Sixth International Conference JEWS IN A CHANGING WORLD. Latvian and Baltic Jews at the Crossroads of European History

Sixth International Conference JEWS IN A CHANGING WORLD. Latvian and Baltic Jews at the Crossroads of European History
Riga, Latvia
September 11-14, 2006

  • University of Latvia 
  • Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Latvia 
  • Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the University of Latvia 
  • Latvian Council of Jewish Communities 
  • Latvian Jewish Religious Community Shamir 
  • Riga Jewish Religious Community 
  • Latvian Academy of Sciences 
  • Society for Research on Jewish Communities (Israel) 
  • Latvian Council of Christians and Jews
Organizing committee:

Co-Chairmen of the Organizing Committee:
Prof. Herman Branover (Israel), Prof. Ruvin Ferber (Latvia)

G. Umanovska, Secretary (Latvia)
V. Apinis (Latvia)
S. Babilius (Lithuania)
Rabbi M. Barkahan (Latvia)
R. Bogdanova (Latvia)
Prof. L. Dribins (Latvia)
D. Kagan (Latvia)
Prof. A. Kleckin (Latvia)
I. Lapinska (Latvia)
E. Sinkevica (Latvia)
Dr. G. Smirin (Latvia)
Prof. A. Stranga (Latvia)
A. Suharenko (Latvia)
S. Urtane (Latvia)
E. Valk (Israel)
J. Verbickiene (Lithuania)
M. Vesterman (Latvia)

Supported by:

University of Latvia
The Centre for the Study of East European Jewish Culture and History
(Vilnius, Lithuania)
Secretariat of the Special Assignments Minister for Social Integration of Latvia
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia
Centre Culturel Français de Riga
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee


Everyone interested is welcome to visit the Jewish Book Festival, concert and all sessions
of the conference.

Sunday, September 10
Riga Jewish Community Center, Skolas Street 6
Jewish Book Festival
12:00 - 18:00

Monday, September 11
Riga Jewish Community Center, Skolas Street 6
Jewish Book Festival
12:00 - 18:30

Registration for conference participants from 14:00

Special session dedicated to the Jewish book
16:00 – 18:00

1. Dr. Elina Vasilyeva (Daugavpils, Latvia)
The Lithuanian space in E. Sevella’s book “Mona Cackes – znamenosec”
2. Dr. Eleonora Shafranskaya (Moscow, Russia)
Jewish text in novel “Syndicate” by Dina Rubina
3. Iryna Logvinova (Donetsk, Ukraine)
Image of Vilna in stories by A.Karpinovich
4. Dr. Olga Karasik (Kazan, Russia)
Philip Roth as the most famous contemporary Jewish American writer
5. Dr. Helena Rimon (Jerusalem, Israel)
Place where two extremes meet: search of identity in
Reuven Asher Braudes novel “The Two Extremes”
6. Prof. Michaela Mudure (Cluj-Napoca, Romania)
Abraham Cahan, a Jewish realist

Concert of classical music
18:30 – 19:15

Tuesday, September 12
University of Latvia Large Hall, Main Building, 19 Rainis Boulevard

Session I. History and Culture of Jews in the Baltic States till 1940
9:00 – 11:30

1. Prof. Aivars Stranga (Riga, Latvia)
Attempts to organise pogroms in Latvia: 1881 – 1920
2. Dr. Inese Runce (Riga, Latvia)
State policy towards Jewish communities in Latvia: 1920-1934
3. Prof. Leo Dribins (Riga, Latvia)
Emergence of national Anti-Semitism in Latvia (1920-1940)
4. Josef Kats (Tallinn, Estonia)
Formation of Jewish mentality in Estonia since the establishment
of Jewish community until 1940 (case of Tallinn)
5. Dr. Artem Fedorchuk (Moscow, Russia)
New data on the history of East European Karaite Communities
(based on the results of epigraphic research)
6. Dr. Alexander Zanemonets (Moscow, Russia)
Hasidism and Orthodox Christian monastic tradition in East Europe,
XVIII-XIX cc.: was an interaction possible?
7. Dr. Boris Volkovich (Daugavpils, Latvia)
Jewish student organisations from 1918-1940

Coffee break 11:30 – 11:50

Session II. Jewish Thought
11:50 – 14:10

1. Eva Sinkevica (Riga, Latvia)
Rabi Mordechai Eliasberg’s early concept of Religious Zionism
2. Prof. Ruvin Ferber (Riga, Latvia)
1920’s in Jewish Philosophy: conceptual similarities of the works by M.Buber, F. Rosenzweig and A.Kook
3. Rabbi Israel Aizensharf (Haifa, Israel)
Some considerations on the Book of Ruth
4. Prof. Leonid Stolovich (Tartu, Estonia)
The Return of Aron Steinberg
5. Oleksandr Bobrovsky (Kiev, Ukraine)
Concept of Sabbath in F. Rosenzweig’s philosophy
6. Viktoriya Sukovata (Kharkiv, Ukraine)
Women's Jewish identity in the Postmodernist Judaism: gender reflections
7. Rabbi Jaakov Luft (Jerusalem, Israel)
Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook on national and universal idea in Judaism

Lunch 14:10 – 15:10

Special session dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Peitavas Street Synagogue in Riga

15:10 – 16:50

1. Sergey Rizh (Riga, Latvia)
Peitavas Street synagogue in Riga
2. Dr. Marija Rupeikiene (Kaunas, Lithuania)
Building of brick synagogues in Lithuania until the World War I
3. Vlad Shulman (Riga, Latvia)
Native of Liepaja American cantor Allan Michelson
4. Marina Mikhailets (Riga, Latvia)
The phenomenon of Abramiss family in music
5. Mejer Meller (Riga, Latvia)
Michail Alexandrovich as a cantor (according to Riga Jewish and Russian press from the 1930ies and his memoirs)

Break 16:50 – 18:00

18:00 – 19:30

Wednesday, September 13
University of Latvia Large Hall, Main Building, 19 Rainis Boulevard

Session III. Part 1. The Holocaust in the Nazi-Occupied Baltic States
10:00 – 11:30

1. Dmitrii Olehnovich (Daugavpils, Latvia)
Antisemitic propaganda in Latvian periodicals from 1941-1945:
comparative analysis
2. Tamara Zitcere, Marcis Skadmanis (Riga, Latvia)
House lists of the Riga Ghetto
3. Iosif Rochko (Daugavpils, Latvia)
Rescuers and the rescued: from the history of the Holocaust in Daugavpils
4. Dr. Aharon Shneyer (Jerusalem, Israel)
Issues of collaboration between local population and German State authorities in occupied Latvia, 1941-1944

Coffee break 11:30 – 11:50

Session III. Part 2. The Holocaust in the Nazi-Occupied Baltic States
11:50 – 13:20

1. Margers Vestermanis (Riga, Latvia)
Jewish concentration camps in Latvia – the last stage of the Tragedy
2. Mejer Meller (Riga, Latvia)
History of rescuing doctor Benjamin Landa and his wife during the Holocaust in Latvia
3. Dr. Zlata Zaretsky (Jerusalem, Israel)
Ghetto Vilna Theatre as a model of Jewish resistance in the Holocaust
4. Mitchell Lieber (Chicago, USA)
The Holocaust in Latvia and the internet

Lunch 13:20 – 14:30

Session IV. Jews in the Baltic States after 1940
14:30 – 16:30

1. Rabbi Menachem Barkahan (Riga, Latvia)
Habad Hasidim in Latvia
2. Dr. Batia Valdman (Beersheba, Israel)
From Latvia to Eretz-Israel: from the history of the fifth aliyah
3. Ilana Yavitz (Beersheba, Israel)
From the past to future: reminiscences of the lost world and renascence
of Jewish national self-consciousness
4. Yury Tabak (Moscow, Russia)
Judeo-Christian relations in 2006: problems and prospects
5. Prof. Abram Kletskin (Riga, Latvia)
The Yiddish world and the paths of contemporary culture

Break 16:30 - 17:00

Opening of the special session dedicated to the 100th birthday of the French-Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995)
17:00 – 18:45

Address by Luc Levy, Director of Centre Culturel Français de Riga

Plenary lecture
Prof. Gérard Bensussan
(University Marc Bloch of Strasbourg II, France)
Intransitivité de l'éthique / Non-transitivity of Ethics (in French, with translation)

Thursday, September 14
University of Latvia Large Hall, Main Building, 19 Rainis Boulevard

Special session dedicated to the 100th birthday of the French-Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995)
9:00 – 19:30

1. Prof. Igor Dukhan (Minsk, Belarus)
Avant-Garde and the Beginning: Levinas and the 20th century art
2. Dr. Svetlana Balinchenko (Gorlovka, Ukraine)
E. Levinas’ concept of the „asymmetrical relationship” in the context of cross-cultural
3. Prof.Viktor Malakhov (Kiev, Ukraine)
The theme of Hostageship in E. Levinas ethics
4. German Levin (Riga, Latvia)
Teaching Judaism in a secondary school (“Levinas in one hour!”)

Coffee break 11:00 - 11:30


1. Prof. Iveta Leitane (Riga, Latvia)
The concept of infinity in the thought of Emmanuel Levinas
2. Valentina Spune (Riga, Latvia)
Language and transcendence in E.Levinas philosophy
3. Ainars Kamolins (Riga, Latvia)
The ethics of finitude (Descartes and Levinas)

Lunch 13:00-14:00

14:00 – 16:30
1. Keynote address:
Prof. Catherine Chalier (University Paris X – Nanterre, France)
Levinas and R. Haim of Volozin. “God from our view point”
2. Dr. Normunds Titans (Riga, Latvia)
Model of the relationship of religion and philosophy according to Emmanuel Levinas
3. Dr. Martin Grahl (Hannover, Germany)
Emmanuel Levinas from a Christian point of view

Coffee break 16:30-17:00

17:00 – 19:00
1. Keynote address:
Prof. Mara Rubene (Riga, Latvia)
Staying in touch: some reflections on phenomenological heritage of E. Levinas
2. Prof. Elga Freiberga (Riga, Latvia)
How to think about ethics?
3. Ieva Lapinska (Riga, Latvia)
Does the ethical relation to the other take place beyond the being?

19:00-19:30 Concluding Discussion