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Moscow: A New Jewish Center

A ceremony being held in Moscow marks the opening of the International Center for Russian & East European Jewish Studies. Members of Russian academic institutions and the cultural, scientific, educational and business communities will participate in the ceremony. Representatives of the Government of the Russian Federation, the Ambassador of Israel to Russia and diplomats from Eastern and Western European countries and the United States will also attend the event.

The International Center for Russian & East European Jewish Studies was established in Moscow with the support of Russian and international academic circles and philanthropic organizations. Dr. Oleg Budnitskii, a specialist in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian history, has been named Academic Director of the Center. He will also head the Centers Academic Council.

Over the past decade, Russia's Jewish community has increased its awareness of the vast learning, traditions and culture of the Jewish people that developed over thousands of years. Across Russia, and most notably in Moscow, Jewish academic institutions have opened and literature on Jewish history, religion and traditions is being published. However, the vast majority of the academic community engaged in the study of Judaism has noted that as yet too little attention has been paid to the complex and diverse topic of the heritage and history of Jews residing in the territories that once made up Tsarist Russia.

The concept for establishing a Center in Moscow originated with Russian researchers engaged in studying this topic at foreign academic institutions and at centers of Slavic and Jewish studies. The goal of the International Center for Russian & East European Jewish Studies is to study and promote knowledge and understanding of the rich historical and cultural heritage of Russian and East European Jews. The Center will study their contribution to world culture and history, as well as their impact on the culture of peoples of Russia and other East European countries, and the development of a unique ethno-cultural phenomenon.

The Centers founders expect that the Center will contribute to self-identification by Russian and East European Jews through its dissemination of knowledge about the cultural heritage and historical traditions of the Jewish people. They also expect that the Center will contribute to the unification and development of Russia's Jewish community and strengthen its relations with compatriots living abroad.

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