Great Jewish Books, 2018 Edition

(An announcement received from the Great Jewish Books Summer Program at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts; every year, when I receive this announcement, I wish that this program had existed back when I was in high school.)

At the Great Jewish Books Summer Program, rising high school juniors and seniors read selections from important works of modern Jewish literature and consider how they speak to the opportunities and challenges we face today. Under the guidance of college professors, they consider how the rich legacy of modern Jewish literature can inform us in the twenty-first century.

Although the program’s focus is on reading, this is not school in any conventional sense: 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.

Great Jewish Books students:

  • read and discuss important works of modern literature by writers such as Franz Kafka, Sholem Aleichem, Grace Paley, Philip Roth, and Isaac Babel.
  • learn from college faculty as well as prominent visiting writers (including, in past years, novelists Allegra Goodman and Jami Attenberg, poet and critic Adam Kirsch, and graphic novelist and scholar Ilan Stavans).
  • develop skills for literary analysis and self-expression that will prepare them for college.
  • meet other teenagers from across North America who love to read and who care about literature and Jewish culture.
  • get a taste of college life, seeing what it’s like to live and learn on the campus of Hampshire College.
  • discover how modern literature connects them to ancient traditions and contemporary ideas.
  • Session 1: July 22 – 27, 2018
    Session 2: July 29 – August 3, 2018

    Current sophomores and juniors are eligible to apply. For more information please contact Sylvia Peterson at or call (413) 256-4900 ext. 143.