AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – The Yiddish Book Center in Amherst has been awarded the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries.
At the White House Thursday, the center was awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Service by first lady Michelle Obama. It was one of only ten institutions from around the country that received the award Thursday.
The goal of the center, located on the campus of Hampshire College, is to tell the whole Jewish story. They do that by rescuing and translating Yiddish books from all over the world and making them available to the public. Over the last 30 years, they have collected more than 1,000,000 books.
The Yiddish Book Center is a non-profit. In addition to books, they also organize educational programs that aim to help people broaden their understanding of modern Jewish identity. Oral History Project Director Christa Whitney explained for 22News what this involves.
“Training small groups of people and then empowering them to go into the community and bring back what they’ve learned, and educate their own peers is I think one of the innovative approaches and perhaps why we were recognized,” Whitney said.
The Yiddish Book Center also has online resources available for anyone who can’t get to their building in Amherst.