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Summer Yiddish program for college kids seeks applicants 

AMHERST, Mass. — The Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass. is now accepting applications for its 2015 Steiner Summer Yiddish Program, an intensive seven-week program for college students.

Now in its fourth decade, the Steiner Summer Yiddish Program began as a practical internship in which participants received Yiddish instruction every morning in exchange for afternoons spent unpacking and sorting books in a warehouse. Today, it has evolved into an academic program in which students spend their days in Yiddish language and culture classes, as well as taking part in cultural and social activities at the Center.

The program offers a beginner track for students with no previous Yiddish experience and an intermediate track for those who have completed one year of Yiddish. All students accepted to the program receive full-tuition scholarships. Intermediate students also receive free housing and a $1,000 stipend, in exchange for working on ongoing projects at the Center. All participants are eligible to receive college credits through the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

“Learning Yiddish is very different today from what it was 10 or 20 years ago,” says Aaron Lansky, the Yiddish Book Center’s founder and president. “The language has become a jumping-off point for a broader exploration of Jewish history, literature, and culture.”

Many alumni of the Steiner program have gone on to further studies in Yiddish language and Jewish culture and to careers in academia, at cultural organizations, and in the arts, following paths inspired by their experiences in the program. Some examples: Jeremy Dauber, the Atran Professor of Yiddish Language, Literature, and Culture at Columbia University, whose books include the first major biography of the great Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem; Caraid O’Brien, an Irish-born actor, playwright, and director who has translated and adapted several Yiddish plays; and author Peter Manseau, whose novel Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter, based in part on his time in the Steiner program, won a National Jewish Book Award. In addition, a number of Steiner alumni have returned as fellows and staff members at the Yiddish Book Center.

The 2015 Steiner Summer Yiddish Program will run from June 7 to July 24. Applications are due by Feb. 10.

For more information, visit yiddishbookcenter.org/Steiner-summer-program.

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