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Summer Study Abroad Opportunities for Jewish Studies Students

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The Baha’i gardens in Haifa

For the first time this summer, students at Northeastern will be able to take advantage of three faculty-led Dialogue of Civilizations programs that offer credit towards the Jewish Studies minor and combined major. These dialogues will afford students a dynamic understanding of the Jewish international experience.

Ruderman Professor and director of Jewish Studies Lori Lefkovitz for the second time will lead a trip entitled “Contemporary Israel and Its Complexities” that takes an interdisciplinary approach to study of the modern State of Israel. The Dialogue will explore the complexities of Israeli society, politics, and culture and how they are represented in journalism, art, and literature.  Students will take two courses: “Israel in Literature and the Arts,” and “Politics and Communications in Today’s Israel.”  In these courses, as well as through meetings with government officials, journalists, artists, and academic experts, students will explore such questions as:  What are the key narratives and characteristics of Israeli society?  How do journalists and creative artists shape perceptions of Israel’s complex reality?  How do various Israeli authors and artists grapple with diversity within the population and the conflicts between Israel and its neighbors and between Israelis and Palestinians?  How does Israel balance its Jewish identity with liberal democratic values?

The group will spend 19 days in Jerusalem, a multicultural center of three religions and  many ethnic groups, and nine days in the modern city of Tel Aviv, as well as shorter expeditions to the South of Israel (Masada and the Negev) and the North (the Galilee).

To learn more about the program, including past student experiences and photos, click here.

Jewish Studies Advisory Board member Dr. Natalie Bormann and graduate student Veronica Czastkiewicz (both from the Political Science Department) will be leading a trip to Germany and Poland focused on “Holocaust and Genocide Studies.”

Students on this Dialogue will encounter the legacy of the Holocaust, one of the most significant and traumatic experiences of Europe’s shared history and politics.  The group will travel to Munich, Nuremberg, Berlin, Warsaw, and Krakow, all cities that played central roles during the Holocaust and that continue to be central as sites of remembrance, memory, and trauma.

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Brandenburg Gate in Berlin

Much of the program will involve visits to key sites of trauma and memory, including the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Dachau, the Nuremberg trial courtroom, Schindler’s factory, the former Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw, Villa Wannsee, and many more.  These visits will be complemented by lectures, seminars, interviews with Holocaust survivors, archival research, and guided tours by faculty of the University of Munich, the Free University Berlin and the Jagiellonian University Krakow.  Students will receive credit for two courses:  “Government and Politics: Learning Abroad in Germany and Poland” and “The Role of Trauma and Collective Memory in Europe Today.”

To read more about last summer’s Dialogue to Germany and Poland, click here.

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Students in Old Town Krakow

Jewish Studies Advisory Board member Jeffrey Burds, Professor of History, will be leading a trip to Poland entitled “From Occupation to Resistance.”  This Dialogue will examine the history of the Second World War in Poland, including the Holocaust, the Polish national Resistance, the Warsaw Uprising, and the Soviet occupation of Poland beginning in autumn 1944. It will also explore the postwar period through the Solidarity Movement that brought Polish independence in the 1980s.  Visits to historical and cultural sites around Poland will include the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Krakow; a tour of Jewish Warsaw and the Warsaw Ghetto; the Jewish Historical Institute; Zakopane, a mountain resort town where the Nazis had schools for the SS and Abwher; and Gdansk, the site of the Solidarity Movement.  Along with the organized coursework, each student will conduct independent research. Students who pursue a project on an aspect of the Holocaust or Polish Jewish history or culture will receive eight credits towards the Jewish Studies major or minor.

To learn more about student experiences on last summer’s Dialogue to Poland, click here or here.

Read the rest of the Haverim Spring 2014 Newsletter here.