25th International Annual Conference on Jewish Studies


The 25th Annual International Conference on Jewish Studies was held In Moscow on February 4-6, 2018. 170 scientists from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Israel, Great Britain, USA, France, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Georgia, Italy, Japan, as well as numerous guests, students participated in it. The conference was organized by the Sefer Center with the support of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, the Russian Jewish Congress, Genesis Philanthropy Group, the Washington Institute of Israel, the European Association for Jewish Studies, the “Joint” Distribution Committee and the Presidential Grants Fund.

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The variety of problems discussed at the conference was reflected in the structure of its program, which included 28 sections devoted to traditional areas of Jewish studies (biblical and talmudic studies, Jewish thought, Jewish history of different periods, Judeo-Christian relations, the Holocaust, Israeli studies, languages and literature, art, ethnology, museum and archival sources, etc.).
Last year's experience of combining this international conference with a youth conference, which received a positive evaluation, was continued this year, thanks to which young researchers could submit their reports to the discussion of the academic community.
Please see the program here:

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At the opening of the conference, the Ambassador of the State of Israel in the Russian Federation, Mr. Harry Koren and the Director General of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, one of the sponsors of the conference, Vitaly Ben Yakov, delivered their welcoming speech.

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The presentation of new editions of the Center "Sefer" and the Institute of Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences was held as well. The following books were presented:

"Jews of Borderlands: Smolensk Region"
"Tirosh. Works on Jewish Studies" Vol.17;
Collection of papers "Prohibitions and Prescriptions in the Slavic and Jewish Cultural Traditions", Vol.19 (which includes the papers delivered during the annual International Judeo-Slavic Academic Conferences)
"Khazar Almanac", Vol.15.

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ProfessorEugene Wiener grantwas awarded during the plenary session. The grantees of this year are Maria Kaspina (RSUH), Ilya Lensky (Museum of Jews of Latvia, Riga) and Andrei Shpirt (MSU). By tradition, the conference also included a presentation of the latest publications on Judaica, published in the last year by colleagues from different countries.

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According to the feedback of all the participants the conference was well prepared and held at a high level, it was very interesting and useful in various ways. Presented speeches are getting more diverse on topics, there are topical sections, and the conferences year by year become better and more informative, which was noted as a constant trend. Not only the high level of reports and their discussions were noted, but also the warm, friendly, soulful atmosphere that prevailed at the conference.

Photo Gallery of the Conference on our website please seehere.

Our sponsor's feedback:

Natalie Schneiderman, Director for Grant Activities of the Genesis Philantropy Group
This is the largest scientific international conference in the post-Soviet space, entirely devoted to Jewish Studies. Of course, it is important for the exchange of knowledge, the transfer of experience and the formation of a united research community. But the conference "Sefer" has additional meaning. Young scientists and teachers, supported by the Genesis Philantropy Group for a long time and systematically, will be able to improve the quality of educational programs in their independent research work and will demonstrate by their personal example how studying the language, history, literature of the Jewish people helps young people to strengthen their self-awareness and involvement in community life.

Participants' Comments:

Julia Oreshina (Tbilisi)
It was my first participation at the international conference organized by Sefer, and I should admit that it exceeded my expectations. Many interesting people, extremely insightful, motivating and brainstorming discissions, plenty of useful contacts – I regret I wasn’t able to be present at more than 1 session at the time and to hear several presentations simultaneously it happened many times that 2-3 very panels that were interesting for me were ongoing simultaneously, and the choice was hard. Huge thanks to the organizers!

Andrei Raluca-Ioanna (Bucharest)
I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in this conference and I have welcomed the chance to meet fellow researchers from Europe and Israel. I believe the exchange I have had with those I have spoken to has been very fruitful and I hope to stay in touch and to collaborate with them in future.

Esther Zyskina (Jerusalem)
I am very thankful for the opportunity to participate in such a conference and to present my research in front of more experienced colleagues. I am sure it will have positive effect on my future scientific work. Although my paper was not particularly dedicated to the history of Jewish subethnical groups, I was eventually reassured that every talk in our section was in its place. The discussion that arose after my presentation will surely influence my research methods. I was glad to hear presentations on the topics that were new for me, as it is always interesting to get an insight in other researchers work. I hope to continue this great experience next year.

Svetlana Pogodina (Riga)
That was a very useful discussion, which gave me opportunity to continue my research on the image of the Wandering Jew in the Latvian folklore.

Przemyslaw Zawada (Wroclaw)
Conference in Moscow was unique experience for me and definitely I do not regret that I took part in it. Organizers did a great job, hotel and food were good, so there was no problem with any additional services. All information was also provided before the conference, so no one should feel bad in Moscow during the conference.
I just a bit regret the fact that all panels were dominated by Russian language. I would recommend to make next time panels only in English or somehow advice young researchers to present their works in English. It will make the conference even more interesting. However, just to sum up, conference was very good and I am looking forward to participating next year.

Alex Valdman (Jerusalem)
For me, the participation in the XXV Sefer Conference was an inspiring and enriching experience. It was an important opportunity to share the results of my research, to meet colleagues from Russia and elsewhere, to share ideas, and learn on new approaches and research projects.

Joanna Dyduch (Wroclaw)
Thank you very much for giving an opportunity to participate in this fantastic conference - it was really a great event at all levels. Hope to meet you again, maybe in Poland, maybe in London or in Moscow!


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Dear colleagues,
SEFER Center is pleased to announce the25th International Annual Conference on Jewish Studiesthat will take placein Moscow on February 4-6, 2018.
The conference programme will include sections reflecting the traditional areas of Jewish studies (Biblical and Talmudic Studies, Jewish Thought, Jewish History, Judeo-Christian Relations, the Holocaust, Israeli Studies, Languages and Literature, Art, Ethnology, Demography, Jewish Genealogy, Museums and Archives, etc.). We also welcome topics that require interdisciplinary approaches.

Talks of graduate students and young researchers will be included in the youth panels of the conference with the participation of discussants invited specifically for this event.

Presentation of scientific papers on Judaica published last year will also take place. This section is usually of great interest. If you wish to submit new published works, please contact us so we will include it in the program.

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To apply for the conference please fill inthis online form.
The deadline for the applications is November 1, 2017.
We will inform you about the results and send all the organizational details before November 15, 2017.

We advise you to plan your speech for 20 minutes. Conference languages are Russian and English (without translation).

Organizers provide accommodation and meals for the participants of the conference. Thanks to the support of the European Association for Jewish Studies and Genesis Philanthropy Group, several travel grants for graduate students and young researchers up to 40 years will be available.

The full program of the conference will be published on our website after January 10, 2018.

We will be glad to see you at the conference!

Best regards,
Organizing Committee