Yiddish in ale lender! Yiddish Summer Programs Roundup

Sarah Ellen Zarrow


Sum­mer pro­grams in Yid­dish lan­guage and lit­er­a­ture have been pop­ping up all over the world, from farms in upstate New York to the beach­es of Tel Aviv. Are you inter­est­ed in study­ing Yid­dish this sum­mer but don’t know where to start? We’ve cre­at­ed a handy guide to help you deter­mine which pro­gram is right for you. 

“Who were these writers writing for? What is the political significance of their work? Their language? How might they have been influenced by current social trends? . . . Helix not only brought many of these issues to the fore for me, it made them tangible.”

Dates: First 10- day residential session August 2016 and one month of international travel in July 2017

Application Deadline: March 15, 2016

Cost: Determined by need

Housing: Included

Levels: All levels

Cultural Component: The Helix Project is less a language program than a cultural immersion; participants learn about the history, literature, and folklore of Jews in Eastern Europe in situ


Discover the pre- and postwar history of Yiddish culture in Poland and get to know contemporary Jewish life in Poland.

Dates: June 27-July 15

Application Deadline: TBA, last year was May 15; April 30 for scholarships

Cost: TBA, last year was 680 euro for 3-week program (reduced for students and for 2-week program, reduced if combined with Paris program)

Housing: Not included, dorm accommodations possible

Levels: Four levels, beginning-advanced (lower two levels: beginner and complete beginner)

Cultural Component: Lectures, film evenings, and some workshops


Where researchers and practitioners from Eastern Europe engage in shaping a more participatory historical culture and heritage practices, challenging top-down modes in practicing both history and heritage.

Dates: July 11-August 5

Application Deadline: April 8

Cost: Free

Housing: Included

Levels: Introductory

Cultural Component: Tours to local sites of Jewish heritage and city walks. The program is intended for young researchers and cultural workers and incorporates history lectures and projects on the multicultural artistic and literary heritage of Lviv/Lwów/Lemberg with a focus on Jewish milieus.


“Too often people just hear or learn about the Holocaust without realising that Jews had lived in Poland for centuries and just how strong and lively the culture really was.”

Dates: June 23-July 3

Application Deadline: February 29

Cost: 1,000 dollars, 600 dollars students

Housing: Included

Levels: Beginning

Cultural Component: Study tour, literature classes, workshops, lectures. The summer school is part of a larger program on Jewish heritage in the Lublin region


Enjoy museums, cafes, Bauhaus architecture, the beach and the promenade, the old harbor, summer festivals, and clubs in this Mediterranean city “that never sleeps.”

Dates: June 26-July 21

Application Deadline: May 1; March 1 for scholarships

Cost: 1450 dollars (scholarship aid available)

Housing: 800 dollars for double occupancy (optional)

Levels: Five levels, beginning to advanced

Cultural Component: Lectures, workshops, and conversation classes in the afternoons


Immerse yourself in Yiddish with some of the UK and Europe’s top educators and performers.

Dates: August 7-August 12

Application Deadline: Rolling (15 GBP discount if paid by May 1)

Cost: 250 GBP/150 students and seniors (65+)

Housing: not included

Levels: Five levels, beginning to advanced

Cultural Component: Music, theater, poetry, and lectures. A Song School runs parallel


Inspired by its unique location in Vilna, the once fabled “Jerusalem of Lithuania,” the Institute cherishes the hope of nurturing new cultural contributions in Yiddish.

Dates: July 17-August 12

Application Deadline: rolling; May 1 for scholarships

Cost: 1310 euros (limited scholarship aid available)

Housing: Not included

Levels: Four levels, beginning to advanced

Cultural Component: film screenings, tours, and concerts


“It was an unforgettable experience, the courses were of a very high level, very interesting and enlightening.”

Dates: July 18-29

Application Deadline: rolling

Cost: 480 euros/350 for students (possibility of grant for East European students)

Housing: Not included, dorm accommodation available

Levels: Four levels, beginning-advanced (upper two levels conducted in Yiddish)

Cultural Component: Singing/dance/music workshops, films and lectures in the evening


“I can’t wait to keep learning Yiddish and maybe, hopefully, one day either teach or translate Yiddish and be an active member of the community. I feel as though I’ve found something that I can truly engage with for the rest of my life.”

Dates: June 5-July 22

Application Deadline: February 8

Cost: 1,400 dollars (financial aid available, and intermediate students may do an internship and have this waived, as well as receive a stipend) (includes college credit)

Housing: Included

Levels: Introductory and intermediate

Cultural Component: Daily culture course, singing, films, dance, lectures, and a field trip to New York City and Yidstock, the Yiddish Book Center’s annual Yiddish cultural festival

Other: Open to ages 18-28, college and graduate students


“When I first came to YIVO, I could barely write a sentence in Yiddish; now I write articles in Yiddish. My time at YIVO was a huge inspiration.”

Dates: June 27-August 5

Application Deadline: April 29; February 26 for scholarships and international students

Cost: 6,000 dollars (includes college credit, scholarship aid available)

Housing: Not included

Levels: Four levels, elementary-advanced

Cultural Component: Conversation and culture classes in the afternoons, and a zingeray


Speak Yiddish. Built Community. Live Sustainably.

Dates: June 20-August 6 (Yiddish Farm offers other courses throughout the year, and there are other, shorter programs)

Application Deadline: Rolling

Cost: 3,999 dollars (financial aid available, includes meals)

Housing: Included

Levels: Beginning and upwards (intensive program)

Cultural Component: Students also work on the farm. All food is kosher and shabes is observed; davening is Orthodox.


One of the world’s leading summer programs for the study, creation and presentation of traditional and contemporary Yiddish culture.

Dates: July 10-30 (three one-week courses)

Application Deadline: June 12

Cost: 75/60 euros (standard/reduced rate) per day, down to 60/45 after fourth day, scholarships available

Housing: Not included, registrants receive 10% off at a local hostel

Levels: Three levels, beginning-advanced

Cultural Component: Part of a larger cultural program including music and dance workshops, with frequent evening jam sessions

Zarrow, Sarah Ellen. “Yiddish in ale lender! Yiddish Summer Programs Roundup.” In geveb, January 2016:
Zarrow, Sarah Ellen. “Yiddish in ale lender! Yiddish Summer Programs Roundup.” In geveb (January 2016): Accessed May 06, 2021.


Sarah Ellen Zarrow

Sarah Zarrow is on the editorial board of In geveb. She is Professor of Jewish History at Western Washington University, where she teaches courses in Jewish history and the Holocaust.