Two collection volumes based on Sefer’s Field Schools in Latgale and Belarus are added to the website library
Two collective volumes based based on Sefer’s Field Schools in Latgale and Belarus were added to the library of our website (pdf versions). The presentation took place in the Jewish museum on July 9 and was organized in cooperation with the Research Center of the Museum.
This book represents the results of expeditions to Latgale (Eastern Latvia) organized by the “Sefer” Center in 2011–2012. The main subject of the research is the image of Jews from the point of view of their non-Jewish neighbors. The expeditions were carried out in those towns where Jews represented a significant part of the pre-WWII population, and where they played a significant role in the cultural and economic life: Preili, Kraslava, Daugavpils, Rezekne and others. A large number of interviews were conducted with the older representatives of the local population (Russians, Latvians (Latgalians), Belorussians and Poles). The goal of the interviews was to obtain an image of the towns (which can be called shtetls), as reflected in the stories of the locals. “Oral history”, memories of ethnic neighbors, the idea of the Jew as “the Other”, non-Jews’ view of Jewish traditions, language, appearance, religion and places of worship – all this helps to construct a model of a multi-ethnic society in the first half of the XXth century.
The book consists of two parts. The first part is composed of annotated publications of the expedition materials, in which the texts of the interviews are published with authorial comments. The second part contains articles based on oral, archival and literary sources, dedicated to the history of Jews in Latvia in the XXth century, to the image of Jews in literature, etc.
The research was carried out by folklorists, social anthropologists and historians specialized in the study of ethnic stereotypes, cultural contacts and transformation of the traditional community in the face of modernization. The research team included students and research fellows from the State Republic Center of Russian Folklore (Moscow), the European University at Saint-Petersburg, the University of Tartu, Daugavpils University and the University of Latvia (Riga).
Collective Volume The Shtetl of Zheludok in Contemporary Cultural Memory / Editor-in-chief Irina Kopchenova. Sefer Center, Moscow, 2013.
The book contains archival, memoir, ethnographic, and epigraphic materials on the Jewish life in the shtetl of Zheludok. The materials for the book were collected during the field school-expedition on Jewish ethnography and epigraphy which took place in Zheludok from 22–July 2012. The expedition was organized by Moscow Center for University Teaching of Jewish Civilization “Sefer” in cooperation with the Center for Judeo-Slavic Research, Institute for Slavic Studies RAS, and Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno. The historical description of the Jewish community of Zheludok is supplemented by the oral information received from the local residents of Zheludok and memoirs of Zheludok-born Miron Mordukhovich. These oral data reflect the perception of the Jews, their everyday life, customs, traditions, and folklore through the eyes of the local Belorussian and Polish inhabitants. Furthermore, these data also provide information on the mythologized perception of the Jews by the local Slavic population. The illustrated catalogue covering about 300 tombstone inscriptions from the local Jewish cemetery constitutes a special part of the book. The book also publishes archival documents related to the Jewish history and architecture of Zheludok.