Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Latvia, “Jews in Latvia” Museum, International Centre for Litvak Photography (Kaunas), Litvak Cemetery Catalogue “Maceva” (Vilnius), Šeduva Jewish Memorial Fund (Vilnius/Šeduva) and Paideia– The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden (Stockholm) are pleased to invite applications for a travelling summer school in Latvia and Lithuania entitled, “Challenging the Past: Jewish Heritage Study”. The school is scheduled for July 8-13, 2019.

The school consists of a six-day programme held in six Latvian and Lithuanian towns and cities aimed at giving participants the opportunity of seeing how Jewish history has influenced local culture and vice versa, to explore Jewish life and culture today and to immerse themselves in Jewish heritage and history.

The main aim of the school is to build enthusiasm and to inspire, to increase knowledge and to provide the skills required to work with Jewish heritage. The programme includes an impressive series of diverse lectures, workshops, visits, cultural events and more, and will combine the complementary subjects of Jewish culture, religion and heritage with history, covering the historical, textual, and linguistic contexts of Jewish heritage. It will be conducted by professionals with recognized expertise.

Preparatory work will be provided to help in building an understanding of what the school will entail. At the end of the programme, participants will make presentations of their key findings and potential directions for future work.

This summer school will equip the participants:

  • with enthusiasm and interest to work with the local Jewish heritage;
  • to perceive Latvian and Lithuania Jewish heritage and history as an integral part of Latvian and Lithuanian culture and history;
  • to understand the significant role that Jewish heritage can play in tackling social challenges and addressing broad topics such as cultural diversity, integration etc.;
  • with ways of using and utilising the rich and multifaceted sources of Jewish heritage;
  • with the skills that participants can use to work more effectively and expand the individual perspective over borders and across institutional boundaries.

The program has been co-organized by:

In Latvia

  • Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Latvia (Riga)
  • “Jews in Latvia” Museum (Riga)

In Lithuania

  • International Centre for Litvak Photography (Kaunas)
  • Litvak Cemetery Catalogue “Maceva” (Vilnius)
  • Šeduva Jewish Memorial Fund (Vilnius/Šeduva)

In Sweden

  • Paideia – The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden (Stockholm)

Included in the Programme:

  • travel during the programme;
  • accommodation in a shared (twin) room;
  • meals (breakfast, most of dinners and lunches);
  • excursions, guided tours and the program’s cultural activities;
  • materials needed for the workshops.

Not included:

  • travel to and from Riga (the start and end point of the programme);
  • meals not mentioned.

Who can apply:

Applicants must be:

  • from Latvia or Lithuania;
  • aged between 20 and 40;
  • able to speak English;
  • a communicator/multiplier*;
  • ambitious leaders or young professionals/creatives from all backgrounds;
  • open-minded;
  • interested in the history and culture of the Jews (no previous experience is required);
  • willing to engage in and contribute to multicultural group work;
  • passionate about staying in touch after completion of the school.

* including but not limited to representative of the NGOs, community institutions, museums, civil servants, journalists, social media and union representatives and leaders, social activists, educators, academics etc.

Approximately 14 participants will be selected to attend the summer school. 

How to apply:

Candidates wishing to participate must complete the online application form ( Applications will be accepted until 1st May 2019.

Successful applicants will be notified as soon as possible after the closing date.

If you have any questions, please contact us at:

The summer school program has been developed within the framework of the project, carried out with the partial financial support of the Nordplus and Dutch Jewish Humanitarian Fund.

Supported by: 

Preliminary schedule highlights*:

July 8, Monday

  • Welcome to Riga - an orientation to the programme topic & getting acquainted with participants
  • A guided walking tour “Introduction to Latvian Jewish history”
  • Visiting Riga Peitavas Street Synagogue, an overview of Judaism; workshop on Jewish texts
  • Closing of the day

July 9, Tuesday

  • Breakfast in Riga
  • Lecture on Judaism in Latvia
  • Workshop in the Art Nouveau district
  • Debriefing the experience
  • Visiting Riga Jewish community & tasting Jewish food
  • Movie screening and discussion

July 10, Wednesday

  • Breakfast in Riga
  • Personal stories – visiting the University of Latvia
  • Workshop on documentation of the cultural heritage
  • Bauska – a walking tour of Jewish heritage sites; visiting the museum and meeting local activists

July 11, Thursday

  • Breakfast in Bauska
  • Pakruojis – wooden synagogue – example of good practice;
  • Šeduva – museum and cemetery restoration project presentation
  • Šeduva shtetl – former marketplace tour, workshop on shtetl's culture
  • Kėdainiai – Multicultural Centre, group work
  • Debrief and presentations

July 12, Friday

  • Breakfast in Kėdainiai
  • Fact sheet and morning briefing
  • Ninth Fort – visiting the monument, workshop on photography
  • Kaunas Old Jewish Cemetery – cemetery documentation workshop
  • Kaunas – tour “Lost & Found”
  • Debrief and presentations
  • Free time
  • Shabbat 

July 13, Saturday

  • Breakfast in Kaunas
  • Fact sheet and morning briefing
  • Orientation game
  • Closing event at former Zamenhof Street synagogue
  • Q&As; Participant feedback
  • Departure to Riga

* Subject to change.