Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Michelle Obama Presents Award to Yiddish Book Center

The First Lady awarded the Center with the National Medal for Museum and Library Service

By: Daniel Koren

Published: May 9th, 2014 in News » World

Michelle Obama Presents Award to Yiddish Book Center

The National Medal for Museum and Library Service is the highest honor bestowed in the United States to museums and libraries, awarding them for their relentless service to the community.

Ten institutions have been thus far rewarded this year. The most recent of which, the Yiddish Book Center, was inaugurated yesterday, receiving the award from the First Lady herself, Michelle Obama, and also the Institute of Museum and Library Services Director Susan H. Hildreth.

“Museums and libraries serve as anchors and provide invaluable experiences, resources and opportunities for members of their communities. The Yiddish Book Center broadens the understanding of modern Jewish identity by saving Yiddish literature and inspiring a new generation of scholars,” said Hildreth. “We are very proud to name the Yiddish Book Center as one of this year’s National Medal for Museum and Library Service winners.”

“You all are redefining what it means to lead a museum or a library in the 21st century,” the First Lady said to the winners. “All across the country –- from Brooklyn, New York, to Independence, Missouri, to Gallup, New Mexico –- you all are putting our — your programs and exhibitions up to help us expand our horizons and connect us with the rest of the world. You offer dynamic classrooms for folks of all ages, from toddlers to grandparents. You serve as a gateway to technology for so many in your communities. And as any mom with young kids will tell you, on a rainy weekend afternoon, you are a welcome haven where kids can learn and explore.”

Founder and President of the Yiddish Book Center, Aaron Lansky, alongside Peter Manseau, author of the novel Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter – which won the National Jewish Book Award – accepted the award from Obama in Washington, D.C.

Manseau, a French-Irish Catholic, was inspired to write the book after his summer internship at the Yiddish Book Center in 1996, during which he learned the language and about Jewish history and culture.

“This award is a well-deserved recognition of the Center’s efforts to preserve Yiddish books and literature for future generations,” added Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren

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