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European Heritage Award 2010 Celebrating Excellence awarded to The Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina

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XV World Congress of Jewish Studies

Jerusalem, from 2 till 6 August 2009



The World Congress of Jewish Studies is one of the largest conferences with interdisciplinary approach to the Jewish culture and tradition. The Congress is organized every fourth year under the auspices of the Hebrew University and the Bar-Ilan University from Jerusalem. Representative of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments was Aleksandra Bunčić, associate for movable heritage.


Main objective of the Congress is to present research and discovery achievements in the fields that bring together certain aspects from the Jewish history, religion, archaeology, literature, art, ethics, language, and similar.


Congress sessions took account of more than 1,400 various topics that belong to the following fields:

- The Bible and Its World,

- Rabbinic Literature, Jewish Law, and Jewish Thought,

- History of the Jewish People, Contemporary Jewish Society and Jewish Education,

- Hebrew Literature and Folklore,

- Hebrew Language, Judaeo-Arabic, Yiddish and Ladino,

- Jewish Art, Music, Theatre and Cinema,

- Research Projects.


The Congress was officially opened with a ceremony on August 2, 2009. The lectures in the segment of Jewish Art were divided into modules (four per day) that included presentation of four topics each.


On August 2, 2009, the lectures were given with special emphasis to relationship between the Jewish and Christian art in their various segments:

1.Ancient Jewish Art (in cooperation with the Centre for Jewish Art),

2.The Dialogue between Early Christian, Byzantine and Jewish art,

3.Envisioning Past and Present: The Relevance of Traditions in Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts,

4.Iconographical Problems in Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts.


On August 3, 2009, the lectures encompassed the following topics:

1.Jewish Motifs from the Early Renaissance to the Eighteenth Century,

2.Synagogue Architecture,

3.Painting in Eastern European Synagogues,

4.Interactions between Jewish Art and Surrounding Visual Culture.


The lectures given on August 4, 2009 were focused on the Sephardic culture of the Balkans and the visual identity:

1.Visual Judaism: On the Methodology of Object-History,

2.Jewish Art from the Eighteenth to Beginning of the Twentieth Centuries,

3.Sephardic Jews and Visual Culture,

4.Assimilation in Early Twentieth-Century Jewish Art.


On August 5, 2009, the lectures encompassed the topics that investigated aesthetic, social, economic, political and other streams in the modern art:

1.What is Tradition in Modern Jewish Art?

2.Constructing the Old and New Jewish Image in the 20th Century,

3.Jewish Art in Central and Eastern Europe before and during World War II .


On the last Congress day, on August 5, 2009, the objective of the lectures was placed on development of art during World War II:

1.Jewish Art and the Holocaust,

2.Jewish Ritual Art,

3.Assimilation vs. Identity in Jewish art in the Mid – to Late – Twentieth Century,

4.Questioning Identity in Jewish Art after World War II,

5.Contemporary Reactions to the Holocaust in Art.


In days before and after official work of the Congress, the participants had the opportunity to visit cultural and historic sights of the city of Jerusalem, and the Arab village of Ein Karem in the vicinity of Jerusalem. 

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