Barbara Spectre is the Founding Director of Paideia, the European Institute of Jewish Studies in Sweden, an academic institute that serves as a resource and stimulus for the renewal of European Jewish culture and which, in conjunction with the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien in Heidelberg grants an MA degree in Jewish Civilizations.  She was formerly on the faculty of the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jerusalem, where she taught Jewish Thought, the Melton Center of the Hebrew University, and Yellin College of Education.  Her area of research is Models of Response to the Holocaust in Christian and Jewish Theology.  Her publications include: “A Theology of Doubt” (Hebrew) and, together with Noam Zion of the Hartman Institute, the two volume: “A Different Light: The Hanukkah Book of Celebration”.  She is the recipient of the 2007 Max Fisher Prize for Jewish Education in the Diaspora, and the ICRF “2008 Women in Action” award.

Session 1: Is There a Unique European Jewish Culture?

Recovered Jewish identities in the last two decades, long submerged in the wake of the trauma of the Holocaust and under Communist repression, have now emerged and have led to a renewal of Jewish life throughout the European continent.  What is the nature of that life?  Who are the leaders at the forefront of this movement, and what propels them to reclaim Jewish identity?  Is this renewal sustainable?  Is there a unifying factor among them, and are there unique qualities that distinguish European from other centers of Jewish life?  What are the challenges and what are the threats facing this renewal?  Responses to these questions will be nourished by the decade-plus of experience of Paideia, the European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden, with the data from 400 graduates in 35 countries.

Session 2: Achievements and challenges for the future for Jewish life in the Nordic region

Antisemitism och assimilation – sådan har hotbilden mot judar beskrivits i århundraden. Är detta fortfarande riktigt, eller finns det andra hot, såväl interna som externa, som vi brottas med idag och som är viktigare att förstå? Sitter vi fast i en nedåtgående spiral eller är saker och ting bättre än vad vi tror fast annorlunda än vad vi är vana vid att det ska vara? Dessa frågeställningar och fler kommer vi att utforska när vi diskuterar de judiska församlingarnas roll i Norden i dag.

Sessionen hålls på engelska