Center of Jewish and Israeli History and Culture on the basis of the Galitska Synagogue. Jointly with the Midrash Tzionit Educational Center >>>

Project “Cabinet of Jewish History and Culture” – Preparation of CD for Jewish Learning Institutions >>>

History Club “Mnemosina” >>>

The “Hanukiya” Festival >>>

The “Haggadah” Project >>>

Mobile Exhibitions >>>

Virtual Judaic Museum: >>>

School of Guides >>>

Mobile Exhibitions >>>

Center of Jewish and Israeli History and Culture on the basis of the Galitska Synagogue. Jointly with the Midrash Tzionit Educational Center

The Center of Jewish and Israeli History and Culture on the basis of the Galitska synagogue in Kiev is one of the new programs of the Jewish Studies Institute, which is carried out jointly with the Jewish Agency “Sohnut”.

The main forms of activities of the Center include expositions of Jewish and Israeli history and culture that are demonstrated in the building of the Galitska synagogue, learning programs for every category of the Jewish population of Kiev and Ukraine based upon the materials of these expositions as well as on the funds and collections of the Institute.

The exposition presents various historical materials: manuscripts, books, scrolls, slogans, official documents, works of art, religious objects, etc. Additional information can be found in special computer programs that contain a lot of materials on this topic.

The Center has four standing expositions: “Jewish History and Culture of Ukraine”, “History and Modern Stage of Development of Zionism”, “History and Present of the State of Israel”, and “Judaism – Jewish Faith and Tradition”. Expositions will be regularly changing.

The Center offers lectures, seminars, meetings, round tables, and presentations, as well as implementation of different creative projects.

This project can be of special use to the younger generation – students of Jewish schools and students of Jewish history and culture within the framework of formal education. A series of regular exhibitions opens a lot of opportunities to diversify the learning process through new forms of work, additional information, and unique materials that are unavailable to most teachers. They allow children to see objects, documents, and works of arts that reflect the Jewish history and culture firsthand, to touch the past and possibly to better realize the present of the Jewish world.

Project “Cabinet of Jewish History and Culture” – Preparation of CD for Jewish Learning Institutions

The goal of the project is development and making of a CD on different topics of the Jewish history and culture. The CDs are designed as methodical aids for teachers of Jewish schools and community centers, as well as for high school and university students and all those interested in Jewish history and culture.

The project is developed by a group of historians, researchers of Jewish literature and traditions, and teachers. The CDs are created on the basis of materials and studies of the Jewish Studies Institute and other research organizations, archives, and museums of Ukraine and other countries. Each CD contains an anthology of main texts related to this topic, research articles and in some cases a whole electronic library, copies of historical documents, photographs, maps, and reference materials. We tried to put as much information as possible on each CD.

The first stage in implementation of this project is preparation of six CDs on the following topics: “History of the Jews of Eastern Europe”, “Dreifus’ Case and Beilis’ Case”, “History of Zionism”, “History of Holocaust”, “History of Aliyah”, and “History of Jewish Literature”.

Presentations and seminars for teachers are organized for each CD.

History Club “Mnemosina”

The “Mnemosina” club was created in September 2000 with the purpose of encouraging the creative potential of the “Khesed” clients. The operation of the club can be described as “History of the Ukrainian Jewry in Docuemtns, Photographs, and Oral Stories”. Forms of activities of the Club include: research (search of documents and photographs, gathering of information, creation of a database), lectures, and excursions. The club meets four times a month (twice in the auditorium to exchange the uncovered information and listen to lectures and twice on excursions (the “Jewish Addresses of Kiev” cycle)).

This form of activities not only provides for an interesting time at the club, but also enables elderly people to do some real creative work of a rather wide range – starting with work in archives, search for information on the Jewish life in pre-revolutionary publications, and collection of interviews, and ending with preparation of materials for a bulletin, delivery of lectures, and leading of excursions.

The wide range of the topic allows each member of the team to find his/her personal niche in this project and contribute to the common work with their abilities and desires. Older people who are not able to regularly attend club meetings have become its active correspondents – they prepare materials for the bulletin and share “treasures” from their home archives.

The club was organized first of all for elderly people who want and are able to do research work and deliver lectures. Later, younger people who had interest in this topic or in the form of the club work joined them as well.

Interest in these activities is encouraged by the regular demonstration of their results – both in the bulletin and in the meetings of the club. Club members also take part in two serious projects of the Jewish Studies Institute – the search for old photographs and documents and collection of oral interviews.

The “Hanukiya” Festival

This program was founded in 2000. The purpose of the program is popularization of the Jewish cinematography and films on Jewish subjects from the world cinematography.

Seven most famous films that had been awarded at prestigious international festivals were selected for the first festival: “Jacob the Liar” (director Frank Byer, Germany); “Levi the Jew” (director Didi Dangwart, Germany); “Autumn Sun” (director Eduardo Minion, Argentina); “Austeria”, (director Ezi Kavalerovich, Poland), “Korchak” (director Andjei Waida, Poland); “Landscape After Battle” (director Andjei Waida, Poland); "Jacob the Liar” (director Robin Williams, USA). More than 2,000 people attended the festival.

The festival takes place every year on the eve of Hanukkah and is always a great success. Within the framework of the festival, the following films were shown: wonderful film by Istvan Szabo «Zonenstein” (Germany), “We Need Each Other So Much” (Czech Republic), and other foreign films, as well as domestic pre-war film “Seekers of Happiness” (director V. Korsh-Sablin) and modern documentary films “Save Russia” (director I. Margolina and D. Lyakhovetsky), “Farewell, USSR” and “March of the Living” (director A. Rodnyansky), “Victor Nekrasov at “Svoboda” and at Home” (director R. Nakhmanovich), and others, as well as animated cartoons by Y. Kasavina.

Films were presented by the Embassy of the Republic of Argentina, the German Embassy, the Goethe Institute, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Ukraine, the US Embassy, and by other organizations. The festival also shows films from the film fund of the Jewish Studies Institute. The show of films in foreign languages is accompanied with simultaneous interpretation.

Virtual Judaic Museum:

The idea of creation of a Jewish museum in Ukraine has been on the minds of many researchers and public figures of Ukraine, our foreign colleagues and partners for many years. Many materials that exist in the territory of Ukraine and that have already been described could make the foundation of such a museum. However, the practical implementation of this idea involves a whole number of problems, which are unlikely to be resolved in the near future.

As an alternative, we tried to create an exposition in the internet. The virtual Judaica museum is an experimental project that was started in 2001 (?). It makes it possible not only to present a lot of materials from the museums of different cities of Ukraine that are usually difficult to access because they are kept in store rooms, archives, or private collections. Unlike stationary museums and temporary exhibitions, this museum will be available to residents of all cities and countries at any time.

The fund of our museum is based upon the collection of the Jewish Studies Institute. One of the sections is the “Jewish Artists of Ukraine” gallery which presents works of more than 20 artists. A special section is devoted to photo-artist Dmitry Peisakhov, whose main topic is the revival of Jewish life in Ukraine since the beginning of the 1990s.

The “Jewish Decorative Arts” section presents materials from the collection of famous collector S. An-sky, which were kindly offered by the Oriental Studies Department of the Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine in Kiev (introductory article by Irina Sergeyeva), and Jewish ritual silver – Torah crowns, pointers to help read the Torah, etz-chaim, Torah scrolls, and other religious objects from the collection of the Museum of Valuables of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.

The exposition also has a part of the Jewish Studies Institute’s collection of family photographs of the 19th – beginning of the 20th century, leaflets of Jewish parties and movements of the beginning of the 20th century, photographs of synagogues and Jewish tombstones of Ukraine, and ancient Jewish books.

The exposition is periodically replenished, with new sections and exhibits being added to it.

School of Guides

The learning program “School of Guides” was started in 2002 for the Ukrainian branch of the World Student Organization “Hilel”. The program envisaged a year-long study program, including weekly lectures, visiting museums, memorial sites, and trial tours of school students.

On top of this, the Jewish Studies Institute organizes seminars to train guides for its mobile exhibition projects. Students of Jewish and non-Jewish schools and university students from different cities of Ukraine are selected to work with groups of schoolchildren. Participants in the program undergo training in special seminars that are organized for each new exposition. Then, theydevelopthetextoftheirtours. They can use the knowledge they receive at the seminars to awake interest in their visitors.

“MobileSchool” Expedition

Annual tours around Ukraine, organized for researchers and teachers of Jewish history and culture in the former USSR, have become a good tradition here.

In August 1999, the Jewish Studies Institute, jointly with the St. Petersburg Jewish University, the Center of Arts at the Jerusalem University, with the assistance of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, organized the first “mobile school” in Ukraine to gather artists and arts critics from Israel, Russia, and Ukraine. The route of the tour covered the towns of the Lviv, Khmelnitsky, Vinnitsa, Zhitomir, and Kiev regions. Expeditions of Jewish writier, public figure, ethnographer, and folklorist Semen An-sky (Shlomo-Zainvil Rappoport) went to the same places in Podolia, Volyn, and Southern Galicia in 1911-1913.

The trip was organized in order to draw the attention of modern artists, art critics, and researchers of the Jewish culture of Ukraine. The participants in the expedition could see many synagogues, Jewish cemeteries with tombstones dated back from the 16th to the beginning of the 20th century, Jewish houses that have been preserved in some small towns, and tried to experience the atmosphere of shtetle life, which has become history for us.

The participants in the expedition made a lot of pictures and drawings, met with local lovers of the Jewish past, and workers of museums of local lore and communities.

The first exhibition of works of the artists who took part in the tour was held during their visit to Ostrog, right under the sky. Thefirstviewerswerelocalresidents. Later, works done on the basis of the expedition drawings of artists from St. Petersburg and Kiev were exhibited at the Jewish Community Center “Sunflower” at the Community Festival of Jewish Book. Exhibitions were also organized on the basis of this expedition in Jerusalem and Moscow. The Jewish Studies Institute has collected an archive of the expedition (more than 400 photographs), a number of books and objects of Jewish life.

Suchexpeditionsbecameannual. The program of these tours include excursions, lectures, conversations, search for new excursion objects, creative, and research work. They are organized collectively by the “Sefer” Center of Research Workers and Teachers of Jewish Studies in CIS and Baltic Universities, the “Petersburg Judaica” Center, the Chase Center for Development of Jewish Studies in Russian (Hebrew University in Jerusalem), and the Jewish Agency for Israel “Sohnut”.

The last expedition to Jewish shtetls of Ukraine took place on July 1-11, 2004, with the support of the “Avi Chai” Foundation. One of its results was the photo-exhibition organized by the Galitska synagogue in Kiev.

The “Haggadah” Project

The goal of the project is organization of exhibitions of modern Jewish artists of Ukraine and Ukrainian artists who are interested in the Jewish life, history, and culture.

The project focuses on the search of Jewish artists, both those who are working today and those whose heritage is preserved in museums and private collections. More than 20 exhibitions have been organized within the framework of the “Haggadah” project. They took place in various galleries and museums of Kiev. Works of Jewish artists are also exhibited in the exhibitions in London and in Moscow.

The Jewish theme is presented in a wide range of plots, genres, and styles. They include nostalgia for the past Jewish life in cities and towns, the tragedy of the Holocaust, wise faces of old men in the portraits of Mikhail Vainstein, Mikhail Turovsky, Leonid Balaklav, and Kim Levich, the greatness of the Promised Land, images  of Jewish religious symbols and traditional festivals.

As a result of this work, the Jewish Studies Institute has gathered a large collection of paintings, graphics, and photographs that were presented as gifts by the authors for their further exposition in other exhibitions. Works of the artists who are taking part in the project were reproduced in the Jewish calendar for 2000-2001 published by the Jewish Studies Institute.

Mobile Exhibitions

Work on organization of mobile exhibitions started in 2001.

The Institute organized topical expositions on different themes of the Jewish history and culture for a wide circle of viewers in Ukraine – in city museums and galleries, community centers, public organizations, and Jewish schools.

Expositions are created on the basis of the collection of the Jewish Studies Institute, of the funds of the Jewish arts in museums of Ukraine, collections of the Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine, and other archives.

Mobile exhibitions are prepared in the form of stands with explanatory text and photographs which are moved for temporary exposition to different cities of Ukraine. Expositionsareaccompaniedwithlecturesofexperts. Sometimes, localstudentsofJewishandnon-Jewishschoolsbecomeguidesintheseexhibitions. They undergo training at a special seminar and prepare their own excursions independently on the basis of the materials they receive there.

The following expositions have been prepared since the beginning of the project:
- Children – Victims of Terror
- Exhibition in Memory of Anna Frank
- Jewish Life in Austria
- Sources of Tolerance

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