With the support of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine, a large-scale project to study the common history of Jews and Ukrainians, which dates back more than a thousand years, is being launched at Tel Aviv University. This has been shared by the JCU President Boris Lozhkin in the interview to Yevreyskiy Obozrevatel (Jewish Observer).
“For a long time, the perception of Ukraine and the Jews in it in the world has been in the captivity of the established stereotype of a kind of ‘Soviet monolith’. The Ukrainian Jewish history was not separated from the Soviet one, but we want to highlight only the history of living together of Jews and Ukrainians, their mutual influence on each other,” related Lozhkin about the project
According to him, the history of Jews in Ukraine goes back many centuries. As an example, he cited the first written mention of Kyiv, made in Hebrew in the first half of the tenth century. “And we are talking here only about the written mention of Kyiv, while the common Ukrainian-Jewish history is even older. Professor Simha Goldin, who will oversee the scientific part of the work in Tel Aviv, claims that the history of the Jewish community in Ukraine was not only original, but it influenced the entire Jewish world,” added Lozhkin.
In their turn, Jews also left a noticeable mark in the history of Ukraine. It is the study of these common pages of history that Tel Aviv University researchers will have to do.
“I am sure that soon we will learn a lot of new and interesting things about our ancestors, Jewish and Ukrainian,” promised the JCU President.
Speaking about the common Ukrainian-Jewish history, Lozhkin also named the main event of the past year. In his opinion, it was the signing of the memorandum between the Ukrainian government and the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center on the construction of a memorial at the site of the mass executions, that took the lives of more than 100,000 people, most of whom were Jews.
“This complex should become something like the Israeli Yad Vashem – an educational and research center for studying the history of the tragedy itself. The more we learn and speak about it, the less are the chances for a repetition of such monstrous tragedies,” said the JCU President.
As a reminder, the first mention of the project to study Ukrainian-Jewish history in cooperation with Tel Aviv University was at the Kyiv Jewish Forum in September 2020.