Who can apply to the Great Jewish Books Summer Program?
Any high school student currently in tenth or eleventh grade is eligible to apply.
What are the dates of this year's program?
The 2021 Great Jewish Books Summer Program will run June 20-July 30. The online portion of the program is from June 20-July 23, and the residential component is July 25-30.
What does the program cost?
Every accepted participant receives a scholarship covering the full cost of tuition, room, board, books, and special events.
Where would I stay?*
Students live alongside residential staff in a Hampshire College dormitory, where they experience a taste of college life.
Are there off-campus activities?
Students take part in field trips and other recreational activities in the Amherst area, off the Hampshire College campus, with transportation provided by program staff.
“When I picked up my daughter from the airport, she promptly exclaimed, 'This was the best week of my life!'”
—Great Jewish Books parent
Who are the program staff?
Residential Assistants (RAs) lead online and in-person program activities, live in the dorms, and are present throughout the final week of the program. Our trained RAs are college graduates, including alumni of the Center’s educational programs. All are at least twenty-one years of age. Knowledgeable and passionate about Jewish literature, RAs lead students in daily small-group discussions on class readings. They also participate in and chaperone extracurricular activities such as hikes, sing-alongs, and field trips. The program manager, who supervises the RAs, is closely involved with student activities throughout the week and is always accessible to students who have questions or concerns. The program assistant helps plan program activities and is available to students or parents who have questions or concerns.
Where would I eat during the in-person portion of the program?
Most meals are eaten at the Hampshire College dining hall, though a few will be catered at the Yiddish Book Center. The college dining services offer a diverse selection of nutritious foods and beverages, including extensive vegetarian options. The dining hall staff work hard to accommodate allergies and special dietary needs. Let us know in advance about any dietary restrictions or preferences.
Is kosher food available?
While the Hampshire dining hall does not serve kosher food, we provide alternative kosher meals for students who request them in advance. Kosher and non-kosher students eat together in the dining hall, with disposable plates and utensils provided for kosher food.
How much of a time commitment will the program be?
Each week of the online portion will feature approximately 4-5 hours total of live material, interspersed with activities that students can do on their own time. Students will have weekly reading assignments, as well as writing assignments or other creative tasks that they will submit in response to the readings. Students will be notified in advance of the full schedule of online activities so they can plan accordingly. We hope this will allow students to participate in other summer activities alongside Great Jewish Books. The final week of the program, if held in-person, is a full-time commitment. You can view a tentative schedule here.
Do I have to participate in both the online and in-person portions of the program?
Students are expected to participate in both portions of the program to their fullest ability. Not all activities in the online portion will be mandatory, but students must at minimum attend the program orientation, all seminars with faculty, and weekly partner check-ins, and should complete all weekly reading and writing assignments.
When will we know if the program will run residentially?
We will make a final decision about the program format in early spring and will notify all accepted and waitlisted students upon their admission into the program.
Can I still apply if I am only interested in an online program and will not participate if the program is conducted in-person?
Yes. However, any applicants only interested in an online program must understand that the final week of the program will run in-person if possible.
*IMPORTANT PROGRAM INFORMATION REGARDING COVID-19:
We hope to conduct the last week of the 2021 Great Jewish Books Summer Program in-person at the Yiddish Book Center. However, due to the uncertain nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, a residential program may not be possible. If that is the case, the final week of the program will be held online. We will inform students of the final course format (part-online/part-residential or fully online) upon acceptance.