The VILNIUS YIDDISH INSTITUTE is the first Yiddish center of higher learning to be established in post-jv logoHolocaust Eastern Europe. It is an integral part of the four-century-old Vilnius University, situated in the heart of the magnificently restored Old City, in a thriving new democracy. The Institute is dedicated to preserving the centuries-old heritage of Yiddish language and culture through teaching and scholarly research of the highest quality. Further, through intensive instruction by an outstanding international faculty the Institute aims to foster genuine literacy in Yiddish among new generations of students from Europe, the Americas, and beyond, and to train young new teachers and scholars in the field. Finally, inspired by its unique location in Vilna, the once fabled “Jerusalem of Lithuania,” the Institute cherishes the hope of nurturing new cultural contributions in Yiddish.

The Vilnius Yiddish Institute at Vilnius University proudly announces

The 2016 Summer Program in Yiddish Language and Literature
17 July — 12 August 2016

offering four levels of intensive language instruction:

YIDDISH I: for beginners YIDDISH II: intermediate
YIDDISH III: higher intermediate YIDDISH IV: advanced


more information from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(Coordinator of Programs at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute)


Group photo 2015

The four-week Summer Program in Yiddish was founded by at Oxford in 1982. It was relocated to Vilnius University in 1998. Since then, Vilnius has been home to this highly praised university-accredited course in Yiddish language, literature and culture. In 2001, the course became an integral component of the new Vilnius Yiddish Institute at Vilnius University. Yearly, it has drawn participants from as many as two dozen countries across the globe. A large number are university students; overall, however, the most varied backgrounds, pursuits, and professions are represented. Further, the group regularly includes members of diverse religious faiths and all age brackets — from college undergraduates (and the very occasional high-schooler) to senior citizens. What unites them all is their wish to steep themselves, for a learning-packed month, in Yiddish language and culture. For this, Vilnius — once renowned as Vilna, the Jerusalem of Lithuania (Vílne, Yerusholáyim d’Líte in Yiddish)  — offers a setting that is unrivaled in its historical significance for the history of modern Yiddish culture. While today’s Jewish community is sadly diminished, it proudly and vigorously strives to uphold its venerable heritage. With its core of native Yiddish speakers, it warmly hosts program events during the supplementary programs of lectures, seminars and performances held in the afternoons and evenings. Our lecturers and tour guides are often native-born witnesses to pre-war Vilna, authentic bearers of the unique Litvak culture to which they introduce our students by literally just being themselves. And today’s modern Vilnius, the delightful capital of a democratic state that is a member of the European Union and NATO (designated as Capital of  European Culture in 2009), still preserves its magical Baroque vistas, as well as the nooks and corners of the old Eastern Europe that lives on in Yiddish literature and in the imagination of its readers and students.

The Vilnius Summer Program in Yiddish is dedicated to the memory of
Maier Cahan (1923-1997)

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