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The four-week Summer Program in Yiddish was founded by Professor Dovid Katz at Oxford in 1982. Professor Katz, and a group of colleagues relocated it 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
|2005 VILNIUS YIDDISH INSTITUTE. Solution: Neosymmetria|