Rebekka Grossmann is a postdoctoral fellow at the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center for German-Jewish Literature and Cultural History. Her research focusses on the intersections of Jewish political history, migratory mobility and global visual culture. Before joining the Franz Rosenzweig Center she was a Postdoctoral Tandem Fellow at the Pacific Regional Office of the German Historical Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research has also been supported by the George L. Mosse Program in History, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the Hebrew University and the Leo Baeck Fellowship Programme. Her dissertation, which is currently transformed into a book manuscript, discusses photography as a space of formulations of concepts of national belonging in Jewish migratory history. Aspects of this research have been published for example in Jewish Social Studies and the Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook.
In my new project, I apply my interest in the role of Jewish negotiations of modern selfhood to the scale of global history approaches to European “Third World” activism. Titled Moving Worlds: German-Jewish Humanitarian Activism beyond the Imperial Age, 1920-1970, the study traces the engagement of German-Jewish travelers, migrants, and journalists with countries in the Global South. It demonstrates that the immediate encounters between German Jews and burgeoning anti-colonial movements sparked a vital exchange of ideas on local and global concepts of governance. A portrait of their global networks, emerging as part of displacement, journalistic engagement and grass-roots political activism the project asks how the emerging public debates on the North-South divide influenced both emerging Cold War “Third World” discourses and the status of Jewish concerns in post-war Western societies. Answers to these questions shall corroborate the argument that global German-Jewish mobilities shaped Western post-imperial imaginations towards hybrid understandings of nationhood. With its focus on German-Jewish photographers, journalists, and political figures including German-Jewish student activists that formed part of the World Union for Jewish Students this study offers the first long-durée examination of the mutual transfer of ideas between modern Jewish political activism and post-colonial resistance. By taking interwar Central European-Jewish realities as a vantage point this study connects early regional dynamics with the larger twentieth-century history of a commitment to global socio-political frameworks.
Yemima Hadad is a doctoral candidate and a Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin at the school of Jewish Theology at the University of Potsdam. Her research project, written under the guidance of Prof. Admiel Kosman, explores the contribution of Hasidism in Martin Buber’s theopolitical theory. The project, titled “History of Forgetfulness: Hasidism and Theopolitics in the writings of Martin Buber,” demonstrates the significance of Hasidism in explaining the political tenets of Buber's thought. Her M.A Thesis, which she completed at Tel Aviv University, dealt with the meanings of the concept of nothingness in Martin Heidegger’s metaphysics. Her fields of interest include theopolitics, religiosity and secularism in Jewish thought, and continental philosophy.
Yemima's study concentrates on Buber’s specific sense of historicism and the narrative of forgetfulness in Jewish history. Her thesis, forgetfulness of dialogue, will explain Buber’s stance with regard to Hasidism, Zionism, Shoah, political activism, Jewish nationalism, and will reveal his theopolitics to be a religious answer to secular political theology.
- “Fruits of Forgetfulness: Nationalism and Politics in the Philosophy of Martin Buber and Martin Heidegger.” Heidegger and Jewish Thought. Eds. Elad Lapidot and
Micha Brumlik. Rowman & Littlefield International [Forthcoming Nov. 2017]
- “The Hasidic Zaddik as Theopolitical Leader.” The Dialogical Imagination of Martin Buber: Essays on Religion, Politics and Ethics. New Jewish Philosophy and Thought. Eds. D. Mortensen, Z. J. Braiterman, S. Scott. Indiana University Press. [Forthcoming, 2018]
- “The Role of the Intellectual According to Martin Buber.” Intellectualism and Jewish Intellectuals. Co-authored with Admiel Kosman. Eds. Avi Sagie and Dov
Schwarz. (In Hebrew). [Forthcoming, 2018]
- “Biblical Politeia: Martin Buber's Biblical Utopia and Plato’s Politeia in Weimar Republic.” [Work in progress]
Ayana Halpern has been a PhD Candidate since 2014 at the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She is currently a fellow at the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Center and was also awarded the Herzl fellowship at the Bernard Cherrick Center.
Ayana completed her studies in Social Work at the Hebrew University with honors. Her master's thesis, which explored the narratives and life stories of female social workers who survived a mental crisis, was inspired by the story of Bertha Pappenheim, a Jewish German social worker and one of the pioneers of social work in Germany. Her story led Ayana to further investigation of the Jewish German origins of social work, particularly in Palestine and later Israel. Soon after her masters, and with the supervision of Professor John Gal and Dr. Yehudith Avnir, she enrolled in writing her PhD dissertation on the unique knowledge transfer of Jewish German social workers to Palestine, and the establishment and development of the social work profession in that country.
In adittion to her research activity, Ayana is also involved in social work and human rights activities. She has worked as a practitioner for several years in several places with diverse populations, and is a member of "Ossim Shalom" Organization, which consists of Arab and Jewish social workers collaborating to promote peace and welfare.
Ayana is writing her dissertation under the title "Female Pioneers in Social Work in Palestine: The Impact of the Jewish German Tradition and of Zionism upon the Emergence of the Profession" and under the supervision of Prof. John Gal and Dr. Yehudith Avnir. The goal of this research is to examine a crucial period in the history of Israeli social work, between the early 1930's and the establishment of the state in 1948, with emphasis on the ideological and cultural influences of the time. This research focuses on the process of social work professional development during this period, exploring the unique social reality and inter-cultural encounters. The study will investigate issues such as the influence of Jewish German tradition and Zionist ideology and implementation on social work practice and social services, along with the role of the profession vis-a-vis the future state and society.
The methodology adopted in the study will comprise of a qualitative analysis of diverse primary and secondary documents. The analysis will be inspired by feminist and post modernistic theories. Most of the data collection will take place in Israel at the Central Zionist Archive, and at the archives of the Ministry of Welfare, the Israel National Library and of various municipalities. In addition, data will be collected from social work archives in Germany.
This historical research can enrich our understanding regarding the roots of social work in Israel, a subject which granted limited study so far; shed new light on the complex identity of Jewish immigrant women in the Yishuv, and contribute more generally to the academic discourse regarding Transnationality and evolution of social work.
Hanan Harif is a lecturer at the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a fellow at the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Center. In 2014-2015 he was a fellow at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He studies the wide range of attitudes held by Jewish intellectuals, scholars, and writers toward the Orient during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as the role and impact of the tendency toward the “East” in Jewish nationalism and modern Jewish identity.
As a post-doctoral fellow at the Roth Institute, Dr. Harif will research Shlomo Dov Goitein as an example of the German-Jewish-Muslim encounter.
- “Yosef Yo'el Rivlin's Al-Qur'an and the Creation of a New Hebrew Culture in Mandatory Palestine," in: Naharaim vol. 10/1 (2016, forthcoming)
- “Between Arab revival and Zionism: Josef Horovitz, Shlomo D. Goitien and the politics of Jewish Oriental studies”, in: Ottfried Fraisse and Christian Wiese (eds.), Beyond the Myth of Golden Spain (forthcoming 2016).
- “Asiatic Brothers, European Strangers: Eugen Hoeflich and 'Pan-Asian Zionism' in Vienna”, in: E. Mendelsohn, R. Cohen and S. Hoffman (eds.): Against the Grain: Jewish Intellectuals in Hard Times, Berghahn, New York 2013.
- “Asiatische Brüder, Europäische Fremde: Eugen Hoeflich und der „Panasiatische Zionismus“ in Wien”, in: Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft, Heft 7-8 (2012), pp. 646-660.
- "Pan-Asianist Zionism – between Orientalist Aesthetics and Transnationalism" (in Hebrew), in: Chidushim: Studies in the History of German and Central European Jewry, 15 (2011), pp.77-96.
Anna Holzer-Kawałko is a PhD candidate at the Department of History of the Jewish People and Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Warsaw (2012), and completed her master’s degree (summa cum laude) at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (2015). Currently, under the supervision of Prof. Yfaat Weiss, she is working on her doctoral dissertation, which deals with German-Jewish book collections and nation-building in Czechoslovakia between 1918 and 1948. Between 2016 and 2020 she was a fellow of the Baroness Ariane de Rothschild Doctoral Program and a doctoral research fellow with the project “The Historical Archives of the Hebrew University. German-Jewish Knowledge and Cultural Transfer (1918–1948),” funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation. Alongside her studies in Israel, she has spent time over the past few years as a visiting scholar at the Deutsches Literaturarchiv in Marbach, the Leibniz Institute for Jewish History and Culture - Simon Dubnow in Leipzig and the Freie Universität in Berlin. Her research interests include Jewish cultural property after 1945, heritage and migration studies, Central and Eastern European borderlands in the 20th century, and historical study of material culture.
- Contested Heritage. Jewish Cultural Property after 1945, (collective volume; together with Elisabeth Gallas/Caroline Jessen/Yfaat Weiss), Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019
- East Meets East. Polish-German Coexistence in Lower Silesia through the Memories of Polish Expellees, 1945-1947; in: Lviv and Wroclaw, Cities in Parallel? Myth, Memory, and Migration, c.1890-Present, Jan Fellerer/Robert Pyrah (eds.), Central European University Press, 2020
- The Dual Dynamics of Postwar Cultural Restoration: On the Salvage and Destruction of the Breslau Rabbinical Library, in: Contested Heritage. Jewish Cultural Property after 1945, Elisabeth Gallas/Anna Holzer-Kawalko/Caroline Jessen/Yfaat Weiss (eds.), Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019
- Lost on the Island. Mapping an Alternative Path of Exile in the Life and Work of Ernst Grumach, in: Simon Dubnow Jahrbuch/ Simon Dubnow Yearbook 2017
- Jewish Intellectuals between Robbery and Restitution: Ernst Grumach in Berlin, 1941-1946, in: Leo Baeck Yearbook 2018, Volume 63
- From Breslau to Wrocław: Transfer of the Saraval Collection to Poland and the Restitution of Jewish Cultural Property after WWII, in: Naharaim. Zeitschrift für deutsch - jüdische Literatur und Kulturgeschichte, ed. Daniel Weidner/Yfaat Weiss/Christian Wiese, 2015
- A Story of Survival: Hebrew Manuscripts and Incunabula from the Saraval Collection in the Manuscriptorium - Digital Library of the Memoriae Mundi Series Bohemica Project, in: Medaon. Magazin für jüdisches Leben in Forschung und Bildung, 2015
My project examines the history of book collections that belonged to the German-speaking Jewish communities in Czechoslovakia. The origins of the collections reach the second half of the XIX century when the first Jewish research institutions and communal libraries devoted to collecting, preservation and study of Jewish cultural artifacts were established in the realm of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The project explores the fate of this heritage in the Czechoslovak state, once it emerged from the First World War in 1918. It illuminates the specifc conditions in which the German-Jewish book collections unfolded in the course of three turbulent decades in the history of Czechoslovakia: from the First Czechoslovak Republic, through the Nazi occupation to the immediate post-war years, when Czechoslovakia was re-established as an ethnically homogenous nation-state. A special focus is given on various nation-building processes that created the socio-political context in which the collections were first accumulated and further developed only to be eventually destroyed and distributed all over the world. The thesis adopts a dual perspective and presents both the practices employed by the members of the Jewish community to build and advance their book collections as well as the policies of assimilation, accommodation, and exclusion used by the Czechoslovak (and in the period of 1939-1945 – Nazi) authorities to manage the cultural heritage of the Jewish minority. Finally, it points to some international initiatives that shaped the fate of these book collections after the Second World War.