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Support the Vilnius Yiddish Institute!

Our work depends on you…

The Vilnius Yiddish Institute is a university-based center for serious study of Yiddish language, literature and culture, and the East European Jewish heritage. Its activities include credit courses, educational programs for the wider public, an intensive summer program, expeditions, and an array of ongoing research projects.   Yet the institute does not enjoy any secure or long-term source of support. Its flourishing, its very survival, depends on the generosity of those who share its commitments to Yiddish, its past, its present, and crucially, its future.   The continued existence of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, and its ability to carry out the projects for which it was created, hinges entirely on the generosity of donors who share the goals of building a future for Yiddish language, literature, and culture internationally. By training new masters in the field, the Vilnius Yiddish Institute is helping to create a generation of teachers and cultural leaders for the decades ahead.   The following are among critical and ongoing needs. Each title is followed by the minimum sum necessary and a brief description. Contributions are fully tax-deductible in the United States of America via The Friends of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute.

Expeditions to the Last Shtetl Jews — $20,000 per expedition

Research expeditions throughout Eastern Europe locate and interview the last generation of survivors in the regions native to their families for centuries. These are precious, historically fleeting, opportunities to tape in-depth interviews with survivors, in their native local Yiddish, preserving the language, folklore, and oral history. The average cost of a 10-day expedition is US $20,000, including transportation, lodging, digital videography, administration, and honoraria to survivors who are interviewed. The digitally preserved treasures of the last Yiddish in its native Eastern European homeland will form part of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute archives. Moreover, addresses of all survivors discovered are passed to the Survivor Mitzvah Project in California which then provides further financial support to enable these “Yiddish mohicans” to live out their last years with the greatest possible dignity.

Summer Program Scholarships — $3,000 per summer course scholarship

$1,000 enables the four-week summer program, held each year in August, to offer a full-tuition waiver to qualified students. The full scholarship of $3,000 covers tuition as well as residence, travel, visa, and maintenance requirements of qualified students from anywhere in the world.

Academic Courses — $2,000 per locally taught course

Each semester-long credit course taught by a locally resident scholar costs $2,000. Much higher sums are required for visiting lecturers and professors from abroad.

Digitization of Yiddish literary masterpieces — $1,000 per installment

This important project entails digitization of classic works of Yiddish literature. Once digitized, the works are published in a New York Yiddish weekly, where they are enjoyed by some twenty thousand readers, and added to the recently launched internet version of the new library of classic texts. Contact us to find out more, or use our printable donation form.

Printable Contribution Form