2019-20 Yiddish Book Center Fellows

Every fall, the Yiddish Book Center welcomes a select group of recent college graduates who spend the following year working as full-time staff members, gaining valuable professional experience in Yiddish language and Jewish cultural work through the Center's Fellowship Program. 

What attracts people to the Yiddish Book Center Fellowship Program? What do fellows do during their time at the Center? Read about the backgrounds of our current cohort of fellows and learn about the projects they're working on:  

Sophia Shoulson, the 2019-2020 Richard S. Herman Fellow, is returning to the Yiddish Book Center as a senior fellow for a second year of work in bibliography. Sophia graduated from Wesleyan University in 2018 and is an alumna of the Center’s 2017 Steiner Summer Yiddish Program. At Wesleyan, she double majored in German studies and Wesleyan’s interdisciplinary College of Letters, and she completed a senior thesis on the Yiddish folklore collected by Y .L. Cahan and Shmuel Lehman (with help from friends and resources at the Center). Sophia discovered Yiddish by roundabout way of a Jewish day school education followed by her German studies and a semester abroad in Hamburg. She didn’t begin to study Yiddish formally until the summer of 2017, but has been making up for lost time ever since.

Sasha Stern is a Berkeley, California native and graduate of Yale's religious studies department, where she researched the role of food as a cultural and religious mnemonic in Yiddish-speaking Jewish immigrant communities. She has worked at the circulation desks of the Yale library system, in a fifth-grade Hebrew School classroom, and on Vaybertaytsh's social media accounts. Sasha’s Yiddish studies have taken her from the Tsene-rene to Molodowsky, and she now spends her free time translating and recreating recipes from turn-of-the-century Yiddish cookbooks. Sasha is a baker, former deli-worker, stilt-walker, zmiros meyvn, and egalitarian minyan gabbai. 

Abigail Weaver is from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She is a graduate of Smith College with a double major in theatre and Jewish studies, with a particular focus in Yiddish poetry and theatre. She’s a costume designer, playwright, amateur translator, banjo player, and an alumna of the Yiddish Book Center’s Steiner Summer Yiddish Program. Her honors thesis is a play about the Paper Brigade.

Rebecca White, from Clifton Springs, New York, is a recent graduate of Smith College with a degree in Jewish studies and East Asian languages and cultures. A student of Japanese, she spent a semester abroad in Kyoto and went on to study Yiddish at the 2017 Steiner Summer Yiddish Program. She has been working part-time at the Yiddish Book Center as an archival assistant since 2018. Rebecca is particularly interested in Yiddish education, translation, and archival work, and is working on adapting her favorite play, I. L. Peretz’s Bay nakht afn altn mark (A Night in the Old Marketplace) into a graphic novel. Her hobbies include piano, visual art, and playing Dungeons & Dragons. 

“I would absolutely recommend the program to people who are committed to Jewish/Yiddish culture and who want to learn what it’s like to work for a cultural organization.”
Former Yiddish Book Center Fellow