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First Joint Israel-Germany Israel Studies Program

First Joint Israel-Germany Israel Studies Program

November 7, 2013

Israel Studies, Culture & Jewish Thought, Press Releases

BEER-SHEVA, ISRAEL, November 7, 2013 – Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and the Heidelberg College for Jewish Studies in Germany have announced an historic agreement to launch the first joint Israel-Germany academic program in Israel studies with a specialization in modern Jewish life and culture.

 BGU’s Dr. Paula Kabalo; Prof. Johannes Heil of Heidelberg College; BGU Rector Prof. Zvi HaCohen; BGU Deputy Rector Prof. Steven Rosen sign historic agreement


BGU’s Dr. Paula Kabalo; Prof. Johannes Heil of Heidelberg College; BGU Rector Prof. Zvi HaCohen; BGU Deputy Rector Prof. Steven Rosen sign historic agreement

“In 2014, we will mark 50 years since the resumption of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany,” said Dr. Paula Kabalo, director of BGU’s Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism and the Israel Studies International [graduate] Program.

“There is a lot of symbolism in the fact that the university that bears David Ben-Gurion’s name is establishing the first bilateral degree program between Israel and Germany.”

The joint Israel studies program, open to Israeli and German students, will be conducted at both Heidelberg and BGU’s Sede Boqer campus, which is home to the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism. The Institute is devoted to the study, documentation, and research of the Zionist movement and the history of Israel.

Established in 1982 under a special agreement between BGU and the Ben-Gurion Heritage Institute, the Institute has broad research horizons and a strong interdisciplinary nature. The Ben-Gurion Archives are also housed in the Institute.

Heidelberg College for Jewish Studies (Hochschule für Jüdische Studien-HfJS) offers a wide range of Jewish study courses and has become the leading center of Jewish scholarship in Germany.

In addition to the classic Judaic texts, such as the Bible and Talmud, students can study Jewish history, art, literature, and philosophy, as well as languages such as Hebrew, Aramaic and Yiddish.

The HfJS views itself as the successor of the great institutions of Jewish scholarship that existed in Germany in the years before the Second World War, in particular, the College of the Science of Judaism (Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums) in Berlin.

Since their instructors all emigrated or perished in the Holocaust, a renewal of Jewish learning in Germany was made possible only by importing scholars from America, Israel and other regions where Jewish life and learning continued to flourish in spite of World War II.

“This is not just another degree program, but a groundbreaking agreement between two institutions that are dedicated to the research and understanding of Israel — past, present and future,” explains Doron Krakow, executive vice president, American Associates, Ben Gurion University of the Negev.

“With the BGU Sede Boqer campus home to David Ben-Gurion’s voluminous archives and BGU’s role in the development of the Negev, it is an ideal location for this unique program.”
Hochschule für Jüdische Studien (HfJS), Heidelberg

The Hochschule für Jüdische Studien (HfJS), Heidelberg was founded in 1979. It is supported by the Central Consistory of the Jews in Germany (Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland), financed through the local and federal government, and is a fully recognized and accredited institution of higher learning. Nowhere else in Europe can Jewish studies be pursued in comparable breadth and depth. This allows the HfJS to impart to its students, both Jewish and non-Jewish, the richness and diversity of Jewish religion, history and culture within an academic context. http://www.hfjs.eu

About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University’s expertise locally and around the globe. As Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) celebrates its 50th birthday this year, AABGU imagines a future that goes beyond the walls of academia. It is a future where BGU invents a new world and inspires a vision for a stronger Israel and its next generation of leaders. Together with supporters, AABGU will help the University foster excellence in teaching, research and outreach to the communities of the Negev for the next 50 years and beyond.

Media Contact:
Andrew Lavin
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