertime.

After the seminar is over, participants stay connected and continue to build a learning community throughout the following academic year via online discussion and video conference check-ins. This provides support as teachers take what they learned at the seminar and develop new syllabi, pilot new courses, and integrate new materials into their existing courses. 

Teacher Seminar: Sample Daily Schedule

9:00 a.m.: Seminar 1—Yiddish writers in immigrant New York, 1881-1924

10:30 a.m.: Seminar 2—Jewish literature and the Russian Revolution

12:00 p.m.: Lunch

1:30 p.m.: Time to work on resource kits

3:00 p.m.: Trip to Smith College’s Rare Book Room

5:15 p.m.: Dinner

6:30 p.m.: Film—Joel and Ethan Coen, dirs., A Serious Man (2009)