Mission: The National Yiddish Book Center is a vibrant, non-profit organization working to rescue Yiddish and other modern Jewish books and celebrate the culture they contain.
Programs: Visitor programs - welcomed approximately 10,000 visitors and offered permanent and traveling exhibitions and interpretive tours. The book center presented approximately 30 public programs including films, lectures, concerts, readings and a summer yidstock: festival of new yiddish music. The book center has created special tours for students and other special interest groups.
education - the book center offered several major educational programs for undergraduates and recent college graduates. The 7 week steiner summer program included 18 students who studied yiddish language and modern jewish history and culture. The fellowship program for collegegraduates offered a 12 month program to 5 recent graduates whoparticipated in a variety of experiential learning projects includingbook digitization, oral history, exhibit development, on-site andonline course development, and the center's magazine, the pakn treger. The great jewish books program was offered to 36 high schoolstudents who spent one week engaged in an intense exploration of jewishliterature. A new pilot great jewish books workshop for teachers was offered to 20 high school teachers. The tent: encounters with jewish culture program on creative writing served young adults aged 21-30. Two weekend on-site courses were offered for more than 100 adults and both were developed into an online course. A yiddish school program took place with 40 people registered.
cultural rescue and preservation - the book center has placed the fullcontent of more than 13,000 titles online through the non-profitinternet archive, making yiddish literature the single most accessibleliterature in history. The books have been downloaded for free morethan 1. 5 million times. The center is now collaborating with the nationallibrary of israel to digitize the rest of yiddish literature along withjournals and periodicals. The center also collected oral historiesthrough its wexler oral history project. These interviews are madeavailable online for scholars, teachers and others. The book centercontinues to rescue yiddish books and distributes these books tolibraries, scholars and students. The center has recently partneredwith the montreal jewish public library to make available more than 200 yiddish audio books and 1,500 reel-to-reel tapes of interviews andpresentations by yiddish writers and intellectuals. These materialsare being digitized and made available free of charge online. Thecenter continues to rescue yiddish books and distributes books tolibraries and other institutions around the world.
translation and publications - the book center publishes anddistributes a magazine, pakn treger, which enhances its educationaloutreach. The magazine is sent to more than 20,000 members and friends. The center also publishes a digital translation issue of pakn treger. In addition, the book center continues to collaborate on translationsof yiddish literature for publication and continues to enhance itswebsite as a platform for educational materials, blogs, podcasts, and social networks. A translation fellowship program continued foraspiring yiddish translators. Eleven fellows were selected andparticipated in two workshops in amherst. A new website for translatorswas created
The National Yiddish Book Center is a vital site for scholars interested in Yiddish literature and Yiddish-language culture. A brilliant idea excellently presented. Its importance for an understanding a central part of European and North American culture can scarcely be exaggerated.
I am a second Generation Holocaust survivor. We always spoke Yiddish in my house. Now that both my parents have passed away, The National Yiddish Book Center is my source of everything Yiddish and is available for my children and grandchildren and hopefully many future generations. The National Yiddish Book Center is a miracle by its very existence and will keep alive an amazing culture that was almost extinguished. It serves as a wonderful resource for all who are interested in researching Jewish history. Digitizing these treasures and in so doing making them available nationally and internationally is awesome. Through the Yiddish Book Center I was able to collect many Yiddish films which provided hours & hours of pleasure to my parents when they were no longer mobile. They would watch them over and over and it would remind them of their shtetl and it would serve as a point of further discussion about their past. This would not have been possible without the Book Center.
I think that Nat'l Yiddish Book Center did something unique in history: the organization saved what would have become a lost literature, then made it accessible to the world, and it became the first literature to be digitalized.
It has been one of the tragedies that so much world literature has been lost, from the Provencal language literature, to that of the Mayan and Incan peoples. This would have been the fate of Yiddish, esp. after WWII, when such a huge percentage of Yiddish speakers were murdered. But now this vibrant literature is available to the world.