e.g: Grant

Winter School on Jewish Studies took place on 3d – 6th of February, 2015 in“Golitsyno”

The school was organized by Sefer Center and Chais Center for Jewish Studies in Russian (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and with financial support by Genesis Philanthropy Group, in partnership with Israel Cultural Center in Moscow and with Polish Cultural Center in Moscow.

60 students and young researchers from Belorussia, Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Germany and Czech Republic took part in the school as well as 10 lecturers from Israel (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Latvia (Museum Jews in Latvia, Riga), Poland (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan) and Russia (Moscow State University, RSUH). This year there were also young lecturers who in the past repeatedly took part in the educational programs of Sefer Center (schools on Jewish Studies, Eshnav).

The key theme of the School for the borderland as not only a geographical and national phenomenon but also as cultural, language, political and historical one, the theme of the inner and outer borders is one of the central themes in the history if Jewish nation, the big part of which lived and lives today in the diaspora. This subject has a potential for different possibilities - as dialogue, collaboration, interference and conflict.

(you can download the program of the school in Russian by clicking on the image)

The program of the School included lectures mini-courses (every participant attended 3 courses), plenary lectures and cultural-entertainment part. The mini-courses were divided into 3 streams, in every stream there were 3 courses:

1.The borders of the Cultures

- The Language Expression of the Segmention in Modern Israel Society, Cyril Aslanov (Hebrew University of Jerusalem);

- Art Cosmos of the Ancient Synagogues on the Border between Antiquity and Middle Ages, Lidiya Chakovskaya (Moscow State Univeristy);

- Illustrations to three Medieval Agadot: Jewish Self-Identification in the Art, Dilshat Khamran (Moscow).

2.The Borders of the Identity

- The Caraites of the Russian Empire: in the Search for the Identity, Maxim Gammal (Moscow State University);

- Iranian Jews: Jewish Community Surrounded by Non-Jews during 26 Centuries, Vladimir Mesamed (Hebrew University of Jerusalem);

- Holocaust in the Mass Culture, Justyna Chaya (Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznan).

3.Inner and Outer Borders

- The Jews and the Christian in the Middle Ages: the Images of the Borders and the Borders of the Images, Mikhail Maizuls (Moscow);

- The Borders of the Tradition: the Ways of the Modernization of the Traditional Jewish Society, Ilya Lurye (Hebrew University of Jerusalem);

- Inner and Outer Borders: the Jews, National Movements and National States in Eastern Europe in the First Half of the 20th Century, Semion Goldin (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and Ilya Lensky (Museum "Jews in Latvia", Riga).

Besides the mini-courses the students attended plenary lecture of Dr. Semyon Goldin Jews in the Russian and Polish Art and on the second and third day of school took part in the different workshops (M. Maizuls Medieval Art in Focus: What Can Tell the Photographs of the Details?, E. Kuznetsova Who Is the Fool? The Slow Reading of Bashevis’ Story Gimpel the Fool, M. Gordon Music Borderland: the Jewish Song on the Cultural Crossroad). In the first evening there was also an activity to motivate the acquaintance between the student organized Motl Gordon performed the game Stop! Who Goes There?: Passing the Borders.

On the evenings of second and third days the participants could watch the movies two films were shown: Europe, Europe (A. Holland, 1990) and Leviathan (A. Zvyagintsev, 2014).

On the closing of the school the students and lecturers shared their impressions, also the plans for Sefers summer programs were announced, as well as already existing projects (Webinars, Eshnav, Lecture Bureau) and new option for the funding for researches on Jewish Studies.


Feedback from the participant:

Dear Organizers of the Sefer Winter School 2015:

I would like to thank you for the perfect organization of the Winter School, in which I had aprivilege to take part. A unique feature of this Winter School was its teaching staff, as well as itschoice of lectures and remarkable professional qualities of its participants.I would like to stress few aspects of the Winter School, which were among the most significantfor me. I liked very much a teaching approach presented by I. Lenksi and S. Goldin. Theymanaged not only to combine a history of the Jewish communities in the Central Europe in theinter war period, but also to present a whole picture of the interaction between differentJewish groups and their non-Jewish counterparts. Their tandem lectures became a successfulevent, which could serve as a vivid example of the high professionalism and enthusiasm toinspire future generations of the educators.Professor V. Mesamed presented both a profound analysis of the current situation of theJewish community in Iran and its place in the framework of the general Iranian history. Hisapproach was the most adequate form to make his audiences acquainted with an introductioninto the ancient and complicated history of the Mizrachi communities in the Central Asia.Students would appreciate a proposition of the lecturer to contact him to get additionalmaterials after the School.Professor M. Gamal highlighted one of the most intriguing questions of the Jewish history ofUkraine with his presentation on the Caraites. I found out with great interest that a diversity ofthe Jewish groups in Ukraine, was not only limited to different sub groups of the Ashkenazimbut also included some other ancient Jewish communities, which left their profound impact onthe cultural and material history of Ukraine, as for example of Lutsk.I would like also underline a unique intellectual atmosphere during the Winter School, whichbecame a ground for a meeting with my colleagues from different places. I would like to stay incontact with them in the future. In conclusion, I would say few words again about the highprofessionalism of the organizers of the Winter School, who made my staying in Russia an easyone, which I as a foreign participant appreciated very much.Many consider Sefer as a one of the leading organizations of the Russian speaking academicworld in the Jewish Studies. I am interested in staying in touch with you in the future and usingSefer a meeting place with my Russian colleagues. Academic capacities of the Sefer areamazing and I would appreciate it greatly, if I could use them for working on my PhDdissertation on Jewish Soldiers in Russia and Germany in the 19th century, which I started thisyear.

Thank you!


Oleksiy Salivon (Ukraine)

PhD Student, Institute for the History of Medicine (Stuttgart, Germany)