Summer school on Jewish Studies "Jews as Strangers: symbol and everyday life"

August 5-9, 2020

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On August 5-9, 2020 a summer school on Jewish Studies "Jews as Strangers: symbol and everyday life" was held. The school was organized by the Sefer Center in cooperation with the International Center for University Teaching of Jewish Civilization, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Institute of social and humanitarian Sciences of Tyumen state University. The event was made possible by the support of the Genesis Philanthropy Group, the Russian Jewish Congress and JOODS Humanitair funds.

For the first time in the entire existence of the Sefer Center, the school was held in an online format. Thanks to this, 113 students, postgraduates and young researchers from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Germany, Israel, France, and the Czech Republic were able to participate in the school. Many students noted in their reviews that only the online format allowed them to join the program. The teaching staff was also international: we had 22 lecturers and hosts of seminars and evening cultural programs from Russia, Israel, Great Britain, Germany, Latvia, Canada and the USA.

The pandemic and the re-emergence of xenophobic acts in the world, as well as the sharp reaction to these events in society, made 2020 a unique time when the problem of the Outsider, the phenomenon of conspiracy theories, went beyond philosophical and sociological research and became part of our daily life and news feeds. Jews traditionally become an important part of the conspiracy narrative. These and other topics were the focus of the school's anthropological stream. The second main topic of the school was the study of the experience of everyday existence of Jewish communities in the Imperial suburbs (Syria-Palestine of Modern times within the Ottoman Empire, North Africa, the Caucasus and Central Asia), as well as the General field of research of Jewish Kabbalists of Modern times and European philosophers of the twentieth century.

The school opened with a plenary lecture by Prof. Shaul Stampfer's "Some Jewish Responses to Epidemics in the Past".

The following issues were considered in two parallel lecture streams at the school:

  • The social theory of one of the Central sociological intuitions – the intuition of an Outsider;
  • How do conspiracy theories work in society, and how can they be critically investigated and deconstructed;
  • How and why there are rumors, fakes, urban legends;
  • What was the daily life of the Jewish communities of the Middle East, their relations with the local population, administration and other Jewish communities during the period of the Ottoman Empire's rule in this region (XVIXIX centuries)?;
  • Influence of Western colonialism on the legal status of the Jewish population in the East and the role of colonial heritage in the post-colonial world;
  • How the ideas of twentieth-century philosophers Louis Althusser, Gilles Deleuze and Maurice Merleau-Ponty help to better understand the philosophy of the eighteenth-century Kabbalist Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato and allow us to call him the founder of a new type of materialistic dialectic.

Course 1

Course 2

Course 3

Ilya Yablokov

Big brother: exploring conspiracy theories

Viktor Vakhshtein

Social theory of the Outsider

Alexandra Arkhipova

Jews vs. Bill Gates:

how and why there are rumors, fakes, urban legends

Maxim Gammal

Jerusalem and the surrounding area: the Jewish community of Syria-Palestine in the early Modern times (XVI-early XIX centuries)

Zeev Levin

The Jews of the East and Western colonialism

Yoel Regev

Kabbalah of Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato and problems of materialistic dialectics

In addition to lectures, the school program included 5 methodological seminars and master classes:

Ilya Yablokov " how to enroll in a doctoral program abroad»;

Ilya Yablokov " how to write a scientific grant correctly;

Alexander Vileikis, Pavel Stepantsov and Boris Grozovsky " how to understand and write complex texts;

Victoria Gerasimova, Andrey Zamoysky, Alexander Waldman and Ilya Lensky "Eastern European Judaism in the archives: General issues and regional features"

Larisa Privalskaya “How to Make English Abstracts Less Abstract and More English”

The evening program of the school was very rich. On the first day of school, Prof. Anna Shternshis held a lecture-concert "Heroes, singing in Yiddish: the forgotten music of the Second World war." Uri Gershovich and film critic Alexey Medvedev analyzed Yorgos Lanthimos 'film" the Killing of a sacred deer "as part of the film evening "God as an alien and/or alien God". The second film night was devoted to the discussion " Man as a stranger in a totalitarian state. What is the DAU project about and how to watch it? and gathered a star team -the Director of the DAU project Ilya Hrzhanovsky, philosophers Uri Gershovich and Yoel Regev, film critic Vasily Koretsky. At the end of the school, students were able to take part in a quest from the team of Dmitry Maryasis related to the theme of the school. A total of 7 teams of students participated.

Thanks to the photographer Maria Gribina-Ionova, students were able to participate in an unusual zoom photo session.

For the organizers of the school it was important to preserve all school activities academic and friendly atmosphere to help participants, even to initiate interesting and useful for future research contacts. Daily coffee breaks, during which you could consult with teachers and just chat with each other, telegram chat and quest helped to offset the lack of live communication of school participants.

Photos (photographer Maria Gribina-Ionova, Anna Shaevich and Irina Kopchenova)

Presentation of projects of the Sefer Center (operator D. Stepanov) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kb_Qq2WsAZk

Video about the school (dir. D. Stepanov, in progress)



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Summer online school on Jewish studies

Jews as Strangers: symbol and everyday life


OnAugust 5-9 ,2020 Sefer Center in collaboration with the International Center for University Teaching of Jewish Civilization, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and The Institute of social and humanitarian Sciences of Tyumen state University is planning to hold a Summer school on Judaics. The event will be supported by the Genesis Philanthropy Group and The Russian Jewish Congress.

The pandemic and the re-emergence of xenophobic speech in the world, as well as the acute reaction to these events in society, made 2020 a unique time when the problem of the Outsider, the phenomenon of conspiracy theories went beyond philosophical and sociological research and became part of our daily life and news feeds. Jews traditionally become an important part of the conspiracy narrative. These and other topics will be the focus of the school's anthropological stream. The second main theme of the school will be the study of the experience of everyday existence of Jewish communities in the Imperial suburbs (Modern Syria-Palestine within the Ottoman Empire, North Africa, the Caucasus and Central Asia), as well as the General field of research of modern Jewish Kabbalists and European philosophers of the twentieth century.

Within the framework of two parallel lecture streams the following problems will be considered at the school:

* social theory of one of the Central sociological intuitions the Outsider's intuition;

• how conspiracy theories function in society, and how they can be critically examined and deconstructed;

how and why there are rumors, fakes, urban legends;

what was the daily life of the Jewish communities of the Middle East, their relations with the local population, administration and other Jewish communities during the period of the Ottoman Empire's rule in this region (XVIXIX centuries)?);

the impact of Western colonialism on the legal status of the Jewish population in the East and the role of the colonial legacy in the post-colonial world;

how the ideas of twentieth-century philosophers Louis Althusser, Gilles Deleuze and Maurice Merleau-Ponty help to better understand the philosophy of the eighteenth-century Kabbalist Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato and allow us to call him the founder of a new type of materialistic dialectic.

Students, postgraduates and young teachers (up to 35 years old) whose interests include the study of social theory and modern philosophy, the history of Jewish communities and Judaism in General are invited to participate in the Summer school.

The School's program includes mini-courses (consisting of 4 lectures), allowing each participant to attend 3 mini-courses; plenary lectures, methodological seminars, master classes and a cultural program.

Applications for participation in the School (online application form) are accepted until July 20, 2020.

For a description of the courses, see the table below

Notifications on the results of the competitive selection for the Summer school, as well as the decision on its format (online or offline) will be sent out by July 25, 2020.