gpg Former-Soviet-Union 1

Grants in the Former Soviet Union

Mending a Broken Thread

Mending a Broken Thread

This project, supported by Genesis Philanthropy Group, has educational and research components, and allows students and teachers of Moscow schools, as well as university students from the Moscow State University Jewish Studies Department, to travel to sites of cultural and historical significance in Jewish history.

Before the trip, participants learn about expedition work, art history and literary studies under the guidance of professional teachers. The trip requires an intensive final project where participants create videos, essays and interviews to summarize what they saw and learned, and contribute to the project's website. The tours are united into thematic and chronological clusters, covering the period from Late Antiquity to contemporary history.

In 2014/15 a group of students from Saint-Petersburg will join the project for the first time to study the same program during the academic year and perhaps join the tour afterwards.

The first cycle of the program (2008-2011) included the following:

  • A memorial trip to Eastern and Central Europe (Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria and Germany) dedicated to the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht. After the trip, participants made a film, "A Road Down Memory Lane" (fall 2008);
  • "The Spanish Ballad": The Year 5770 – a trip to Italy, Spain and France, focused on Spanish-Jewish culture during the Inquisition. Final projects after this trip were a film (fall 2009) and an educational website, both titled "The Sephardic Country."
  • "Maghreb's Jewish Tales" – a trip to Morocco and Turkey, dedicated to Jewish-Muslim dialogue and the birth of Arab-Jewish culture. Participants' final projects were two albums (one on art and literature, and the other on local history) and a film titled "Jewish Tales of Morocco" (spring 2011).

The second cycle (2012-2014), covered issues around modernization of the Jewish world and cultural, religious and economic dialogues between Jews and other nations. The following programs were planned for the second cycle:

  • The "Ghetto Roads" trip to Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic, focused on the history of Jewish-Christian relations (2012);
  • The "Jewish Atlantis" trip to Spain, France and Italy, dedicated to the vanished Roman-speaking Jewish communities of southern Europe (2013);
  • The "Return to Europe" trip to Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, dedicated to the high point of Jewish life in the era of colonial empires and the new economic order (2014).

The third cycle (2015-2017) will include the following:

  • The "Italian Purimshpil" trip to Northern Italy, dedicated to studying the cultural and historic heritage of Jewish communities of Venice, Lombardy and Toscana.
  • "Jewish traditions of Levant" expedition to Turkey and Greece to study the golden age of Mediterranean Jewish communities and their decline in contemporary history.
  • The "Rise of the Ashkenazy Country" trip to Germany and France to study the cultural and historic phenomenon of the Ashkenazy Jewry in Rheinland and Alsace.

This grant is a part of Genesis Philanthropy Group's large program which supports Academic Jewish Studies in the FSU.

Goals and Objectives

  • Study cultural heritage and contemporary Jewish culture, and teach participants about tragic events in Jewish history.
  • Create a community of researchers who study Jewish historical and cultural heritage, and create an interest in independent and intensive study of participants' own Jewish roots.
  • Establish ties with Jewish communities and program partners in different countries.
  • Publish and discuss materials collected by trip participants in various parts of the Jewish Diaspora.
  • Create illustrated and methodological materials for educational and research purposes.


Current Grants

Past Grants