A Jewish Future in Europe - Utopian or Realistic Perspectives?

 A Jewish Future in Europe: Utopian or Realistic Perspectives?

The GERMAN UNIVERSITY ALLIANCE, in cooperation with the LEO BAECK INSTITUTE, in April 2006 hosted a two day colloquium with some 20 scholars from the US, Europe and Israel on  the state of Jewish Studies in Germany and Europe. The colloquium was followed by a public Lecture and Discussion on April 10, 2023 at the German House in New York.

 Please click on the links below for the respective speeches

 Keynote Speaker Dr. DIANA PINTO, Independent scholar and writer, Paris:

 A Jewish Future in Europe: Utopian or Realistic Perspectives?

Professor GIULIO BUSI, Managing Director Institute of Jewish Studies, Freie Universität Berlin:

 A Comparison between Jewish Studies in Germany and Italy: How to cope with a Heavy Past?

Professor MICHAEL BRENNER, Department of Jewish History and Culture,  Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich:

Jewish Studies and Jewish Life in Germany

The event was moderated by Professor Jeffrey M. Peck, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. and funded by Volkswagen Foundation.



Keynote speaker Diana Pinto and (from left) Giulio Busi, Michael Brenner, and Moderator Jeffrey Peck at the German House in New York.

During the 1990s, the Jewish community in Germany grew more rapidly than in any other European nation. The newcomers have influenced not only the demographic structure of the Jewish communities in Germany, but have also altered their social and intellectual profiles. At the same time, the end of the cold-war and the new political challenges facing Germany are slowly modifying the traditional perception of Jewish identity and history. The keynote speaker will share her thoughts on Jews as pivotal actors in Europe’s growing pluralistic democracies as well as on Jewish studies as a trend setter field. 

DIANA PINTO is an intellectual historian and writer living in Paris. The daughter of Italian Jewish parents, educated in the United States (B.A. summa cum laude and Ph.D. Harvard) and a resident of France, she is a Senior Fellow of the London based Institute for Jewish Policy Research and a member of the Academic Council of Paideia in Stockholm, as well as a member of the Central Committee of the Alliance Israëlite Universelle in Paris. She is now working on a Project of "Jewish Voices for the European Res Publica". The author of Entre deux mondes, she has lectured widely on Jewish life in contemporary Europe as a crucial chapter in the continent’s pluralist challenges both for academic, European policy and Jewish community audiences. Her articles on post-1989 European Jewry have been published across the continent, particularly in Germany. She was formerly Editor in Chief of Belvedere, France’s first pan-European review and Consultant to the Political Directorate of the Council of Europe for its civil society programmes in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. She has been a Fulbright Fellow, a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, of the Collegium Budapest in Hungary and of the Einstein Forum in Potsdam.  

GIULIO BUSI was born in Bologna (Italy).  After having taught Hebrew at the Università Ca’ Foscari in Venice, he is now Professor at the Freie Universität of Berlin, where he directs the Institute of Jewish Studies.  His primary focus is Jewish mysticism, of which he has analyzed the historical development as well as its literary values and aesthetic implications. He is the author of nearly one hundred publications, which include ample essays on the Kabbalah and Jewish symbols (Mistica ebraica 1995, Simboli del pensiero ebraico 1999, English forthcoming, Qabbalah visiva 2005) and studies on the relations between Jewish and Christian culture during the Renaissance. He is the general editor of the series The kabbalistic Library of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. He served as a curator for an international exhibition of the ancient collection of kabbalistic manuscripts of the Jewish community of Mantua (Berlin 2000, Mantua 2001, New York 2002). He contributes to the cultural supplement of the most important Italian economic daily, “Il Sole 24Ore,” with a weekly column dedicated to the literary and historical patrimony of Judaism. 

MICHAEL BRENNER is Professor of Jewish History and Culture at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich. After studies in Heidelberg and Jerusalem he received his PhD from Columbia University, and taught at Indiana and Brandeis Universities, and as a visiting professor at the Universities of Mainz, Budapest, and Stanford. Among his book publications are Zionism: A Concise History (Princeton 2003, German original 2002, Italian 2003, Korean 2004), The Renaissance of Jewish Culture in Weimar Germany (Yale 1996, German 2000, Hebrew 2003), and After the Holocaust: Rebuilding Jewish Lives in Postwar Germany (Princeton 1997, originally in German 1995). He is co-author and assistant editor of the four-volume German-Jewish History in Modern Times (Columbia UP, 1996-1998; also in German and Hebrew editions) and other works on modern Jewish history. 

JEFFREY M. PECK is a professor in the Communication, Culture, and Technology Program at Georgetown University, and a senior fellow in residence at the American Institute for Contemporary German studies in Washington, D.C.  From 1999-2002, he was the first director of the Canadian Centre for German and European Studies at York University (Toronto) and the University of Montreal. During 1990-1991, he was a Fulbright Professor at the Freie Universität Berlin. He is the co-author of Sojourners: The Return of German Jews and the Question of Identity and just published the book Being Jewish in the New Germany (Rutgers University Press, 2006).


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