This week I will be going back to Poland to attend a number of interesting events.


International Summer Yiddish Language And Culture Seminar


         This year’s seminar will take place August 13 – September 2. It is the fifth annual gathering of lovers of European Jewry’s cultural heritage, sponsored by the Shalom Foundation of Warsaw. The seminar is designed for students at Polish and foreign universities. An intensive three-week Yiddish language course will be offered at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. Lecturers will give scheduled classes twice a day.


         The entire program consists of 60 hours of language study concluding in a written examination that will be evaluated according to ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) evaluation standards; grading will also take into account participants’ attendance at the enhanced cultural activities offered. (Each participant must take part in a minimum of four lectures.) This curriculum will permit the Shalom Foundation to issue certification for six ECTS credits.


         Course diplomas will be accompanied by documentation from the seminar’s faculty, describing the student’s achievements, which led to the awarding of a given number of ECTS credits, in accordance with standards of the Guide to the European Credit Transfer System and Diploma Supplement and ECTS Key Features. Polish and foreign students will have their seminar credits fully recognized upon their return to their home institutions.


         The program will consist of lectures, learning and practical workshops in areas including: Yiddish literature (in the original); the history of Polish Jewry; Jewish customs and traditions in the Yiddish cultural sphere; and the history of Yiddish theater and film. The program will also include workshops on Yiddish dance, song, music, theater, film screenings and tours of Jewish landmarks around Poland.


         The high level of the classes in this program is guaranteed by the participation of leading scholars in the fields of Polish-Jewish history, literature and tradition, as well as – above all – the Yiddish language. This year, we are expecting, among others: Dr. Chava Lapin (Workmen’s Circle, New York); Dr. Jacob Weitzner (Warsaw University); Dr. Paul Glasser (YIVO Institute, New York); Malgorzata Koziel (Lodz University); Adam Gruzman and Pnina Meller (Israel); Jan Jagielski (Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, Warsaw); and Leon Blank (Sweden).


         In addition to classroom learning, students will have the opportunity to try out their newly-acquired language skills, as there will be a few native speakers on hand at each seminar, each speaking one of the classic Yiddish dialects: the distinctive vernacular of Vilna, Warsaw and Volhynia.


I.B. Singer’s Warsaw Festival


         In the week following the seminar the Shalom Foundation and the Jewish community of Warsaw will host the fourth annual I.B. Singer’s Warsaw Festival, from September 3 through 9.


         The festival has been a great success in the past, and this year’s promises to be even bigger and better. Every day there will be concerts, food-tastings and open markets for all types of artifacts that would have been found in a Yiddish-speaking home in Pre-War Poland.  Artists from around the world will attend, including the great Chazan Joseph Malovany.


         In addition, the Yiddish Theater of Warsaw will perform special productions and there will be panel discussions on a variety of related topics. Chief Rabbi of Poland, Rabbi Michael Schudrich, will host a session of “One-hundred Questions for the Rabbi,” in which he hopes to answer any and all questions put to him.


         Along with the many art and photo exhibits there will also be readings, and screenings of many films. The week is sure to be filled with interesting events, culminating in a concert by Moti Giladi at the Yiddish Theater.


         As mentioned in a previous article I will be doing research, in numerous shtetlach and archives around the country, during my stay in Poland. Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur I will be in the Galicia region and will travel to various towns, i.e. Bochina, Tarnow, Rzezow, Kolbuszowa, Sedziszow, and Krakow, as well as other villages in the region.


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