Second Project Phase approved – New Affiliation: German Historical Institute Washington DC

We are delighted to announce that the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) approved a second project phase from January 2016 to December 2018, which enables us to continue our research and deepen the fruitful collaboration we experienced in the last two years.
Beginning with January 2016 the project group will continue it’s work under the auspices of the German Historical Institute in Washington DC and carry on the research cooperation with the Tel Aviv University. This new institutional affiliation will contribute to our intention to broaden the perspective by extending our research focus towards English-speaking Jewry and Jewish History in Tsarist Russia. As intended this will include comparative perspectives and approaches from cultural transfer which shall enable us to highlight how Jews in different historical settings coped with fundamental social and cultural change, what role religion and tradition played, and to what extant their actions where shaped by the respective political and socio-economic conditions they were living in.
Further information will follow soon.


JBM_workshop_2015_VIIOn 5 and 6 May 2015, a workshop which formed part of the DFG research project Innovation through Tradition? brought together scholars from a range of fields (history, educational history, culture research, cultural studies, Jewish studies) to engage in discussion on the concept of ‘cultural translation’ as applied to the analysis of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Jewish educational media. The project regards these media as sources enabling researchers to obtain greater understanding of the complex history of cultural transformation and cultural transmission and of these processes themselves.
The concept of ‘cultural translation’ opens up an approach to the analysis of educational media which proceeds from the fundamental principle that they do not transmit meaning or interpretations in a linear fashion or merely receive and reproduce them, but rather represent products of complex processes of negotiation and mediation. This perspective highlights the ways in which these sources reflect and translate corpora of knowledge, social norms and values, and patterns of perception and interpretation.
The presentations held during the workshop were on subjects ranging from maskilic (Jewish proponents of the Enlightenment) Trojan-horse strategies to processes of cultural translation from the Schildbürgerbuch to Yiddish Chelm tales, and from textbooks for teaching Hebrew, principles of textbooks for religious education, Jewish sermons and liturgical music in nineteenth-century Germany to Yiddish textbooks in Poland. The diverse disciplinary and transdisciplinary backgrounds of the participants gave rise to unexpected questions and inspiring discussions around the concept of ‘cultural translation’.
[Program / Workshop Booklet / Images]


JBM_Intern_workshop_2015 The Israeli and German researchers on the DFG research project Innovation through Tradition? met in Braunschweig on 4 May 2015 to discuss a number of matters relating to the research project. As well as reviewing the results obtained in the initial funding period (2014–2015), they looked ahead at the further development of the project during its second funding period, which is planned to last an additional three years. Other issues discussed included conceptual matters and approaches, all sub-projects, challenges arising or anticipated in this bi-national project which brings together researchers from various disciplinary backgrounds.