The Judaica Institute (Institute of Jewish Studies) is a public organization created by the initiative group with the purpose of studying and popularization of the history and modern life of the Jewish community of Ukraine.
The Institute specializes in organizing and conducting research in the field of Jewish history and culture of Ukraine and coordination of researchers in this field.
The Institute was established after the tragic decades of the Bolshevik repression, the Nazi genocide of Jews and the ban of research in the field of Jewish studies.
In the late 80's and early 90’ss, when the processes of national revival began, there was not a single specialist in Jewish studies available in Ukraine to facilitate the resumption of scientific research.
We started from scratch since we were inspired with the desire to know and understand our past and present in the name of a decent life and the future for our children. The Institute’s activity covers around 20 projects and programmes.
Over the past few years one of the main forms of work of the Institute is working with the younger generation.
This includes issue of a large series of "Educational CDs on Jewish history and culture", the creation of six educational exhibitions, a special place among which occupy the Exhibition "The Jews of Ukraine for the State of Israel. Ukrainian Land, Eretz Yisrael, Israel", created at the initiative of and in close cooperation with the Embassy of Israel in Ukraine, as well as the Exhibition "Holodomor, Holocaust, GULAG – the Tragedies of the 20th Century on Ukrainian Soil. Crimes of the Totalitarian Regime against the People and Man", created with the support of Dar Centre, and a series of educational exhibitions on Jewish history and culture, which were on display in the Galitska Synagogue in Kiev in close cooperation with the Midrasha Zionit Centre.
One of the forms of the Institute’s activity is conducting training seminars for schoolchildren, students, history teachers, librarians, etc. After working during such seminars, students get the opportunity to work as guides at exhibitions, which - according to comments of the participants - fundamentally change their attitude to the outward things and the information presented on television. The projects teach to think and analyse.
In particular, the project "The Lessons of the Tragedies of the 20th Century on Ukrainian Soil. Teaching Tolerance as a Way of Survival of Mankind in the 21st Century. Development of Strategies for the Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust", as well as many other projects conducted by the Institute for many years foster understanding of the value of human life, the formation of humanistic principles of building a civil society, the reducing of the level of aggression in the youth environment, the formation of civil society, and the awareness of the dangers of totalitarianism for the individual and for humanity as a whole.
After all the events that have occurred in Ukraine over the past two years, the materials of the exhibitions have assumed even greater urgency and relevance.
Exhibition: "The Path to Dream: The Contribution of Immigrants from Ukraine in the Creation of the State of Israel".
The exhibition tells about the people bound with Ukrainian towns and shtetls whose names were given today in Israel to streets and kibbutzim, wells and power plants. Students, engineers, doctors, poets, artists, soldiers and lawyers – all of them were leaving for a desolate earth of Eretz Yisrael, to turn it into a land flowing with milk and honey.
The Institute has publishing and community programs. Among community-based programmes, a special attention belongs to Mnemosina Club led by Julia Smilianska for many years.
Mnemosina Club was created in September 2000 with the aim of enhancing the creative potential of the participant of the Hesed Avot programme.
The work of the club fits in the formula: the History of Ukrainian Jewry in documents, photographs and oral stories. Today Mnemosina Club is an independent project, and the club members are actively involved in the activities of the Institute.
The Institute closely cooperates with a number of Jewish organizations in Ukraine and abroad, such as the Embassy of Israel in Ukraine, Dar Center, Midrash Zionit, the Anne Frank House and Amsterdam and many others.
Institute of Jewish studies is open to cooperation with all interested individuals and organizations.
Director of the Institute – Julia Smilianska.