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Yiddish Book Center awarded $1.1 million grant

NOVEMBER 2, 2017 – AMHERST – The Yiddish Book Center has been named as a recipient of a $1.1 million Jim Joseph Foundation grant for Jewish Educator Professional Development.

A Request for Proposal (RFP) process aiming to address two critical areas in Jewish education – Educator Professional Development and Leadership Development – led to a $23.7 million cumulative investment in 21 organizations by the Jim Joseph Foundation. The grant awarded to the Yiddish Book Center supports the Great Jewish Books program, training teachers of modern Jewish literature and culture at the secondary school level and above, while also developing an ever-growing collection of textual, audio, and visual materials designed to support those teachers.

“We were fortunate to receive very ambitious, high quality LOIs that reflect the diversity and vibrancy of Jewish life today,” said Barry Finestone, President and CEO of the Jim Joseph Foundation. “Now, we are excited to move forward with these cohorts in educator training and leadership development—two areas that the Foundation views as critical to creating excellent Jewish education.”

In announcing the awards, the Foundation noted that the 10 Jewish Educator Professional Development grants are, by design, a diverse cohort of organizations, types of programs, and types of educators targeted. The opportunity to fund these different programs represents a strong strategic fit with the Foundation’s interest in investing in talent for the Jewish education sector. If successful, this set of investments will lead to more than 500 Jewish educators receiving quality, intensive professional development over the upcoming four years.

Yiddish Book Center President and Founder, Aaron Lansky, noted, “The grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation will allow us to bring in-depth knowledge of modern Jewish literature and culture to classroom teachers, who in turn will share what they learn with students of their own. The result will transform the scope of Jewish education for generations to come.” This new program will build on the work that has been done with teachers over the past few years. The Great Jewish Books program will offer an extended, month-long summer seminar; a conference; virtual communities; and continued development of the Great Jewish Books program website of teaching resources.

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