New York University will house an internationally recognized intensive summer program in Yiddish language beginning in 2005. The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research’s Uriel Weinreich Program in Yiddish Language, Literature, and Culture, established in 1968, also includes an in-depth exploration of the literature and culture of East European/American Jewry.

The program has drawn students from all over the world, including Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Israel, Australia, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, China, Korea, Japan, and western Europe, as well as the United States and Canada.

“All of us at NYU are delighted by this programmatic collaboration between two good neighbors, which will greatly benefit students interested in the Yiddish language and the study of Jewish culture,” said Matthew Santirocco, dean of NYU’s College of Arts and Science.

“Our collaboration with YIVO will be important for the advanced study of a historic language and culture and for the training of graduate students who represent the next generation of scholars, researchers, and teachers,” added Catharine Stimpson, dean of NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Science. The program is situated in YIVO’s Max Weinreich Center of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and will be run out of NYU’s Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies.

“We are very pleased to be entering into cooperation with the world-class faculty of the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and look forward to many years of success together,” said Paul Glasser, associate dean of the Max Weinreich Center.

“The Weinreich program will complement the offerings of NYU’s Rauch visiting professorship in Yiddish literature and culture, inaugurated in 2003, to make the university a leading center for undergraduate and graduate studies related to Yiddish,” said David Engel, director of graduate studies in the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. “Since the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies already offers the largest and most comprehensive array of courses in Jewish studies outside of Israel, the initiation of a full program in Yiddish language and literature builds naturally upon one of NYU’s great strengths. Both YIVO and NYU will now be able to take full advantage of the two institutions’ physical proximity, sharing their considerable tangible and intellectual resources.”

The program’s centerpiece is an intensive language course designed to develop proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing, as well as cultural literacy, in a concentrated period of time.

This summer’s program will take place from Monday, June 27 to Friday, August 5, 2005. The YIVO Institute has been located just off Union Square, about a mile from the NYU campus, since 1999. The program was previously held at Columbia University, where founder Max Weinreich’s son, Uriel, taught linguistics from 1951 to 1967. Uriel Weinreich was noted for his contributions to Yiddish Studies, sociolinguistics, and dialectology, and for the increased acceptance of semantics as a branch of linguistics.

Since its inception, the program has graduated more than 1,300 students, including many of the leading scholars in Yiddish Studies/Jewish Studies in the world. These include Steven Zipperstein, chair and Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and Jewish History at Stanford University; Dovid Katz, professor of Yiddish literature and founder of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, Vilnius University, Lithuania; Ruth Messinger, former Manhattan Borough president; and Tim Whewell, correspondent for BBC Radio World Programmes.

New York University, located in the heart of Greenwich Village, was established in 1831 and is one of America’s leading research universities. It is one of the largest private universities, and collectively has more students studying abroad and more international students than any other college or university in the U.S. Through its 14 schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and dramatic arts, music, public administration, social work, and continuing and professional studies, among other areas.

Founded in 1925 in Vilna, Poland as the Yiddish Scientific Institute and headquartered in New York since 1940, YIVO is devoted to the history, society, and culture of Ashkenazic Jewry, and the influence of that culture as it has developed in the Americas. As the only pre-Holocaust scholarly institution to transfer its mission to the United States, YIVO is the preeminent center for the study of East European Jewry and Yiddish language, literature, and folklore.

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