As we approach our fortieth anniversary, we're undertaking a $50 million campaign to safeguard our collections, make Yiddish literature accessible both in the original and in English translation, advance Jewish learning, and build an endowment commensurate with our vision.
Since 1980, when the Yiddish Book Center set out to save the world's Yiddish books, our supporters have helped us recover more than a million volumes, strengthen Yiddish holdings at the world's great libraries, and make Yiddish titles available online. Our books have been downloaded 1.6 million times, and according to the New York Times, Yiddish is now "proportionately, the most accessible literature on earth."
But our work has only just begun. Nowadays we're not only rescuing books, we're also reclaiming the language and history they represent—the cultural side of our identity, the story of who we are as a people.
That's why we've launched Yerushe: The Yiddish Book Center's 40th Anniversary Campaign, a $50 million campaign to safeguard our collections, improve access to Yiddish literature (both in Yiddish and in translation), advance our innovative educational programs, and build an endowment commensurate with our vision.
The moment could not be more auspicious. Members of a generation that celebrates diversity, young Jews are no longer content to define Jewishness in mainstream terms, as a religion alone, divorced from culture. To the contrary, they want to understand more fully who they are and where they come from.
The Yiddish Book Center is here for them. We're pioneering new technology to increase accessibility to Yiddish books and other cultural treasures. We're translating the best of Yiddish literature into English. We're recording oral histories, preserving stories that together offer a colorful and complex chronicle of Jewish life. And we're offering groundbreaking educational programs for all ages, from high school students to adult learners.
There are many ways that you can establish your yerushe—your legacy—at the Yiddish Book Center. Our knowledgeable, friendly staff members are happy to speak with you by phone or in person. To discuss gift possibilities, please contact Zvi Jankelowitz, our director of institutional advancement, at 413-256-4900, ext. 117, or by email at [email protected].