Current Students, Seminars

Weiss-Livnat Seminar in Warsaw: Initiating Dialog Between Israeli, German, and Polish Students

Written by Devra Katz


Polin Museum

This past summer I had the privilege of participating in the Polin Meeting Point Summer Education School hosted at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Poland.  The program, a two-week seminar, invited students from Germany, Poland, and Israel to come together and, using various methodologies, explore issues related to post World War II reconstruction in Poland and Germany, and the emergence of Israeli statehood and citizenship.  This topic sparked very interesting and illuminating discussions among the students and brought to light issues of national narratives and identity politics in Poland, Germany, and Israel.

The program incorporated a multifaceted, interdisciplinary approach in order to engage participants and enhance the learning environment.  First and foremost, the seminar invited numerous prestigious scholars from Poland, Germany, and Israel to speak to the group.  Some of the best in their field, the guest scholars gave very interesting, informative, and engaging presentations which generated enlightening discussions that continued beyond the length of each session.  This approach and these lectures were some of the more special aspects of the program.  Through these discussions, our international group got the opportunity to really get to know one another and delve deeper into various narratives – personal, political, historical, and national – experienced by all the participants and their various home countries.


Historic Warsaw

In addition to the scholarship, we spent a great deal of time touring historic Warsaw and many sites in the city relevant to World War II, the Holocaust, and the years following the war.  Among these sites were the former Warsaw ghetto, Paviak prison, the Jewish cemetery, various monuments around the city, the Jewish Historical Institute, and many more.  We were also given access to the museum’s archives and research facilities allowing us to engage relevant material and to search for documents relevant to family histories or other research projects.  Furthermore, the group spent two days visiting the city of Wroclaw, where a Polish graduate from the Weiss-Livnat program guided us through the city’s Jewish, pre-war, and post-war history.  During the program we participated in several workshops about oral history and completed final projects using oral history interviews we conducted during the seminar.  This very packed program made for a well rounded and insightful two weeks of study, participation in cross-cultural dialogue, and a unique opportunity to meet and work with peers in our respective fields from diverse backgrounds.


Paviak Prison

The various aspects of this program provided a wonderful platform to learn a great deal, experience post-war Poland first hand, meet great people from different countries, and foster relationships, both professional and personal, that have carried on beyond the scope of the seminar.  As a student in the Weiss-Livnat International MA in Holocaust Studies program, this is just one of the many opportunities I have been afforded to expand my education, travel to places significant to the subject of the Holocaust and to my research, and grow as a scholar and global citizen.

One of the primary purposes of the POLIN Meeting Point program was to initiate dialogue between German, Polish, and Israeli students and work to build relationships at the grassroots level between the three countries.  I am very grateful for having participated in the program and I feel that my anticipation and expectations for this seminar were truly surpassed.  Originally from the United States, I am also still learning the Israeli national narratives and sentiments, and participation in this program furthered my understanding of the society in which I live and the community in which I learn. My time as a student in the Weiss-Livnat program has been enriched by participating in partner programs such as the POLIN Meeting Point, and I am thankful for the contribution it has made to my education and life experiences.

Interested in applying for our MA in Holocaust Studies Program?  You can find the application and more information at our website

Current Students, Holocaust Internship, Volunteer Work

Alexa talks about AMCHA


Q: What will you be doing at with AMCHA?
A: At AMCHA, I will be working one on one with a Holocaust survivor. Visiting and spending time with them once a week. It’s an opportunity for survivors to develop a new connection with someone and for me it’s a huge privilege to hear their story.

Q: What makes you most excited to be working with AMCHA ?
A: AMCHA is a very special organization that does a huge service to Holocaust survivors and their children, the opportunity to develop a working relationship with them is a rare opportunity.

Q: What brought you working with AMCHA?
A: I was attracted to working with AMCHA for personal reasons. My grandmother was a Holocaust survivor and I was lucky to have had the chance to spend time with her in her later years after I moved to Israel. She passed away two years ago, but I will always treasure our time together. To meet and spend time with another survivor, someone else’s grandmother, is not only an amazing learning opportunity but also an opportunity to do something good for my soul.

Q: Who will you be working with? or who would you like to volunteer with?
A: The volunteer coordinator at AMCHA has been very helpful in pairing me with a survivor who can help with my thesis research. My area of study within Holocaust research is on the psychological impact of the Holocaust for women on motherhood and family life post Holocaust. I have been set up with a female survivor who is open to discussing this topic with me. This is a primary resource that I could never have found elsewhere.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: AMCHA is a wonderful organization dedicated to providing counseling and trauma services for Holocaust survivors and their children. I am honored to have the opportunity to work with them.

Interested in applying for our MA in Holocaust Studies Program?  You can find the application and more information at our website

Current Students, Internships, Research

John Shares about Internships at the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum

Starring John Roxborough

John has an internship this year with the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum. He will be researching and working with artifacts in the impressive archives to share individual stories of the Holocaust.

Interested in applying for our MA in Holocaust Studies Program?  You can find the application and more information at our website

Current Students, Research

Lukas Shares About Research at the Strochlitz Institute

Starring Lukas Meissel

Lukas is a PhD candidate in Holocaust Studies at the University of Haifa. While in Israel Lukas has access to excellent research resources. As a student at the Strochlitz Institute he has access to the archives kept within the institute, as well as the archives at Yad Vashem, the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum and more. Lukas is in the research portion of his dissertation now, which will last about a year, then he will move to write his dissertation, typically this takes two years. Thanks for your good work Lukas! We’re looking forward to see what will come!

Interested in applying for our MA in Holocaust Studies Program?  You can find the application and more information at our website

Current Students

Alexa Shares About the Ghez Collection Course

Starring Alexa Asher

Alexa is taking Dr. Rachel Perry’s Class on the Ghez Collection in the Hecht Museum. The class has spent the semester researching artists belonging to the collection, most of whom were previously unknown.

Interested in applying for our MA in Holocaust Studies Program?  You can find the application and more information at our website

Current Students

“May God Eradicate Their Name”

This post is written by student, Meredith Scott:

Shabbat is a new experience for me, but one I would like to continue to celebrate. This week I had the pleasure of joining the Rabbi and his family for Shabbat from the Chabad at the Technion in Haifa. Every week they invite students to join them for Shabbat.

After dinner the Rabbi sat with me and my friends and started telling us this story:

In 1987 there was a theft case, that was decided by the American Judicial System. Someone had been stealing books from a Chabad library that was over 200 years old. The Rabbi that pursued the suit was one that had fled occupied France, the thief was a great grandson of one of the Rabbis that had started the library. The grandson felt that he was entitled to the books because it was his inheritance. But the Rabbi said, no this is our inheritance, the communities’ inheritance. The Rabbi emphasized the importance of the community rather than the importance of the individual. He argued that the library belonged to the community, not the founders of the library, therefore the man who took the books was stealing from the community. In the end the American Judicial System ruled in favor of the Rabbi.

When the Rabbi was talking about the Nazis that the old Rabbi had fled from, after he said their name he said “May God eradicate their name.” I had read this phrase before in a reading for the course, “Final Solution,” with Dr. David Silberklang, because I’m not Jewish I didn’t understand the significance of the phrase, and it bothered me. Fortunately, living in Israel, I have access to many resources that can answer my questions.  I went up to the Rabbi while we were getting ready to leave and I asked him what this phrase meant.

He said in Judaism, specifically within Chabad, speech is a powerful component of daily life. God created the world with just words. The Rabbi said, in order to not give anymore power to the name of Nazi, and the evil they represent, he says “May God eradicate their name,” after saying the name. Or in other words, “May God take power from the name of Nazi, and stop this evil’s impact.” In our conversation, he said the Nazis were more than just a group of hateful people, it was evil enacted, and this evil should not have reign in our world.

The reading that I first read the phrase in was about a village in Lithuania. It was a letter from a man whose family was killed by the Einsatzgruppe. He was in hiding with his son, eventually they were caught and killed as well. The letter was addressed to a family member to warn them about what was happening. In the Lithuanian village all of the Jews were murdered, this story is abnormal. When the man mentioned the name, Nazi, he would follow it by writing, “may God eradicate their name.”

The Rabbi also said to me, maybe you can think of this in your studies, the German government was secular, based on manmade law. Law that could be molded into the evils of Nazism. He reminded me that Germany was the first country to have animal rights laws, and workers rights laws. The Nazi government worked hard to increase the quality of life and wages for German workers. But because the law was manmade and was not subject to a higher power, and it was perverted. The Nazis were convinced the Holocaust was right, may God eradicate their name.

It’s amazing to me to live in Israel and learn about Judaism in my daily life. If I had read this document in the States and come across the term “may God eradicate their name,” getting to the resources to answer this question would have been very difficult for me as a non-Jew. But in Israel, I am invited to Rabbi’s homes for Shabbat dinner, and invited to philosophical discussions with them.

Current Students

Happy Haifa Holidays!

This post was written by, student, Meredith Scott

Our Cohort comes from a variety of different backgrounds. Some celebrate Hanukkah and some celebrate Christmas, but we all celebrate together. This year is a special year because the first day of Hanukkah and Christmas fell on the same day, December 25. Haifa is a very diverse city which celebrates holidays from Judaism, Islam and Christianity, with a festival called the Holiday of Holidays. For almost three weeks, people and venders flood the streets. People from these faiths come together around the German Colony, and Wadi Nisnas for the festival. Different dancing groups came and performed in the streets, next to vendors selling all sorts of wares. There were also pop-up Christmas shops all over the area.


A few students from our Cohort decided to spend the holidays in Jerusalem, myself included. On Christmas Eve, the city of Jerusalem had free shuttles taking people to Bethlehem. It was the experience of a lifetime. Most of the festivities happened in Manger Square, where St. Catherine’s is located. Tickets to midnight mass sold out in early November, but they did project the mass outside of the church itself. I decided to go back to Jerusalem, and we went to midnight mass at the Dormition Abbey.The service half in German, which is great because I’m studying German here.


On Christmas Day and the first day of Hanukkah, a student from our Cohort offered to give us a tour of the Old City of Jerusalem. The best tour of the Old City is with an Israeli who knows the layout like the back of their hand. Avsha, our tour guide, is a history teacher in the suburbs of Jerusalem, and was extremely well informed about the vast and colorful history of the Old City. First we visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which was built on top of Golgotha. The church is shared between many different denominations of Christianity, specifically Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox and Roman Catholic. The Egyptian Copts, Syriacs and Ethiopian church also have some claim in the church. Avsha showed us the almost forgotten Syrian Chapel, it was destroyed in the eleventh century and was never restored. The Syrian Chapel also has two small Jewish tombs from the first century. Seeing the Syrian Chapel is a must when you visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Avsha also showed us the different quarters within the Old City: Muslim, Christian, Armenian and Jewish. There was a recent discovery of a main Roman road within the Old City found just outside of the Western Wall. Learning the diverse history of Jerusalem was enlightening and the perfect way to spend the holidays: celebrating our differences and respective holidays. This is one of the greatest perks of living in Israel. As a non-Jew, studying the Holocaust, it was really important to me learn about the religion. I can’t think of a better place to do that than in Israel.