Winter School on Jewish Studies in Moscow
February 2nd - 6th, 2016

"Migrations: Peoples, Ideas, Meanings"


The school was organized by "Sefer" Center and International Center for University Teaching of Jewish Civilization, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, supported by Genesis Foundation and Israel Cultulral Center in Moscow.

Migration is one of the most important ideas of moderna civilization. It is the moving of peoples, ideologies, cultures and meanings. This phenomenon is especially significant for the Jewish history - Jews changed the centres of their culture many times during the centuries.
Geographical migration happens together with cultural one: moving from one region to another, Jews were bringing something new to every accepting culture, and also accepted something from it.

Today we live in the world, where mass migration is a part of everyday life, therefore the experience of Jewish people with its constant integration and inter-cultural dialogue is very topical.

The program is available here (in Russian)
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This year 90 people took part in the school (including the lecturers).The participants could to chose one course in each session (i.e. to attend 3 courses daily).

1st session:
  • Dmitry Kopeliovich (HUJI, Jerusalem) "Jeremiah as the Prophet of Exile: between Judea, Babylon and Egypt"
  • Vladimir Mesamed (HUJI, Jerusalem) "Iranian Jews and Migrational Processes"
  • Zeev Levin (HUJI, Jerusalem) "Evacuated Jews and Jewish Refugees in the USSR during the Great Patriotic War"
2nd session:
  • Mikhail Seleznyov (RSUH, Moscow), Victoria Gordon (RAS, Saint Petersburg) "Was there a Cult Prostitution in the Ancient Middle East?"
  • Zeev Khanin (Ariel University of Samaria) "Repatriants, Emigrants and Refugees: Migrational Processes and the Jewish State in the Contemporary Period"
  • Semion Goldin (HUJI, Jerusalem) "East-European Jews in 1914-1924: Refugeness, Deportations, Repatriations"
3d session:
  • Dmitry Bratkin (Saint-Petersburg State University) "The Antique View on the Male Circumcision: Adaptation and Desadaptation of the Jewish Minority in the Greece-Roman World"
  • Eugeny Varshaver (RAS, Moscow) "Ethnicity, Migration, Integration"
  • Oleg Budnitskiy (HSE, Moscow) "In Motion: Russian Jews-Emigrants in 1933-1945"
Student had also an option to chose anethnographic practice instead of the lectures. The curators of this group were Svetlana Amosova, Maria Kaspina and Olga Belova. Participantsworked on creation of the biggest database on the post-Soviet space dedicated to the Jewish ethnography, oral history and epigraphics, particularly they discussed the system of tags and keywords, upload the materials to the base etc.
In the second half of the day students could take part in the epigraphic seminar (conducted by Motl Gordon, Tamara Solomatina and Mikhail Vasilyev). At the same there was other option: to participate in the lecture or beit-midrash.

School program also included plenary lectures (by Zeev Khanin and Victor Shnirelman), round table "Refugees, Repatriation, Integraion - Jewish and Non-Jewish Experience".

In the evening students could watch movies or again take part in the beit-midrash. Film by Israel director Eran Torbiner "Bundaim" was screened in Russia only on this Sefer school. This movie was followed by the demonstration of the first version of new short movie about Sefer expedition to Smolensk in 2015.
Film The Man Who Fell To Earth was followed by lecture and discussion.


On the first day there was a workshop on storytelling, which allowed participants to get know each other.

As usual, the participants of winter school had possibility to receive new books published by Sefer Center, ask lecturers for consultation and find new friends.

Photoalbum is availablehere.