The Yiddish Book Center of Amherst, Mass. is launching a second series of weeklong seminars — called Tent: Encounters with Jewish Culture, focusing on Jewishness along with either creative writing, pop music, food, comedy or theater. Tent, a series of one-week seminars for twentysomethings, provides participants with the opportunity to explore aspects of modern culture through a Jewish lens and to delve into the vast, complex, and immediately relevant cultural side of their identity.
Tent: Encounters with Jewish Culture is partnering with some of the most dynamic cultural organizations in the country to offer ten new week-long workshops in 2014: the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies at Columbia University (Tent: Comics), the Skirball Cultural Center (Tent: Food LA), the Norman Lear Center (Tent: Pop Music), the Yiddish Book Center (Tent: Creative Writing), Tablet magazine (Tent: Journalism), the Jewish Museum (Tent: Museums), the Center for Jewish History (Tent: Food NYC), the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (Tent: The South), A Bit Off the Top/Federation CJA (Tent: Fashion), and Silverlake Independent JCC (Tent: Comedy).
In each of these seminars, 20 participants, aged 21-30, enrich their connection to a practice, medium, genre, profession, or set of issues, while also deepening their understanding of the connection between Jewishness and modern culture. They watch great performances, learn from masters in workshops and experiential sessions, eat and drink well, meet contemporary leaders in their field, find new collaborators, and join a community.
Following each of the workshops, Tent alumni take part in Tent: The List—an ongoing virtual conversation about Jewishness and contemporary popular culture. Alumni are eligible for Tent: DIY Grants. These grants provide funding to present stand-alone programs in the alumni’s local communities. A DIY program can take the form of a one-off workshop, an evening of Jew-y trivia at a local bar, a pop-up restaurant—the more collaborative and social the better. The idea is to bring the Tent experience to a larger audience, to expand the conversation, and to provide the opportunity for others to engage with aspects of contemporary Jewish culture.
Information and applications for Tent 2014 are available on the website. Twenty applicants will be accepted for each of the seminars, which are offered free to accepted participants; lodging, most meals, tickets to shows, and much more are provided (participants are responsible for the cost of transportation to the host city). Deadlines are approaching so apply now.