The Nevzlin Center events for 2010

2010 was an extremely busy year for the Nevzlin Research Center for Russian and East European Jewry at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

The Nevzlin Center simultaneously coordinated and supervised three large research projects:

  • Migrations Study project: The aim of the project is to reinsert the issue of the Jewish migration from and within Eastern Europe into the study of modern Jewish history, as well as to return the study of East European Jewish migrations to the wider fields of migration and Diaspora studies. On June 2-3, 2010, the Nevzlin Center hosted in Jerusalem the inaugural workshop, which brought together twelve scholars from America, Europe and Israel. The project team is focused on the following areas: a synoptic analysis of government policies and their affects on Jewish migration from 1881-1939, the role played by cities in the migration process, and the decisions that people made when debating migration.
  • Project for the documentation of the Jewish heritage of Galicia and Bukovina: The project site was enriched by new material with the uploading of the complete documentation of the Jewish cemetery in Solotvin (approximately 1,500 tombstones). Intensive work also began on uploading archival catalogues and other materials valuable for historians and all those who take an interest in the history and culture of the Jewry of Galicia. While work is continuing on the website, a second research expedition to Galicia in cooperation with Russian and Ukrainian partners was conducted in July-August 2010 in Nadvirna (also known as Nadvorna). http://www.jewishgalicia.net/
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  • The digitization project of the St. Petersburg Judaica collection: In 2010 the Nevzlin Center continued work on the digitalization of the materials in the possession of the Archives at the Petersburg Judaica Institute. A total of 2,328 photographs were scanned, and 10 hours’ worth of audio recordings and 41 hours of video recordings were digitized. Among these materials, especially noteworthy are the collection of photographs of the life of the Jewish community of Leningrad during the years of “refusal” (1970s-1980s), materials pertaining to the research and study expedition in Central Asia during 1992, photographs of Jewish landmarks in Ukraine, Belorus, Latvia, and Lithuania, and audio- and video-interviews conducted in 1988-1992, including some unique recordings of Jewish folklore in Yiddish. The total to date consists of 4,461 photographs digitized, and 110 hours of audio and 87 hours of video recordings. At present, work has also begun on creating a computerized database using the archival materials. A technical work plan has been developed for proceeding with work on the database, and initial tables containing descriptions of the materials have been prepared.

Promoting the scholarly dialogue among the researchers in the field, the Nevzlin Center team organized two research seminars for doctoral students. The first was comprised of Israeli Ph.D. students, the second was a gathering of the International Forum Alumni workshop (the International Forum for Young Researchers of Russian and East European Jewry is an ongoing program coordinated by the Nevzlin Center). Young researchers had the opportunity to participate in discussions about ongoing research and be exposed to various methodological approaches.

In October 2010 in Jerusalem the Nevzlin Center in collaboration with Ukrainian Jewish Encounter Initiative and the Israel Museum has mounted the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter that has focused on the issues of cultural interaction, representation and memory.

The Nevzlin Center 2010 annual research grants and prizes competition was completed. This year eleven recipients received grants and one researcher was selected for the prize award (in 2009 only three young researchers were selected). It is important to note that young scholars, who used to receive the Nevzlin Center grants, are already teaching courses at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

The Nevzlin Center has persistently seeks out and finds new friends and partners who can share in both the content-related and the financial aspects of the projects.

The Dubnow Institute in Leipzig and the Hebrew University provided additional support for the Forum Alumni workshop, while the Israel Historical Society, Tel Aviv and Beer Sheva Universities were partners in organizing the seminar for Israeli doctoral students. Indiana University has expressed readiness and interest in becoming a partner in the project for the study of migrations. The project for the study of Galicia is progressing in close contact and cooperation with a number of organizations in Russia and Ukraine, while Ben Zvi Institute has initiated its own project for the study of the Jewish community of Central Asia, thus complementing and furthering the Nevzlin Center’s project for the digitization of the St. Petersburg collection of Central Asian Jewish materials.

The Nevzlin Center has ambitious plans for the next year when it intents to continue with the annual research grants and prizes competition in the field of the East European Jewish Studies. At June 2011 the Nevzlin Center together with the Dubnow Institute in Leipzig and Boston University will organize the International Forum for young researchers of the East European Jewry, which will take place in Lvov, Ukraine. The Nevzlin Center will also keep on with its large research projects: the Jewish Migration Study and the documentation of the Jewish heritage of Galicia and Bukovina.