The Jewish Chronicle
Sussex setting up Jewish studies institute with German support
THE UNIVERSITY of Sussex is launching a new Jewish studies institute with the aim of attracting prominent scholars from a variety of disciplines and promoting research of the Jewish experience in a broader context.
It will be known as the Sussex Weidenfeld Institute of Jewish Studies, backed by the family of the late Lord Weidenfeld, a keen supporter of the university.
Sussex’s Centre for German-Jewish Studies, established in 1994, has grown into a major educational and training facility. The university says the centre will be at heart of the new project, although the institute will have a much wider remit.
The institute is also being financially supported by the German and Aus- trian governments. To mark its founding, a discussion on “The rise of antisemitism in our time” will be held at the German embassy and hosted by the ambassador, Peter Wittig, with a panel including Howard Jacobson, Baroness Neuberger and Lord Pickles. Lady Weidenfeld will be guest of honour.
“It is a poignant and very saddening sign of our times that we launch the institute amid a discussion on the rise of antisemitism,” Mr Wittig said. “This rise is deeply troubling, coming just over 80 years after the events of Kristallnacht in Germany, when Nazi paramilitary troops and civilians unleashed a pogrom against Jewish citizens, unchecked and unchallenged by most of civil society.”
Dr Gideon Reuveni, director of the Centre for German-Jewish Studies, said: “The vision of the Weidenfeld Institute is to become a leading intellectual hub for the interdisciplinary study and public discussion of the Jewish experience and how it relates to the key challenges of our time.
“This vision is rooted in the awareness of the fragility of our civilisation and the supposition that societies can be characterised by the way they treat their Jewish citizens.
“The Jewish experience — and especially the way in which antisemitism has emerged in different settings— can no longer be of mere antiquarian interest. The lessons of the Jewish past need to be applied politically and ethically in order to enhance civil society.”
It is sad that we launch at a time of rising antisemitism’