Program Activities

Program Dates & Attendance

The 2020 Steiner Summer Yiddish Program runs from May 31–July 17. All students must participate fully for seven weeks. Attendance at all classes and many extracurricular activities is required. While most Saturdays and Sundays are free, a mandatory field trip to New York City will take place one weekend in July.

Language Classes

All students enroll in either Intensive Yiddish 1 or Intensive Yiddish 2 and can earn four credits (equivalent to a full year’s work) through the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Language classes meet for three hours every morning, Monday to Friday. Homework assignments for language classes average two hours a night.

For Beginner Students: Introduction to Yiddish Culture Class

Beginner students take a two-hour Introduction to Yiddish Culture course every afternoon, Monday to Friday, and can earn up to two credits through University of Massachusetts Amherst. Taught by leading Jewish studies scholars, the course introduces students to Yiddish history, literature, song, and film over time and across regions.

For Intermediate Students: Internship Projects and Weekly Seminars

Intermediate students have the option to enroll in the Introduction to Yiddish Culture course or spend two hours each weekday working as interns on major Center projects, such as oral history or collections curation. Students who choose the internship option receive a $1,000 stipend.

Once a week, all intermediate students attend an hour-long seminar, conducted in Yiddish and taught by a visiting scholar in the field of Yiddish studies.


"This course will serve as the springboard for all of my future endeavors in Yiddish. I am grateful that this is my first look into this world."
2015 Steiner student

Other Activities

Outside of class, Steiner students take part in a full schedule of social events, including hikes, workshops, lunches, and potluck dinners, and attend Yidstock, the Center’s annual festival of new Yiddish music. Students also have the opportunity to explore their own individual interests through student-run programs and workshops.

While the program is not fully immersive, students are encouraged to speak Yiddish outside of class as much as possible, and many of the extracurricular activities are Yiddish-only events.

Sample Daily Schedule

9 a.m.–12 p.m. Language classes
12–1:30 p.m. Lunch and Yiddish conversation hour
1:30–3:30 p.m. Culture classes/projects
4–5 p.m. Oral history workshop
or 3:45–4:45 p.m. Intermediate seminar
7–9 p.m. Potluck dinner