BUDAPEST, March 7 (JTA) – Jewish communities in four former Communist states have established a scholarship grant for students in Jewish studies at the Central European University here.
“It marks the first time that Jewish communities in East-Central Europe cooperate in such a way, and as such is very significant,” sociologist Andras Kovacs, the director of the Jewish Studies Project at the Central European University, told JTA.
“It expresses an awareness in these communities that there are common issues in the region in which they have to act together,” he said. “It shows that they do not want to deal only with internal community issues, but that they regard the preservation of the Jewish heritage of the region and academic research on it as important.”
Jewish communities in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland contributed a total of $2,000 to endow the Central and Eastern European Jewish Communities Jewish Studies Support Research Grant.
This money is being disbursed in association with a similar Jewish studies research support grant from the American Jewish Committee.
The first recipients included graduate students from four countries: Jakub Szanto, from the Czech Republic, whose dissertation will be on anti-Semitism of the Czech fascist movement; Kati Voros, from Hungary, who will work on Jews and Hungarians in Budapest from 1867 to 1914; Constantin Iordachi, from Romania, researching the legal status of Jews in Romania during World War I; and Ksenia Polouektova, from Russia, who is working on interethnic conflicts and the cultural clash between Ashkenazi and Sephardi communities in Israel.
The CEU, set up in 1990, is a regional university promoting educational development and policy-making in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.
Funded by the Soros Foundation, it provides post-graduate education for students from nearly 40 countries. Most students come from former Communist states.
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