3rd July 2023

PAIDEIA (European Institute of Jewish Studies in Sweden) Alumni Conference at the Lithuania National Library

The PAIDEIA (European Institute of Jewish Studies in Sweden) Alumni Conference took place at the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania on 8-11 June.

PAIDEIA is an academic institute founded in 2000 in Stockholm with the aim of ensuring the revival of Jewish culture in Europe, fostering intercultural dialogue and promoting the integration of minorities in European societies. PAIDEIA offers a wide range of learning programmes and strives for education based on openness, democracy, transparency and interculturality.

PAIDEIA alumni come from more than 40 countries, including Lithuania, and work in a wide range of fields, including cultural and academic institutions, educational leaders, rabbis, cantors and scholars of Jewish culture, museum professionals, artists, journalists and writers.

The PAIDEIA Alumni Conference is an annual gathering of alumni, sponsored by Diane and Howard Wohl, held in a different city each year since 2005, where lectures are given, connections are made, and collaborative work projects are discussed and planned. The conference is an opportunity to get to know the different centres of Jewish life and communities in Europe, as well as a space for alumni to share knowledge and experiences and to develop new initiatives and collaborations.

The conference programme focused on the 700th anniversary of Vilnius. Participants got acquainted with the Jewish heritage in Vilnius in various ways: through lectures, studying texts about the Vilna Gaon and the Litvak mentality, presentations by organisations working on Jewish issues, and sightseeing tours led by 6 local guides. Participants also visited the travelling exhibition “Reflections in a Shattered Mirror”, which consists of documents from the National Library’s Judaica Collection, presenting the life of the Jewish communities of Lithuania between the wars: education, healthcare, literature, theatre and art, book printing and the culture of reading, as well as the roles of Kaunas and Vilnius for the Jewish community.

The National Library has gained an important new international partner through its cooperation with PAIDEIA.

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