For millennia, European Jewish culture has represented “the other” for Europe, necessary for Europe’s self-definition. At the same time, however, in the narrower sense of Judaism, and in the broader dimension of Jewish culture, Jews were at the birth and development of the European cultural sphere as we know it today. This phenomenon of the dual position of the Jewish minority in relation to the majority, which is not entirely unusual for Jewish Diaspora communities, manifested itself most distinctly on the European continent. The basic intention of the proposal is to encourage debate and reflection on the relevance of the European Jewish experience for contemporary Europe.
The main objective of the proposed project is to map the European Jewish heritage and thinking from an interdisciplinary point of view and to create a theoretical approach attempting to respond to current European challenges of social inclusion, non-discrimination and equality issues.
These objectives will be achieved during two subsequent phases. The initial one involves research, i.e. a data collection and analysis. In the second phase, as a follow-up, a collective monograph under the working title: ‘United in Diversity’ – An Interdisciplinary Study of Contemporary European Jewry and Its Reflection will be published.
There are seven main participants from four different universities (Charles University, Prague; Tel Aviv University, Moses Mendelssohn Centre at University at Potsdam and Comenius University in Bratislava) who will carry out the project. Prof. Jiří Holý and Dr. Marcela Zoufalá from CUNI, Prof. Dina Porat and Dr. Haim Fireberg from TAU, Prof. Dr. Julius H. Schoeps and Dr. Olaf Glöckner from MMZ/UP, and Prof. Dr. Eduard Nižňanský from CU.
Exploration of the given subject, which will be presented in various aspects under this project, aspires to achieve a deeper understanding of European identity through its reflection in Judaism.
Specific activities are a Data collection / analysis; Learning / teaching material – an Academic publication; a Website; a Transnational project meetings and a conference.
The project is divided into three main topics that three research groups are dedicated to. The first group will work under the name “Representation of Jews and Judaism in Central European Cultures and Literatures”. The second work group will be “Contemporary Prospects for European Jews: Between Assimilation, Integration, ‘Jewish Renaissance’ and New Anti-Semitism”. The third work group will be “The New Jewish/Israeli Diaspora in Europe – Roots, Reasons, Ethnic Identity and Patterns of Integration”.
The research will greatly benefit from the approach of multidisciplinary synergies and cross-fertilization which will be applied not only during the data collection but also in the final stage of results interpretation and analysis.
There are two different types of results achieved by this project: outputs and outcomes. The most significant intellectual outputs are: (1) a collective monograph with the working title: ‘United in Diversity’ – An Interdisciplinary Study of Contemporary European Jewry and Its Reflection. This result is based on extensive research fieldwork, i.e. (2) data collection and analysis in several different European countries, which represents the second output. The third meaningful output will be a newly established virtual platform, (3) a website which will be called “The European Jewish Experience”.
Among the results of the project will be also listed the intangible ones. – The outcomes, include increased knowledge and improved abilities in the given field due to mutual learning and sharing of each other’s views and experiences. A raised socio-cultural awareness, which is simultaneously one of the main priorities of the project, might also certainly be concidered as an added value. These outcomes will be specially developed during the planned Transnational project meetings and a Multiplier event – a conference.
The proposed project has a very wide and complex effect on all local, national and even international – mainly European – levels. There are four target groups identified that will be reached and involved by different approaches.
(1) university students, PhDs and post-docs
(2) faculty members and researchers
(3) press and general public
(4) public actors, civil society representatives, and the European Commission
Interested academic and non-academic groups and individuals from all over the world will have free access and will be invited to share and discuss the results of the proposed innovative study. The intellectual outputs described above will be available through the Erasmus+ Project Results Platform.