XXI Annual International Conference on Jewish Studies held in Moscow
We are pleased to report about the successful completion of XXI Annual International Conference on Jewish Studies that was held from February 3 to 5 at hotel “Cosmos” in Moscow. The Conference was organized by Sefer Center and supported by the Joint Distribution Committee, Genesis Foundation, Russian Jewish Congress and Euro-Asian Jewish Congress.
This year about 200 scholars, university professors, young researchers from CIS and Baltic countries, Israel, USA, UK, Germany, Georgia, Czech Republic, Poland and Brazil participated in the conference. The conference was attended by various guests, honorary representatives of sponsors and the Jewish community, the employees of the Israeli Embassy, academic figures and workers of education, journalists and students.
The XXI International Conference on Jewish Studies was opened with a greeting by the Chief Rabbi of Russia Berl Lazar. In his speech Rabbi Lazar congratulated Sefer Center with its twentieth anniversary and the Joint fund with its the centennial. He noted that the existing long-term alliance between the two organization fosters the development of knowledge for the benefit of the Jewish community. The subjects of the importance of the Jewish studies revival in the FSU, the role of the Sefer Center in this process and the invaluable contribution of the sponsors that has supported its programs for many years have arisen in other welcoming speeches as well. The guests and participants were welcomed by: Chairman of the Academic Council of the Sefer Center and the Secretary General of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress Michael Chlenov, Director of the Sefer Center Victoria Mochalova, Director of the JDC in the CIS Alik Nadan, Director of the Genesis Foundation in the CIS Marina Suslova, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Dutch Jewish Humanitarian Fund Ronny Naftaniel. In particular, Ms. Suslova named Sefer Center as one of the most successful projects that combines successful development “live spark”. One of the father-founders of Sefer Center Honorary Vice-president of the JDC Ralph Goldman addressed the audience in his video speech. Mr. Goldman noted that the JDC, being an initiator of the idea of creating the Center for University Teaching of Jewish Studies in Moscow, gave only external support, while it was Rashid Kaplanov and Victoria Mochalova created the center and gave it its name “Sefer”.
Opening plenary lecture was continued with Professor Moshe Rosman’s (Bar-Ilan University, Jerusalem) report “How Jewish is Jewish history?”.
The session devoted to the American Jewish Distribution Committee “Joint” on the occasion of its centennial became another significant part of the conference opening. Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Porath, Prof. Michael Beizer , Prof. Michael Mitsel and Anita Wiener (with video presentation) as the representatives of the JDC from New York and Jerusalem in their reports covered the various issues related to the history of the fund on the territory of the Former Soviet Union. The second part of the session “JDC: 100 years” was held on the second day of the conference .
At the second plenary meeting of the grants were awarded to them . prof. J. Wiener , as well as presentations of the latest publications on Jewish Studies . Participants of the conference , research centers and publishing houses presented their latest publication.
The conference program was split into sessions, covering a wide range of topics, reflecting various areas of Jewish studies (Biblical and Talmudic studies, Jewish thought, Jewish history of different periods, History of Jews in the USSR, History of Jews in the Russian Empire, the Judeo-Christian relations, the Holocaust, Israeli Studies, language and literature, Jewish art, Music, Architecture and Movies, Ethnology, Demography, Jewish education, Jewish Museology).
On February 4 the round table “Sefer - 20 years of activity” was held, gathering the leading figures in the field of education in Jewish studies in Russian. Apart from the history and successes of Sefer Center, the participants discussed the development of the Jewish studies discipline in the CIS and Baltic countries . The round table was attended by Cyril Aslanov , Simon Goldin , Ilya Dvorkin , Valery Dymshits, Leonid Katsis, Irina Kopchenova, Mark Kupovetsky, Alexander Lokshin, Arkady Kovelman, Victoria Mochalova, Jonathan Porath, Matvey Chlenov, Anna Shaevich, Shaul Stampfer, Elena Nosenko-Stein, Dmitry Elyashevich .