Apply Now: The Yiddish Book Center’s "Stories of Exile" Reading Groups for Public Libraries

The Yiddish Book Center’s “Stories of Exile” Reading Groups for Public Libraries is a reading and discussion program to engage teens and adults in thinking about experiences of displacement, migration, and diaspora.

Image text reads: "Stories of Exile" Reading Groups for Public Libraries" A program of the Yiddish Book Center. Up to 30 libraries will be selected. Apply by August 19, 2022.

Apply by August 19, 2022.

Using Yiddish literature as a portal, “Stories of Exile” will feature works in translation that explore narratives that grapple with questions of homelands, journeys, identity, and belonging. Reading groups will compare these works, written in Yiddish in the early- and mid-20th century, to works by contemporary writers from all across the globe.

Participating libraries will organize a reading group for adults, teens ages 16 to 19, or a combined group to discuss three books of Yiddish literature in translation, as well as one book related to a community served by their library. To learn more, read the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Selections from the reading list include Survivors: The Complete Short Stories of Chava Rosenfarb; On the Landing: Stories by Yenta Mash; and The Glatstein Chronicles by Jacob Glatstein.

The goals of the program are:

  • to introduce libraries and the public to Yiddish literature in the context of broader explorations of dispossession, exile, migration, and diaspora.
  •  to help prompt and inform ongoing discussions about displacement, in the context of war, genocide, climate change, economic and political upheaval, and other conditions of homelessness and relocation in the modern world.

All program participants will receive:

  • 15 copies of each of three books on the Yiddish Book Center reading list, as well as one copy of each both for the discussion facilitator and the library’s collection.
  • 15 copies of one additional book, selected by the library, which is related to the experiences of the community served by the library.
  • Travel, accommodation, and meal expenses paid for participation in a workshop at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA, to orient library staff on engaging reading groups and discussion of Yiddish literature in translation.
  • Online access to downloadable discussion guides and programming resources for future use.
  • Advice and assistance in identifying potential guest speakers, as well as training and support for engaging guest speakers at public events.

"Stories of Exile" Reading Groups for Public Libraries is made possible by a gift from Sharon Karmazin.