The Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, is now accepting applications for the Great Jewish Books Teacher Summer Seminar.
The Great Jewish Books Teacher Summer Seminar is a program for teachers at Jewish middle and high schools interested in enriching their curricula with materials that reflect the breadth and depth of modern Jewish literature. The four-week seminar takes place at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, home to exhibits on Jewish history and culture as well as to a vast collection of Yiddish books.
While in Amherst, participants survey modern Jewish literature from the Enlightenment to the present day, studying with leading scholars in the field. The survey begins with the Jewish writers who pioneered modern Hebrew and Yiddish fiction in the 19th century, and their peers who found voices in German, French, Russian, and other languages at a time of significant anti-Semitism. It follows Jewish writers throughout the Diaspora, as they brought literary culture with them to the United States and elsewhere, discovering new genres and modes of writing. It then delves into the middle of the 20th century, when the Holocaust and the creation of the State of Israel inspired profound self-examination among writers worldwide. And the survey concludes with an exploration of contemporary Jewish literature in the U.S., Israel, and parts of Europe. Along the way, we’ll read works of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction by writers such as Sholem Aleichem, Gertrude Stein, Dvora Baron, Isaac Babel, Franz Kafka, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Adrienne Rich, and Cynthia Ozick.
In addition to studying and discussing texts, each participant develops a set of teaching materials to be shared on our Teacher Resources website. And as part of the seminar, participants also attend a conference on Jewish literature pedagogy, in which they share and experiment with teaching practices and learn from other experienced teachers.
After the seminar is over, participants stay connected with one another throughout the subsequent schoolyear, as they continue to develop new approaches for incorporating modern Jewish literature into their classrooms.
Each teacher accepted to the program receives a stipend of $3,000, as well as room and board for the duration of the seminar. Participants cover the cost of their own transportation to and from the Yiddish Book Center.
The Great Jewish Books Teacher Summer Seminar is made possible with support from the Jim Joseph Foundation. The Foundation, established in 2006, is devoted to fostering compelling, effective Jewish learning experiences for youth and young adults in the U.S.
Teachers can apply here: