The Program of Ukrainian and Jewish Ukrainian Studies

The first of its kind in Israel, the new Program at Tel Aviv University, coordinated by Dr. Rafael Vago, will encourage a new generation of Israelis to study the history and current affairs of the Ukraine, as well as the unique cultural legacy and contribution of Ukrainian Jewry. It will also promote closer ties between Israel and the Ukraine and support Ukrainian-born students at the University.

Israel and Ukraine have much in common. Both are young democracies seeking to build a successful market economy. Both are seeking closer cooperative ties with Europe; Israel in particular is intensifying its ties with Eastern European nations. Ukraine is home to over 500,000 Jews – the fifth largest Jewish community in the world – while Israel’s immigrant Ukrainian population numbers over 200,000.

The collapse of the Soviet Union significantly improved conditions for research projects on Ukrainian Jewry, including the opening of formerly sealed archives, the new ease of accessibility to the Ukraine, and an entire new generation of scholars who grew up in the former Soviet Union but are now able to pursue original research using the most advanced methods.

With these research resources now in place, the potential for increased mutual understanding, exchange and cooperation is considerable. It was in this context that Tel Aviv University launched the Program in Ukrainian and Jewish Ukrainian Studies as a timely opportunity to bring the rich legacy of Ukrainian and Jewish Ukrainian heritage to a broader public, as well as to boost understanding between Israelis and Ukrainians for the benefit of closer and more productive academic and cultural ties.

Activities of the Program:

The Program will work on two main levels:

  1. Awarding doctoral fellowships to outstanding Ukrainian-born students at TAU:
    • The first group of recipients come from fields as diverse as biochemistry, zoology, cell biology, anatomy and anthropology, physics, plant sciences and the mathematical sciences, encompassing the Faculties of Medicine, Life Sciences, Exact Sciences and Engineering.

  2. Promoting high-level academic teaching, research and cooperation:
    • Advancing teaching and research of historical and contemporary Ukraine, with an emphasis on Jewish themes, both at TAU and in cooperation with leading academics in Israel, the Ukraine and worldwide
    • Supporting an annual study trip of students and faculty to the Ukraine
    • Organizing academic conferences, workshops and lectures on Ukrainian history and Jewry
    • Promoting academic ties with institutions of higher learning in the Ukraine, including running an exchange program
    • Supporting the publication of books and articles on Ukraine and Ukrainian Jewry, as well as the acquisition of books and periodicals in the field for the benefit of scholars and graduate students at TAU and throughout Israel.


Tel Aviv University