A Year in the Life

“What is it like to be a student in the Weiss-Livnat MA Program in Holocaust Studies?” is a question we receive a lot. Naturally,  many of you are curious about our unique program, the students who participate in it, and the experiences they have living in Israel while attending the University of Haifa. With that in mind, we have begun a new tradition. Each year, a select student will take you on a journey through their one-year adventure in Haifa.

The inaugural series of A Year in the Life will highlight our student, Missy, who comes to us from Calgary, Canada. Missy received her BA degrees from Mount Royal University in Calgary, one in History and one in Psychology. She was selected to intern for the United Nations and worked at the UN Headquarters in New York and in Seoul, South Korea. She also worked for the Provincial Government of Quebec in the Ministry of Women, Communication & Culture. Missy is a former beauty pageant contestant. She was chosen to compete in Miss. Universe Canada and placed as a Top 20 Semi-Finalist.


“I am always amazed when I look back at my life and reflect on all of the stars that had to align for me to be where I am today. Despite my move to a new country filled with its fair share of challenges and turbulence, I am grateful that the stars led me to the Weiss-Livnat Holocaust Studies Program.

When I arrived in September, I had the remarkable opportunity to live with an Israeli family for two weeks, before moving into the University Residence. It was during Sukkot, and being in Israel during this meaningful holiday was such a wonderful experience. This holiday commemorates the years that Jews spent in the desert on their way to the Promised Land, and celebrates how God protected them under extremely tough conditions. The family that I stayed with has continued to be in touch with me, and I appreciate the kindness they have bestowed upon me. Continue reading


Seminar at the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum

This past week, students of Cohort VII took part in an annual three-day seminar at one of our partner Holocaust institutions, the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum, known in Hebrew as, Beit Lohemai Haghetaot. Located on a Kibbutz less than thirty minutes away from Haifa, the museum was the first Holocaust museum established in the world in 1949 and is especially unique as it was also the first museum of its kind to be founded by Holocaust survivors themselves. Here, one of our students, Lottie Kestenbaum, wrote about her experiences during the seminar.

“I have wanted to visit the Ghetto Fighters’ House for a while and am thrilled that my first time at the museum was with my classmates as it gave us the opportunity to discuss the Holocaust outside of a formal classroom setting. However, what impacted me the most from the seminar was the fact that unlike other Holocaust museums, the GFH was built by survivors themselves who established a space on their kibbutz for people to come together and learn about the Holocaust, both their experiences and the genocide as a whole. The founders of the kibbutz were the original curators, tour guides and educators in the museum. Even though almost all of the original founders of the kibbutz have passed away, I felt that I was walking through the museum with Antek Zuckerman and Chavka Folman- Raban, two of the founders, as my personal guides. The presence of these founders was felt both throughout the museum and the kibbutz. We were not only learning about history but were walking through it as well.”


Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum

Continue reading

Fall Newsletter 2018


Welcome Cohort VII

We are excited to welcome our new students of Cohort VII! 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 it’s playwriting or linguistics, history or communications – our students bring a fresh take on how Holocaust Studies are defined today. Continue reading

The Rogatchi Foundation honors Wiess-Livnat faculty member with Humanist of the Year Award.

Rogatchi-FoundationWe are thrilled to announce that Dr. Rachel Perry has been honored as one of four laureates to receive The Ina and Michael Rogatchi Foundation’s Award for 2018 Humanist of the Year. Dr. Perry,  the Weiss-Livnat’s resident art-historian expert and lecturer received the award for her work as the chief curator of the University of Haifa’s exhibition, Arrivals, Departures: The Oscar Ghez Collection.

Founded in 2004 by writer, scholar, and film-maker Inna Rogatchi and her husband renowned artist Michael Rogatchi, The Rogatchi Foundation has several aims including a focus on education, preservation of cultural, historical and spiritual heritage, and providing help and support to cancer patients, the elderly, and children in need. It also promotes the arts and special cultural and educational ‘Outreach to Humanity’ projects globally. The Rogatchi Family have been founders of the internationally acclaimed Arts Against Cancer (AAC) culture charity whose Honorary Chairman was Mstislav Rostropovich.

Continue reading

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? 

Continue reading

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.


Continue reading

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?


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.

Continue reading