Program Activities

The 2021 program will begin with five weeks of virtual classes and activities (June 20-July 23) and end with a week in-person at the Yiddish Book Center (July 25-30).* The online portion will feature a limited number of synchronous activities each week, along with some asynchronous activities and reading/writing assignments. These activities will be spaced out to allow time for other summer commitments.  Using Zoom and Discord, students will have the opportunity to delve into texts together, interact with faculty, and get to know one another online before meeting in-person at the Center. Once in-person, students will enjoy full days of classes and activities together.

Sample Program Activities

Activities can vary from year to year. Here are some examples of typical in-person and online activities at Great Jewish Books:

  • Seminars with faculty
  • Small discussion groups
  • Study partner meetups
  • Game nights
  • Author nights
  • Movie screenings
  • Crafting
  • Pickling
  • Hiking
  • Trivia
  • Yiddish 101 lesson
  • Yiddish song workshop

You can download a tentative program schedule below. 

Sample Reading List

The Great Jewish Books reading list can also vary from year to year. Here are some of the works students have read in the past:

  • Sholem Aleichem, “On Account of a Hat"
  • Yehuda Amichai, “And the Migration of My Parents”
  • S. An-sky, The Dybbuk
  • Isaac Babel, “The Story of My Dovecote”
  • David Bezmozgis, “Roman Berman, Massage Therapist”
  • Rachel Galvin, Pulleys & Locomotion
  • Sayed Kashua, “Cinderella”
  • Etgar Keret, “Shoes”
  • Irena Klepfisz, selected poems
  • Kadia Molodowsky, “God of Mercy”
  • Amos Oz, “The Hill of Evil Counsel”
  • Grace Paley, “The Loudest Voice”
  • Dahlia Ravikovitch, selected poems
  • Adrienne Rich, “Split at the Root”
  • Joann Sfar, The Rabbi’s Cat, Volume 1: “The Bar Mitzvah”
  • Isaac Bashevis Singer, “Gimpel the Fool”
  • Anna Deveare Smith, Fires in the Mirror
  • Ayelet Tsabari, “Say It Again, Say Something Else”

*IMPORTANT PROGRAM INFORMATION REGARDING COVID-19:
We hope to conduct the final 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. In the meantime, please see our FAQ for more information regarding Great Jewish Books’ possible remote learning adaptation. 

I always felt happily challenged but never overwhelmed … it was definitely one of the highlights of my summer.
2020 Great Jewish Books student