Department for Jewish Studies of Lomonosov Moscow State University
The Department for Jewish Studies (DJS) was established in 1998. This department belongs to Lomonosov Moscow State University, the country’s most venerable and respected academic institution. The DJS’ mission is to train Jewish Studies scholars, as well as experts in modern Israel. Though Moscow State University did have Hebrew Studies since XVIII century, the subject was nearly prohibited during Soviet epoch. It is now necessary to bring Israeli teachers to revive the tradition of Jewish Studies in Moscow. In the framework of the agreement between Moscow State University and Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Hebrew University accepted the responsibility to ensure the quality of the DJS programs.
The Department includes four professors: Arkady Kovelman, Andrey Fedorchenko, Marc Levin, Irina Zviagelskaya. Arkady Kovelman teaches Jewish History and Rabbinics, Irina Zviagelskaya teaches Israeli Politics and History, Andrey Fedorchenko and Marc Levin teach Israeli Economics. There are also four instructors, all of them the graduates of the Department. Maxim Hammal teaches Jewish History, Polina Skorodumova teaches Hebrew Linguistics, Alexandra Polian teaches Yiddish Language and Yiddish Literature, Michael Wogman teaches Rabbinic and Hellenistic Jewish Literature. The Department also has an Administrative Secretary, Vera Olefirenko. In addition, we have 25 part time teachers and 3 administrative persons who are all working on a contract. There are also visiting teachers from Israel (mainly from Hebrew University). In the academic year 2011/12 we have 6 visiting teachers.
The curriculum consists of two parts. The students take courses offered by the School (the Institute of Asian and African Studies), as well as courses offered by the Jewish Studies Department. The courses vary in accordance with the student’s major.
Students enrolled in the DJS can major in Jewish Literature and Languages, Jewish History and Society, Politics and Economics of Israel. The Department can grant BA, MA or Ph.D. degrees of MSU. Many students come from outside the city of Moscow. Since the graduate Jewish Studies program at DJS is one and only graduate program in Jewish Studies in the entire Former Soviet Union, graduate students come from all over Russia, Ukraine, Byelorussia, and other former soviet republics. Yearly we train about 80 students. In the 2010/11 academic year, 24 students graduated from the Department (14 BA students, 7 MA students, 3 PhD students). The graduates of the Department are in high demand throughout the former Soviet Union. They teach at St. Petersburg State University, Russian State University for Humanities, Kazan State University, Kiev Solomon International University, Kharkov University, Minsk State University, St. Petersburg’s Institute for Jewish Studies, etc. They work at every Jewish institution in Russia (Russian Jewish Congress, the JDC, the JAFI etc.). The graduates also serve at Russian and Israeli diplomatic agencies (including Russian Embassy in Tel-Aviv and Israeli Embassy in Moscow). The Department regularly accepts university teachers of Jewish and Israeli Studies from Russia and the FSU in order to upgrade their professional level.
DJS has extensive involvement in the Jewish community in the FSU. It delivers Spring and Fall Workshops for high school students, Academic Sunday School for high school students, Lecturing Program for Adult Persons, etc. The DJS also maintains an Academic Sunday School for high school students. In the years 2004-2011, about 1000 kids from Russia, Ukraine, Byelorussia, and Baltic states attended the Workshops, while about 400 kids attended the Academic Sunday School. Many participants of our high school programs are our students now (in the academic year 2011/12). A lot of former participants of the programs are taking Jewish Studies at other universities in Moscow, Petersburg, Kiev, Kharkov, Kazan, etc.