Program Activities

In the first five weeks of the program (June 20-July 23), students attend a series of virtual seminars and social activities, paired with asynchronous reading and creative assignments. These activities are spaced out throughout each week to allow time for other summer commitments. Up to 2 hours of synchronous content are offered each day, Monday through Friday. (No activities are held during Shabbos.)

The final week (July 26-30) offers a more intensive virtual deep-dive into modern Jewish literature, with daily classes and readings, talks with contemporary writers, and an array of recreational activities held online. Students spend between 4-5 hours per day of the final week in synchronous activities, plus reading time. 

Using Zoom and Discord, students have the opportunity to delve into texts together, engage with faculty and staff, and get to know one another online in both small- and larger-group settings. Download a tentative program schedule below.   

Sample Program Activities

Activities offered at Great Jewish Books may vary from year to year. Here are some examples of activities from last year's online program: 

“The social connections [my daughter] had with this program, even though they were through the computer, really saved the summer for her… I was so happy to have her enjoying learning about Jewish history and culture.”
—2020 Great Jewish Books parent

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


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 Dovecot”
  • 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”