FIELD SCHOOL ON JEWISH ETHNOGRAPHY AND EPIGRAPHICS
(Belarus, Vitebskaya oblast)
July, 22-30, 2015
the program is available here (in Russian)
Sefer Center continues research expeditions in Belarus (before there were schools in Zheludok and Lepel). Belorussian material plays a great role in the field research of old Jewish shtetls. It helps to restorate the unknown regional differences in the traditional Jewish culture. The goal of the expedition is to reconstruct the life of Belarussian Jewish town on the base of oral edvidences and historical documents as well as the research of material objects of Jewish cultural heritage.
The school took part between 22 and 30 of July, 2015. It was organized in the partnership with the Institure of Slavic Studies (Russian Academy of Sciences) and with finanical support of Genesis Philanthropy Group (Charities Aid Foundation "Jewish Communities"), UJA Federation of NY, Russian Science Foundation and Rothschild Foundation Europe. The local administration helped a lot in åðó organization of school. Center Sefer thanks Margarita Kozhenevskaya, student of Sefer's programs, who was the initiator of this school.
30 participants took part in the school. Ethnographic group was headed by Olga Belova, PhD and Andrey Moroz, PhD. 10 ethnographs from Moscow, Voronezh, Saint-Petersburg, Tomsk, Glubokoe and Michigan collected 75 interviews with the total length of 120 hours.
Epigraphic group was lead by Mikhail Nosonovsky, PhD (Milwaukee), Mikhail Vasilyev (Voronezh - Moscow) and Alexandra Fishel (Kiev). 11 participants from Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Minsk, Borisov and Gorlovka worked on the old Jewish cemetery. They were reading and translating epitaphs, catalogizing matsevas etc. During the school the cemetery was completely described (570 tombstones).
Participants made an important and serious discovery - they found several matsevas from the 1720s and one from 1708, which are one of the oldest tombstones in Belarus.
Besides a very intensive work the program of the school included lectures (by Mikhail Krutikov, Inna Sorkina, Mikhail Nosonovsky, Vladimir Petrukhin, Andrey Moroz, Olga Belova).
There was also the concert by local singer Alexey Zhbanov - Yiddish songs translated into Belarussian.
Sefer Center plans to publish expedition's materials.
Press about the school:
More links to the publications in Russian and Belarussian can be found on the Russian page.
You can find the photos from the expedition in out gallery.
Video about the expedition (director Valentina Korabelnikova)