Hailey Riechelson, CC'17

Barn in Poland

Naomi Prawer Kadar Columbia Summer Program in Israel and Poland

Language of Instruction: Yiddish; English
Term: Summer

Study Yiddish, virtually, as a Naomi Prawer Kadar Fellow.


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This Columbia-led program was last offered virtually during Summer 2021 and is scheduled to be offered in person during Summer 2022. Program offerings may change from year to year including modality, location, courses, faculty, and schedule. Check the UGE website in January 2022 for updated summer 2022 program information or meet with the program's adviser to discuss your plans.

Program Overview

The Naomi Prawer Kadar Fellowship is an excellent opportunity to enhance your Yiddish studies at Columbia through a Yiddish language program. The Naomi Fellowship includes the participation in the Naomi Prawer Kadar International Yiddish Summer Program at Tel Aviv University in the summer of 2021 and in the “Exploring Yiddishland” study trip to Poland, led by a Columbia faculty member. The Fellowship is a program of the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies, together with the Department of Germanic Languages. We thank the Naomi Foundation for their generous support of the Fellowship.

Due to the pandemic restrictions, the 2021 Naomi Fellowship will be offered in a modified online iteration. The 2021 Naomi Fellowship includes tuition for a 1-credit virtual course “Exploring Yiddishland” and the programming, and tuition for an intensive four-week-long for-credit Yiddish language and literature course (80 hours, 4 credits). Both programs will be held online – with synchronous and asynchronous options. Please check with your home school regarding transfer credit policy information.

The dates:

June 23-29, 2021 Virtual “Exploring Yiddishland” course (1 credit) taught by Dr. Agi Legutko, including virtual sightseeing in Yiddishland (Krakow, Warsaw, Wroclaw, Lublin), live sessions with Yiddish experts and students from Poland, and exploration of Yiddish literature and film.

July 1-29, 2021 Naomi Prawer Kadar International Yiddish Summer Program at Tel Aviv University (4 credits), including asynchronous and synchronous language and literature study and immersive cultural programming.


This fellowship is open to CC, Barnard, GS, SEAS, SOA, SIPA, TC, JTS, and GSAS students who have maintained an overall 3.0 GPA and who by May 2021 will have completed at least 4 credit points in Yiddish language courses in Columbia Yiddish language program with a grade of “B” or higher. These four points (or more) must include at least one of the following courses:

UN1101-UN1102 Elementary Yiddish I and II

UN2101-UN2102 Intermediate Yiddish I and II

Please note Yiddish literature classes (in translation) and Yiddish for Academic Purposes cannot be counted as part of the required 4 points.

In order to obtain academic credit (4pts Yiddish II, Yiddish III, or 3pts for Yiddish IV or V) for the Naomi Prawer Kadar International Yiddish Summer Program, students need to 1) submit Tel Aviv University transcript for the course; 2) score accordingly on Columbia’s placement exam; and 3) complete the next higher level of Yiddish language class(es) with at least a grade of B+. All awardees must complete the placement exam upon return to Columbia and before registering for Fall 2021 Columbia Yiddish classes; level of placement within Columbia’s language program depends on placement test results. In addition to these credit policies, please also inquire with your home school to learn more about any additional summer transfer credit policies.


Naomi Prawer Kadar Fellows are required to write three blog posts about their Naomi Prawer Kadar Fellowship experience for the website, take a language placement test, and must submit a written report for the Naomi Foundation in English, no later than September 1, 2021.

In addition, the Naomi Prawer Kadar Fellows must commit to at least three semesters of continuous Yiddish language instruction at Columbia: either two semesters before the summer program and one after, or one semester before the summer program and two after. Thus, the Naomi Prawer Kadar Fellowship will enable students to acquire points that can fulfill the Columbia language requirement and, additionally and significantly, can count toward a Concentration in Yiddish (21 points required) or Major in Yiddish (30 points).

Please check with your home school regarding transfer credit policy information.

Financial Considerations

The Naomi Prawer Kadar Fellowship provides funding to support students participating in the program. For further information, please inquire with the program manager, listed below. For all current participants, please review the Naomi Prawer Kadar Award Letter for further details associated with the financial considerations, specifically regarding the withdrawal and deposit policies.

Student Testimonials

I was blown away! Every day presented a whole lot of new challenged as well as some routine remedies. I could definitely tell that my Yiddish was improving day by day, and it only made sense that it should. I was very pleased by the pace of learning as well and only gained excitement with more and more understanding. A nice benchmark for me was being able to understand a good amount of what was going on during the tour that we took in Bnei Brak, all in Yiddish of course. (Boaz, Summer 2019)

I had expected that participation in the Naomi Prawer Kadar Fellowship would reinforce my enthusiasm for Yiddish language and literature and reinvigorate my scholarly commitment to the field, but in fact it was more powerful—my affection for all things Yiddish has only intensified. (Elaine, Summer 2018)

There was something particularly exciting about a group of Yiddish students exploring the real Yiddishland together. The experience of reading Chelm stories on our way to the town of Chelm, or hearing a session on the significance of Krochmalna Street in Bashevis’ writing – and then walking down that very road – provided a context for the abundance of literature in which I am continuously immersed. (Pammy, Summer 2018)

My experience on the Naomi Prawer Kadar Fellowship has truly been a life changing one and has in fact done a lot to inspire my love of Yiddish. … Through the lens of the fellowship, where I got to meet Yiddishists from all over the world and learn why they studied this ever-changing language, I learned how complex the culture of this language really is. … The Naomi Prawer Kadar Fellowship offered me a ticket to be part of the community involved with studying and expanding Yiddish. (Eliana, Summer 2017)

My Fellowship experience was transformative for me because I got to see the potential of Jewish scholarship and museum work on an international level. There is so much history to preserve and remember and my trip to Poland only solidified my desire to be part of that work. For me, learning Yiddish – though rewarding on its own – was really about giving myself access to the documents and culture of my ancestors. That I got to learn the language in Israel only accentuated Yiddish’s profound and necessary impact on contemporary Jewry around the world. (Helyn, Summer 2017)

To Apply

Click the “Start Your Application" button at the top of this page.If the button doesn't appear, the program is not yet accepting applications. You will be asked to set up a short profile, which will allow us to send you relevant information about your application. Once you’ve created a profile, you will see a checklist of items that you will need to submit. These include:

  • Application questionnaire(s)
  • Personal statement
  • Writing sample in Yiddish
  • Letter of recommendation from Yiddish instructor
  • Official transcript(s)

For any additional questions and more information, see: https://www.iijs.columbia.edu/undergraduate-fellowships or contact iijs@columbia.edu.

Fact Sheet

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Dates & Deadlines

Application Deadline: 
Wednesday, March 17, 2021