Friday, October 31, 2008

Summer Yiddish Study and PAID Internship in Western Massachusetts


The Steiner Summer Program for College Students at the National Yiddish Book Center selects 18 students for seven weeks of immersion in Yiddish culture. Our interns study the Yiddish language, the Jewish culture and history of Central and Eastern Europe and America, pursue a research or translation project, and work with the Yiddish Book Center's comprehensive collection of Yiddish literature.
Each intern is awarded a stipend and provided with free housing; undergraduate college credit for two courses is available at no extra charge. The Steiner Internship program runs from June 7 to July 24, 2009, and is open to all full-time university students.
Please note: Students who are not enrolled in a degree-granting program as of January 1, 2009 are not eligible.

The National Yiddish Book Center Steiner Internships offer 18 qualified full-time college students (undergraduate and graduate) an intensive educational experience in Yiddish language, literature, cultural and history. This unique program is made possible through the generosity of David and Sylvia Steiner and the support of a small group of benefactors.
The Steiner Summer Program awards a $2,000 stipend to each intern, which will be paid in two installments. The program also covers tuition, fees and the cost of books for students. Classes and other related activities are held at the National Yiddish Book Center headquarters in Amherst; undergraduate credits and transcripts are issued through the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
The internship was launched 20 years ago to teach students about Yiddish language and culture while involving them in the daily work of the Book Center: collecting books, unloading trucks, and sorting and shelving hundreds of thousands of collected volumes. Since then, the program has expanded to become one of the leading Yiddish immersion and Jewish cultural education programs in the world, with hundreds of alumni. Few students know Yiddish before coming to the Center; many go on to further study and, in some cases, professional work in Yiddish-related fields.

The National Yiddish Book Center is a dynamic non-profit organization working to preserve the best of Yiddish culture and make it come alive for a new generation. Since 1980 we have rescued a million Yiddish books that had been abandoned or were in danger of being destroyed. For the past 25 years, we have been hard at work sorting, cataloging, and digitizing these rescued volumes and distributing them to Yiddish readers and to major university and research libraries around the world. We also have developed a wide range of innovative cultural and educational programs that bring Yiddish culture to a broad international audience. Interns will be involved in all Book Center activities, attending public programs, exhibits, and special events.
Interns are enrolled in two mandatory courses through the University of Massachusetts at Amherst: Introduction to Yiddish Culture and History, and either Intensive Beginning Yiddish or Intensive Intermediate Yiddish, depending on the student's fluency level. Students who have taken more than four semesters of Yiddish language will be supervised in special translation projects in lieu of language classes. Classes are taught by some of the world's leading scholars of Yiddish (see faculty, for more information).

Interns will be chosen partially on the basis of their interest in pursuing a scholarly or creative project related to an aspect of Eastern European or American Jewish culture. These projects might include collecting Jewish cultural materials or artifacts, researching neglected aspects of Jewish culture, using existing cultural materials as a point of departure for creative exploration, or translating significant Yiddish texts into English. We will give special consideration to projects that involve original fieldwork and incorporate ethnographic techniques. Interns will work closely with faculty and staff on their projects and will make oral presentations at the conclusion of the program, also submitting a written version of their findings that will become part of our curricular resources.

Under the supervision of our Collection Manager, interns will be trained to unpack, sort and shelve books and journals. In addition, they will receive training as National Yiddish Book Center tour guides in our Visitors Center.

Apartment-style housing at Hampshire College, within walking distance to the National Yiddish Book Center, is offered to all interns. Interns may opt to find their own housing and live independently. Daily expenses, including food, are the responsibility of each intern, though meal plans at Hampshire College will be available for advance purchase. We recommend bringing a car or a bicycle if you have one. For those who don't have transportation, shuttle bus service is available to the other four college campuses in the area and to nearby towns and malls.

To apply, you need to submit an online application, found here at the site. In addition, two academic letters of recommendation and transcript(s) of all undergraduate and graduate courses and grades must be sent by mail.

All online application forms must be received by February 2, 2009. All mailed-in supporting materials must be postmarked February 2, 2009 and be received by February 9, 2009 to be considered for this year's program. Finalists for the internship will be contacted for telephone interviews in early March and accepted interns will be contacted by April 1. The Center is an equal opportunity employer, and selections will be made without regard to race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or national origin. Feel free to E-MAIL us any questions you may have.

Thanks to the generosity of Ruthe B. Cowl of Laredo, TX, a long-time friend of the National Yiddish Book Center, two interns will be selected each summer to become Cowl Fellows. As Cowl Fellows they will help implement first-rate Yiddish programming on their own college and university campuses during the academic year.
The National Yiddish Book Center will provide financial support to each Cowl Fellow as well as mentorship in Yiddish programming, event planning, outreach, and publicity.
Full information about the Cowl Jewish Leadership Program, including application and selection guidelines, will be available during the summer internship program.

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