Replicating Atonement – National Models of Apology

cf2271cd-7af4-4240-9a39-7a30dc5b4180_1.673184668ad3f1b39257a1efb5487416Students at the Weiss-Livnat program started their first week of classes with a guest lecture from historian and sociologist, Dr. Mischa Gabowitsch, of the Einstien Forum in Potsdam, Germany. Dr. Gabowitsch spoke of the 2017 book that he edited titled, Replicating Atonement: Foreign Models in the Commemoration of Atrocities, which examines what happens when one country’s experience of dealing with its traumatic past is held up as a model for others to follow. Germany is singled out as the primary example of a country whose atonement efforts are considered successful, and as such, the state has become a model for other nations dealing with their own difficult histories. 

In his lecture, Dr. Gabowitsch presented the question that most influenced his work on the book, what does it mean when we use a country’s experience as a model to apologize? What are the effects, implications, pitfalls, and promises of trying to replicate atonement? 

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Welcome, Cohort VII!

The academic year has begun, and we were so excited to meet our new students of Cohort 7! They’ve come from countries all over the world – Spain, Germany, US, Australia, and Ireland – to name a few. We pride ourselves on our multidisciplinary approach to Holocaust Studies, which is highlighted by the diversity of our student’s academic backgrounds – whether its playwriting or linguistics, history or communications – our students bring their own fresh take on how Holocaust Studies are defined today.

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New Spring Semester Course: The History of Anti-Semitism

The Weiss-Livnat MA Program is excited to announce a new course for the upcoming Spring semester – History of Anti-Semitism. This poignant course will be instructed by Dr. Shmulik Lederman, our resident expert on genocide studies and one of the academic advisors. We asked Dr. Lederman to give us an overview of the course and detail what students can expect to learn. Read what he had to say, below.

 

Weiss-Livnat Haifa: What is the importance of the program offering this course? Are students not always aware of the historical significance that religious-based anti-Semitism played in the development of the Holocaust? Is there a gap in knowledge between religious-based anti-Semitism and modern (political, race, eugenic-based) anti-Semitism?

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Dr. Shmulik Lederman

Dr. Lederman: Your question actually contains the answer: What is the relationship between the old, religious-based Jew-hatred and modern anti-Semitism? And what is the relationship between modern anti-Semitism and the “eliminationist” anti-Semitism of the Nazis? At first sight, it seems obvious that there is a strong, direct connection between these phenomena. But in fact, these remain open questions for historians of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. To put it as succinctly as I can, it is hard to believe that the Jews could play such a role in modern anti-Semitism and particularly in the Nazi worldview without the long tradition of Jew-hatred in Europe. At the same time, however, only the Nazis tried to exterminate the entire Jewish people, and they distanced themselves—particularly Hitler—from traditional religious hatred of the Jews. As your question hints, the ideological basis of modern anti-Semitism was significantly different from the traditional one, and one of the questions is whether we should take this difference as a thin cover (or changing superficial justifications) for the essential, continuing, irrational hatred of the Jews throughout European history, or should this fact make us distinguish very sharply between modern anti-Semitism and traditional Jew-hatred or Judo-phobia. These are the kinds of questions we will ask in the course, and I think they are crucial for any understanding of the history of the Holocaust.

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New Course! Entrepreneurship in Holocaust Commemoration and Education

The Weiss-Livnat International MA in Holocaust Studies is excited to announce a new and original course starting in Fall 2018; Entrepreneurship in Holocaust Commemoration and Education.

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As the world approaches a time without Holocaust survivors and when cultural, social and technological changes take place at a rapid pace, it has become imperative to consider inventive approaches to commemorate the Holocaust.

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Danny and Rivka of Cohort VI – Reflections on the past year and focus on the future

The summer semester is coming to an end and with it, another group of students is saying goodbye to the University of Haifa and Israel. Over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting some students of Cohort VI as they share their best experiences from the Weiss-Livnat program and the exciting new adventures they are starting next!

Danny Melkonovitzky is from Holon, Israel. He received his BA in Media and Communications Studies from The College of Management Academic Studies, Israel

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Danny Melkonovitzky

What was your favorite course in the Weiss-Livnat Program?

“My favorite course was Visual Culture and the Holocaust: Art and Visual Culture in Response to Fascism with Dr. Rachel Perry. My background is in media and communications studies, and analyzing visual cultural products – especially film – is my bread and butter. I felt like the course was tailored exactly to my interests.”

As an Israeli, what was the experience of studying with an international group like?

“At first I was asking myself, ‘why do so many foreign students have an interest in Holocaust studies?’ After a while, I found that it is very cool to study in a non-Israeli environment – engaging in discourse with a strong diversity of views and ideas, which are not always present within the Israeli discourse. It made the subject matter even more interesting.”

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Margarita and Hendrik of Cohort VI – Reflections on the past year and focus on the future.

The summer semester is coming to an end and with it, another group of students is saying goodbye to the University of Haifa and Israel. Over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting some students of Cohort VI as they share their best experiences from the Weiss-Livnat program and the exciting new adventures they are starting next!

Margarita Pedchenko is from Moscow, Russia. She received her BA in Jewish Studies from Moscow State University. Before joining the Weiss-Livnat Program she participated in The One-Year Jewish Studies Program at The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Paideia, Sweden (2016-2017).

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Margarita Pedchenko

Which of the courses you took this year was your favorite?

“Undoubtedly for me, the course Literature of the Shoah, with Dr. Miryam Sivan since I specialize in literary studies. It was great in terms of the contents and at the same time was effectively structured, keeping a good balance between reading the material, analyzing it through writing and discussing it in the group. Most importantly, it was not boring at all – and it is hard to compose an academic course that would be equally engaging for everyone.”

A favorite experience you had in Israel?

“The most unexpected outcome was being introduced to a grand-nephew of one of my favorite writers – Ilya Ilf. Before that, I didn’t know that his descendant lives in Israel. Another remarkable experience was learning about the existence of Miss Holocaust Beauty Pageant and talking to the participants.”

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Elizabeth and Wiktoria of Cohort VI – Reflections on the past year and focus on the future

The summer semester is coming to an end and with it, another group of students is saying goodbye to the University of Haifa and Israel. Over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting some students of Cohort VI as they share their best experiences from the Weiss-Livnat program and the exciting new adventures they are starting next!

Elizabeth Schram is from San Antonio, Texas. She received her BA in Applied Learning and Development from the University of Texas, Austin. Before joining the Weiss-Livnat Program, Elizabeth taught English as a second language in Netanya, Israel through MASA.

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Elizabeth Schram

What was your favorite course you took during your year in the Weiss-Livnat Program?

“The most intriguing course I took this year was Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust through WHY Questions with Dr. Nurit Novis Deutsch. As an educator myself, I am very passionate about Holocaust education and enjoyed engaging with the various methods being used in Holocaust Education today.”

Tell us one of your best Israel experiences. 

“One of my favorite experiences in Israel was getting to barbecue with friends on the Carmel Mountain in Haifa. Being in nature, eating great food, listening to music and watching beautiful sunsets was always so relaxing and fun.”

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