Jan 08, 2018
If you’re thinking about studying Yiddish this summer, there are many factors to consider: not just dates, cost, and location, but also the kind of learning that is offered beyond language instruction, the culture of the program, its pedagogical strategies and aims. There are a lot of options out there to meet the needs and interests of a wide variety of students. To make the choice easier, we’ve gathered information about all the best summer Yiddish programs in one place. This year we’re also including in our list informal Yiddish-related retreats as well as Yiddish music and culture festivals and learning opportunities. Of course there’s only so much you can learn from a list like this one, which gives only at-a-glance information for comparison’s sake, so we’ve also included links after each program with suggestions of where you can go to learn more. This fall we ran a series of reflections on Yiddish summer programs and many of these pieces are integrated into this year’s Summer Programs Roundup.
If you know of a program or festival relating to Yiddish language or culture that we’ve left out, or if you would like to offer corrections or additions to this information, please let us know!
International Summer Seminar in Yiddish Language and Culture (Warsaw, Poland)
Dates: July 2-20
Application Deadline: May 31, 2018
Cost: Three-week program: 800 USD (1074.32 CAD, 680 EUR); for students 500 USD (671.45 CAD, 440 EUR); cultural program only 500 USD (671.45 CAD, 440 EUR). Two-week program: 550 USD (738.59 CAD, 480 EUR); for students 350 USD (470.01 CAD, 300 EUR); cultural program only 350 USD (470.01 CAD, 300 EUR). Scholarships available.
Housing: Not included, dorm accommodations possible.
Levels: Four levels, beginning to advanced
Cultural Component: Lectures, film evenings, and some workshops, as well as guided tours of Jewish sites in Warsaw and visits to the Jewish Historical Institute, other venues and museums, Shabbat dinners.
Read More About It: Katarzyna Markusz, “Yiddish comes alive in Warsaw every summer,” JTA (July 14, 2017).
Program in Yiddish Language and Literature, Vilnius Yiddish Institute (Vilnius, Lithuania)
Dates: July 16-August 10
Application Deadline: rolling; scholarship deadline TBD.
Cost: 1372.09 USD (1842.58 CAD, 1310 EUR) (limited scholarship aid available).
Housing: Not included, the program assists with finding housing through a rental agent or through the dormitory.
Levels: Four levels, beginning to advanced.
Cultural Component: Film screenings, tours, and concerts.
Read More About It: Ellen Cassedy, “My Yiddish Month,” Na’amat Woman, Winter 2017; Erin Faigin, “Reflections on Space in Learning Yiddish,” In geveb, December 22, 2015.
Yiddish Summer Weimar (Weimar, Germany)
Dates: July 22-August 16 (three one-week courses).
Application Deadline: TBD
Cost: 78.55 USD (105.48 CAD, 75 EUR) per day ; reduced rate (for those who cannot afford the standard rate) of 62.84 USD (84.39 CAD, 60 EUR) per day; after the fourth day rate declines to 62.84 USD (84.39 CAD, 60 EUR) per day; reduced rate of 47.13 USD (63.29 CAD, 45 EUR). Scholarships available.
Housing: Not included, registrants receive 10% off at a local hostel.
Levels: Three levels, beginning to advanced.
Cultural Component: Part of a larger cultural program including music and dance workshops, with frequent evening jam sessions.
Read More About It: Itsik Gottesman, “Ten Years of Yiddish Summer Weimar,” Forward, August 18, 2010; Henry Bernhard, ““Yiddish Summer” in Weimar: Klezmer und jiddische Kultur,” Deutschlandfunk, 2016; Yael Breuer, “Leading Yiddish festival reveals ‘unseen diasporas.”’Jewish News Online, July 13, 2017.
Summer Yiddish Seminar (Paris, France)
Dates: July 23 - August 10
Application Deadline: TBD
Cost: 808.52 USD (680 EUR, 1023.16 CAD); Students under the age of 30 570.66 USD (480 EUR, 722.43 CAD)
Housing: Not included, a list of hotels/apartments will be sent on request.
Levels: Four levels, beginning to advanced, as well as a new teacher training program.
Cultural Component: Singing and recitation workshops, lectures, films, visits to Jewish sites.
Read More About It: This program is part of a rotation of summer programs that alternate between Brussels, Strasbourg, Paris, and Berlin. Read Ekaterina Kuznetsova’s reflections in In geveb on last year’s program in Berlin here.
Ot Azoy (London, UK)
Dates: August 19-24
Application Deadline: No deadline. Early bird discount ends June 1
Cost: Full rate 307.29 USD (412.66 CAD, 293.38 EUR, 250 GBP); early bird rate 288.85 USD (387.90 CAD, 275.78 EUR, 235 GBP), returnees get an additional discount of 12.29 USD (16.50 CAD, 11.73 EUR, 10 GBP); Student/senior rate 215.10 USD (288.86 CAD, 205.37 EUR, 175 GBP); early bird student/senior rate 184.37 USD (247.59 CAD, 176.03 EUR, 150 GBP).
Housing: Not included, but the program will help students find accommodation.
Levels: Five levels, beginning to advanced.
Cultural Component: Part of a larger program with courses on Yiddish song, culture and dance that run simultaneously.
Naomi Prawer Kadar International Yiddish Summer Program at Tel Aviv University (Tel Aviv, Israel)
Dates: July 1-26
Application Deadline: March 31
Cost: 1450 USD (1947.20 CAD, 1384.38 EUR), scholarship aid available to all full time students (500 USD to B.A. students, 700 USD to M.A. students, 900 USD to PhD. Candidates); registration fee 60 USD (80.57 CAD, 57.28 EUR).
Housing: 800 USD for double occupancy (optional).
Levels: Five levels, beginning to advanced.
Cultural Component: Lectures, workshops, and conversation classes in the afternoons.
Read More About It: Justin Cammy, “Inhabiting Multiple Homelands: Teaching Yiddish in a Summer Yiddish Program,” In geveb, November 13, 2017.
Helix Project: Program for Students, Artists and Educators (online; Los Angeles, California, USA; and Eastern Europe)
Dates: The Helix Project unfolds over two calendar years. In August 2018 there will be a ten day intensive colloquium in Southern California and regular online workshops during the fall. In 2019 there will be a spring online seminar program and a summer travel experience to Central and Eastern Europe that begins in Southern California and spans the full month of July.
Application Deadline: Early applications for students are currently open and close on February 9. Public applications open during January and run until March 2. Full time students, early-career educators, and professional artists are welcome to apply.
Cost: At a minimum, all participants are responsible for making their way to and from Los Angeles in time for the residential program start dates. Helixers cover the majority of their meals during the Year One summer colloquium as well as public transit and other incidental costs as needed.
All program costs are subsidized for all participants. The 2018 summer program fee is $3,000. This amount, heavily subsidized by generous contributions, includes tuition, accommodation, some transport, and some meals. Further scholarship aid is available and awarded based on need.
2019 travel program costs are approximately $10,000 in total. This includes touring fees, entry to cultural sites, tuition, accommodation, most meals, air travel, and ground transport. It is a pay-what-you-can program. Travel program contributions are assessed and negotiated on a case-by-case basis. In the past, the majority of participants have covered between 50-75% of these costs. Helix staff provide ongoing support for individual fundraising initiatives to help offset these costs.
Housing: Housing and board, European ground travel, and flights in and out of Europe are included.
Levels: A beginner digital course and an intermediate conversation/literature analysis discussion group. While traveling all content is available in English translation and participants will work with Yiddish texts as much as possible. Helix also offers basics in Slavic languages as part of the travel preparation.
Cultural Component: The Helix Project is less a language program than a cultural program; participants learn about the history, literature, and folklore of Jews in Eastern Europe in situ.
Read More About It: Erin Faigin, “Reflections on Space in Learning Yiddish,” In geveb, December 22, 2015; Also, in this oral history from the Wexler Oral History Project, Alana Fichman discusses her experiences in the Helix project.
Steiner Summer Yiddish Program, Yiddish Book Center (Amherst, Massachusetts, USA)
Cost: Tuition-free. All students are responsible for their housing and food costs. Intermediate students are eligible to participate in an internship in exchange for subsidized housing as well as a 1,000 USD stipend for living expenses.
Housing: 1,400 USD (1880.06 CAD, 1336.64 EUR); Intermediate students may do an internship and have this waived, as well as receive a stipend. Limited need-based subsidies are also available.
Levels: Introductory and intermediate
Cultural Component: Beginner students take a for-credit culture course while intermediate students have the option to participate in a paid internship. For all students, the program also includes a four-day field trip to New York City and tickets to Yidstock: The Festival of New Yiddish Music, as well as a plethora of Yiddish cultural activities, excursions to local attractions, and extracurricular activities like film screenings and student-led workshops
Other: Students can receive up to 6 college credits. Open to college students and recent graduates ages 18-26.
Read More About It: Noam Green and Tova Benjamin, “Seeking and Queering Utopia: A Chat About the Steiner Summer Yiddish Program.” In geveb, November 2017.
Uriel Weinreich Summer Program (New York, New York, USA)
Dates: June 25-August 3
Application Deadline: April 2, financial aid and international student deadline is February 23
Cost: 2,000 USD (2518 CAD, 1632 EUR); scholarships are available. Students are eligible to obtain college credit through Bard College.
Housing: Not included
Levels: Four levels, elementary-advanced
Cultural Component: Conversation and culture classes in the afternoons, and a zingeray.
Read More About It: Leana Katz, “By Learning Yiddish, I Can Access a Part of My Heritage,” The Globe and Mail, November 9, 2016.
Yiddish Farm (Goshen, New York, USA)
Dates: Yiddish Farm Summer Program May 23-June 13
Application Deadline: Rolling
Cost: 1,999 USD (2526.32 CAD, 1679.40 EUR), 1000 USD (1263.78 CAD, 840.09 EUR) non-refundable deposit due by April 1, 2018; cost includes meals; limited scholarships available.
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.
Read More About It: Sam Frizell, “Inside A Unique Yiddish Farm Thriving 50 Miles From Manhattan” The Gothamist, August 8, 2013.
Yiddish Vokh (Copake, New York, USA)
Dates: August 15-21
Cost: TBA, some student scholarships are available
Description: Yiddish Vokh is a language immersion retreat. Volunteers lead art activities, lectures, discussions, workshops, and sports. Participants swim, attend campfires, concerts, talent shows, and dancing, all in Yiddish.
Read More About It: Sandra Fox, “Recreation as Education: Yiddish Vokh 2017.” In geveb, October 31, 2017.
Trip to Yiddishland (Dutchess County, New York, USA)
Dates: August 13- August 19
Cost: from 325 USD -1350 USD per person (270-1125 EUR, 408-1694 CAD), depending on housing choice (many options available from dormitory to private lakefront and lawn rooms). Cost includes meals, programs, and entertainment.
Description: Four levels of Yiddish classes, dance & klezmer instruction, theater & music workshops, concerts & entertainment, children’s program, retreat activities.
Read More About It: Andrew Brownstein, “Yiddishland Brings Diverse Group Together for Language and Culture.” Forward, June 27, 2014.
KlezKanada Laurentian Retreat (Camp B’nai Brith, Lantier, Quebec (outside Montreal))
Dates: August 20-26th, 2018
Application Deadline: The deadline for general registration is July 1st. The deadline for scholarship applications is May 1st.
Cost: Depending on type of accommodation, costs range from $850 USD/CAD for off-site registrants, $975 USD/CAD for tents, $1,000 USD/CAD for space in a shared cabin, or $1,500 USD/CAD for a hotel style room in the Retreat Centre. Special rates also available for families with children. Scholarships are available for emerging artists and scholars ages 16-35; reduced tuition for scholarship recipients is set at $375 USD/CAD. Tuition includes housing (except for off-site registrants), meals, and the full artistic program.
Housing: See above.
Levels: Introductory, Intermediate, Advanced, as well as other classes, lectures, and other activities conducted in Yiddish.
Cultural Component: KlezKanada’s Laurentian Retreat is a week-long immersion in Yiddish culture, arts, and music attended by an international and intergenerational community every year. In addition to Yiddish language programming, KlezKanada is centered around intensive instrumental and vocal workshops in klezmer and Yiddish music, as well as classes in Yiddish dance, theatre, and visual arts, and lectures and film screenings in topics related to Jewish history, literature, and culture. In the evenings, there are concerts featuring some of the world’s best klezmer bands, dance parties, and a late night cabaret. All this and more in an idyllic setting by a lake in the Laurentian Mountains.
Golden Peacock Yiddish Song School (London, UK)
Dates: August 19- August 24
Cost: Full rate 250 GBP (338 USD, 281 EUR, 424 CAD) (225 GBP if booked before 1st June 2018); Student / Senior rate 175 GBP (150 GBP if booked before 1st June 2018)
Description: classes in music theory, repertoire, roots and traditions of Yiddish Song, modes and melodies, master-classes and a Yiddish Choir.
Learn More About It: Listen to a podcast about the event here.
Klezfest (London, UK)
Dates: August 19- August 24
Cost: 150 GBP - 225 GBP
Description: Classes in traditional klezmer; history, melodies, ornamentation, dance and accompaniment.
Jewish Culture Festival (Krakow, Poland)
Dates: June 23-July 7, 2018
Description: almost 300 events including workshops, lectures, discussions, guided tours, concerts and jam sessions.
Read More About It: Annette Insdorf, “The Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow: A Celebration,” Huffington Post, December 6, 2017.
Yidstock (Amherst, Massachusetts, USA)
Dates: July 12-15
Description: A festival of musicians who weave elements from traditional Jewish music, jazz, Americana, and other styles to take klezmer in new directions
Summer Institute on the Holocaust and Jewish Civilization (Evanston, Illinois, USA)
Dates: June 25-July 6
Application Deadline: February 15. Qualified applicants are graduate students and faculty planning to teach Holocaust-related courses at institutions of higher education.