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Winter School on Jewish Studies held in Moscow

 We are proud to report on Winter School on Jewish Studies which was took place on January 31 - February 3, 2012  at the Educational Center "Dobroe" in the Moscow region. 14 lecturers from Israel and Russia came to “Dobroe” to deliver their mini-courses within the framework of the School and over 80 students, graduates and young researchers from Belarus, Latvia, Poland, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine became participants.

The academic program of the School on Jewish studies was designed and implemented by the joint effort of Moscow Center for University Teaching of Jewish Civilization Sefer and Chais Center on the development of Jewish Studies in Russian at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The financial support was provided by Avi Chai Foundation, Genesis Philanthropy Group (as part of the charity program Charities Aid Foundation “Jewish communities”), Israeli Cultural Center in Moscow.

The lecture program of the School was divided into four thematical sessions:
• “The Holocaust: History and Historical Memory” (courses: Sergey Stepanishev “Mind and Faith after the Holocaust”, Cyril Aslanov “The Languages Eliminated in the Holocaust: Yiddish, Judeo-Spanish, etc”, Arkadi Zeltser “The View of Soviet Jewish intellectuals on the fate of Jews during World War II”). This session was confined to International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is commemorate annually on January 27.
• “Prolegomena to Hasidism” (courses: Ilya Dvorkin “The Formation of the Philosophical Language of Jewish Thought: From the Middle Ages to Modern Times”, Uri Gershovich “Commentary and Interpretive Approaches to Scripture in Jewish Medieval Culture”, Michael Schneider “From Kabbalah to Hasidism”). The lectures of this session are an introduction to the seminar on the Study of Hasidism in the places of its appearance and distribution (Medzhibozh Summer School in 2012).
• “The Jewish communities: Sephardim” (courses: Simon Parizhsky “Works of Yehuda al-Harizi (Spain, XII century. – Syria, XIII century) as the crossroads of cultures”, Maxim Gammal “Traditional Jewish community: Unity in Diversity”, Galina Zelenina “Sephardim and Authority”). Both universities and informal education centers give little attention to Sephardic topics. We tried to fill this gap.
• “Israel: cultural dialogue - dialogue within cultures” (courses: Alexander Lvov “Russian Judaizers in the History of the State of Israel” Michael Pellivert “Globalization, Multiculturalism, post-Zionism: Challenges of the XXI century”, Zeev Khanin “Contemporary Israeli Diaspora: Public Dispute and Social and Cultural Portrait”).

The School program, just as usual, was not limited to lectures only. The School participants had an opportunity to take part in the Beit Midrash “The Talmud, Ideology, Representation: Hermeneutics of the Text and/or the Metaphysics of Values" (Uri Gershovich, Ilya Dvorkin, Sergey Stepanishev, Grirory Zeltser).
As one of the most remarkable events of the school we should mention the Round Table, which was held on February 2 on on topic of high relevance for the present situation in the world in general and Russia in particular “The Participation of Jews of the Diaspora in the Politics of the Countries of Residence: Past and Present". The table was chaired by Victoria Mochalova, Simon Parizhsky and Galina Zelenina. The audio and textual record of the discussion is available at Booknik website (, the video version will soon appear at our website (

The School entertainment program comprised the demonstration of the movie “Secrets” (directed by Avi Nesher, Israel, France, 2007).
The Participants watched and discussed the broad topic of "Jewish subject in the non-Jewish movie" as exemplified by “We must help each other” (directed by Ian Grzhebeyk, Czech Republic, 2000), with the brilliant simultaneous translation by Victoria Mochalova.
As is customary participants received as gifts the latest editions of Sefer Center and partner organizations.

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