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National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst accepting interns for summer 2009

Date: 1/5/2009

AMHERST The National Yiddish Book Center is now accepting applications for its renowned Steiner Summer Yiddish Program. The Book Center will select 18 students for six weeks of immersion in Yiddish language, history and culture, June 14 to July 24, 2009. No prior knowledge of Yiddish is required.

Interns receive free tuition and credits (through the University of Massachusetts) for two undergraduate courses, and access to all Book Center activities and resources, including public programs, exhibits and the Book Center's collection of one million Yiddish books. In addition to intensive language and literature courses, each student engages in a scholarly, creative or experiential learning project related to Eastern European or American Jewish culture. The curriculum includes a three-day field trip to Yiddish sites in New York City and several special events. Detailed information and an application form are available online at Deadline to apply is Feb. 2.

Faculty teaching in this summer's program reflect the wide range of contemporary Yiddish scholarship and the variety of disciplines and subject areas related to Yiddish studies. Among them are returning faculty members Samuel Kassow, Charles H. Northam Professor of History at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., and a lead consultant to the new Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw; Hankus Netsky, founder and director of the internationally renowned Yiddish music ensemble Klezmer Conservatory Band and research director of the Klezmer Conservatory Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to research in and perpetuation of Yiddish music; Naomi Seidman, associate professor of Jewish culture and director of the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, and a scholar of Yiddish and Hebrew literature; David Shneer, associate professor of history and director of the Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and an expert on Jewish life during the Soviet era; and Yuri Vedenyapin, Yiddish language and culture instructor at Harvard University and the Summer Yiddish Program's Academic Director, whose special interests include old and modern Yiddish literature, East European Jewish folklore and the history of Yiddish dialects and literary standards.

New to the program are Hanan Bordin, senior lecturer in Yiddish Language at Hebrew University in Jerusalem; Nahma Sandrow, author of "Vagabond Stars: A World History of Yiddish Theater" and "'God, Man, and Devil': Yiddish Plays in Translation"; and other noted scholars.

This summer will see the opening of the Book Center's Kaplen Family Building, a new educational wing housing classrooms, a student commons, a kosher kitchen, a recording studio and other educational resources. Beginning in fall 2009, the Kaplen Building will be the venue for innovative year-round educational programs in Jewish culture for adults as well as students.

Summer interns will have the opportunity to apply for the center's Jewish Cultural Fellows program. Up to three interns will be selected to serve as Yiddish "ambassadors" on their home campuses, bringing first-rate Yiddish programming back to their own colleges or universities. The National Yiddish Book Center will provide a stipend to support each fellow as well as mentorship in programming, event planning and publicity.

The National Yiddish Book Center is a national non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing and distributing Yiddish and other Jewish books and opening their contents to the world. Its headquarters in Amherst houses exhibitions about Jewish literature, art, film and music and other resources for visitors. For more information about the National Yiddish Book Center, visit