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Great Jewish Books summer programs applications due March 9

AMHERST, Massachusetts – The Yiddish Book Center is accepting applications for the Great Jewish Books Summer Program and Great Jewish Books Teacher Summer Seminar. 

Now in its ninth year, the Great Jewish Books Summer Program brings together rising high school juniors and seniors from across the country to read, discuss, argue about, and fall in love with modern Jewish literature. The Great Jewish Books Teacher Summer Seminar offers educators the opportunity to study and discover new approaches for teaching modern Jewish literature. 

As part of the five-day Great Jewish Books Summer Program, teens read selections from important works of modern Jewish literature and consider how the rich legacy of this literature can speak to the opportunities and challenges we face today. Participants read and discuss important works of modern literature by writers such as Franz Kafka, Sholem Aleichem, Grace Paley and Philip Roth. The program is taught by college faculty, as well as prominent visiting writers – including, in past years, novelists Allegra Goodman and Elisa Albert, and poet Adam Kirsch. 

While the program’s focus is on reading, Great Jewish Books is a lively program full of social, cultural, and recreational opportunities–and no grades–for students who read for the love of reading and who are eager to discover the treasures of the Jewish canon. Every admitted participant receives a scholarship for the full cost of tuition, room, board, books, and special events. 

The Great Jewish Books Teacher Summer Seminar is a four-week professional development opportunity for middle and high school teachers who want to bring more modern Jewish literature and culture into their classrooms. During the seminar, teachers survey Jewish literature from the Enlightenment to the present day, attend diverse cultural events, and discuss pedagogy with a cohort of like-minded educators. In addition to studying and discussing texts, participants develop new curricular materials that they can use when they return to their classrooms. Participants also attend the Center’s annual two-day educator gathering, which this year will focus on the opportunities and challenges of teaching Jewish music and poetry. 

Each teacher accepted to the program receives a stipend of $3,000, as well as room and board. Participants cover the cost of their own transportation to and from the Yiddish Book Center. The Teacher Seminar is a grant-funded program in its third and final year, so interested teachers are encouraged to apply now. 

Applications for both programs are due March 9. To learn more about these programs and to apply, visit yiddishbookcenter.org.

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