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What makes up a people's identity? - Its History. What makes up its History? - Sources: documents, books, artifacts - the speechless heritage of the past. And people able to make them speak.

After decades of wars, genocide and communist oppression the cultural heritage of the Jewish past in Russia was considered lost. However, that heritage has not disappeared completely: it has been kept in numerous state repositories and in some declined Jewish communities. There is a vital necessity to rescue these remnants of the Jewish heritage from oblivion.

In the late 1980s that task appeared utopian for the "Black Years" of the Communist Russia were also marked by the prohibition of Jewish Studies in the USSR. The scholarly exploration of the Jewish past was deprecated during the Soviet era. In 1988 there was almost no one to continue the scholarly achievements of the late nineteenth century historians: Bershadsky, Dubnov, An-sky, and Gessen - the intellectuals of the turn of century who considered collecting, researching and publishing sources of Jewish history a task of paramount importance. The Jewish Historical and Ethnographic Commission, established in St. Petersburg in 1908, launched a variety of projects aimed at gathering and publishing sources of Jewish history. Continued after 1917 for approximately twenty years, those projects brought important results which facilitated research of documentary materials by Western scholars throughout the 20th century. However, since the Chair of Jewish Culture of the Academy of Sciences in Kiev - the last Jewish scholarly institution in the Soviet Union - was closed by the authorities in 1948, there was no systematic research on Jewish history in Russia for some forty years. Nowadays a new generation of Russian scholars is once again developing an interest in Judaic studies, and starting from scratch.

The activities of the Jewish Heritage Society commenced in Moscow in 1989. A group of enthusiasts of Jewish history and culture is pursuing the goals defined by the Russian-Jewish historians of the turn of the century. Above all, the Society seeks to collect, to preserve and to share among scholars the "remnants of the remnants" - the documentary heritage of the Jewish past in Eastern Europe.

Jewish Heritage Society web site includes the following pages:

    complete listing of our pages and links;

    general information about JHS: our goals and objectives, pages of our Advisory Board and associates, JHS news updates;

    a survey of research, information and publication activities of the JHS;

    access to JHS publications: preprints and reprins, bibliographies, "Jewish Archive" series and others;

    information about JHS membership - scholars of Jewish history involved in the variety of JHS activities;

    information about JHS partners - cultural, social, research and educational institutions working in the field of Jewish history and culture in Eastern Europe;

    a survey of interenet resources on Jews in Eastern Europe;

  • JHS Russian language web site.


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