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Amherst Yiddish center receives US medal from Michelle Obama

From left: author Peter Manseau, Aaron Lansky, and Michelle Obama.
Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press
From left: author Peter Manseau, Aaron Lansky, and Michelle Obama.

Here’s a surefire recipe for meeting the first lady: collect millions of irreplaceable Yiddish books over the course of 30-plus years, share the collection with 600 university and research libraries around the world, and post the full texts of 12,000 of those volumes online. Aaron Lansky began this task in 1980 and is founder of the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, which was one of 10 recipients of this year’s National Medal for Museum and Library Service . The awards were handed out by Michelle Obama on Thursday morning in the East Room of the White House. “The Center’s work chronicling the Jewish story and educating families about Yiddish and Jewish culture is outstanding,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren .

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Christopher Muther can be reached at christopher.muther@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther.