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On Wednesday, 10 May 2023, the Rector of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Prof. Dr Tamir Sheafer visited Leipzig University as well as the Leibniz Institute for Jewish History and Culture - Simon Dubnow. The focus of his talks with Rector Prof. Dr Eva Inés Obergfell and the Director of the Dubnow Institute, Prof. Dr Yfaat Weiss, was the future cooperation between the three institutions. They are jointly preparing the establishment of an International Research Training Group in the humanities in the field of Jewish material culture studies.

The proposed International Research Training Group "Belongings: Jewish Material Culture in Twentieth-Century Europe and Beyond" will focus on the role and function of objects in modern Jewish history - and thus on the question of how Jewish existence was expressed in and shaped by things and the way they were dealt with. If the research group for PhDs is successfully established, it will be the first German-Israeli International Graduateschool within the Humanities.

Structurally, the Graduate School aims to achieve three things:

1. to raise the academic cooperation of the three institutions to a new and promising level;

2. to offer Israeli, German and international doctoral candidates in the humanities excellent opportunities for their academic qualification as well as for building bilateral networks and for language acquisition;

3. to strengthen the field of Jewish Studies at German universities, and in Leipzig in particular.

The application was preceded by a joint workshop of all participating researchers in June 2019 in Leipzig and in February 2020 in Jerusalem. After an intensive working-phase of the entire group of Principal Investigatos and consultations with the Rectorates of both universities, a draft proposal was submitted to the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) in autumn 2021, followed by a full proposal in early 2023 after a positive review. An evaluation of the project is planned for summer 2023, a decision can be expected in autumn/winter 2023.


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