The word Czernowitz is primarily associated with Jewish culture. Our project is intended to answer the question of Chernivtsi citizens and guests „What is happening today in Czernowitz Jewish social life?“. Our project aims to show contemporary Jewish culture and make it interesting for young people through organizing poetry readings of authors from Izrael, art exhibition and a range of lectures by famous professors, translators and journalists on Jewish topics.
The main objective of the project is to introduce, to continuously increase awareness of the young generation and to make them interested in contemporary Jewish culture, values, traditions, religion, literature, and lifestyle on constant basis though a number of culture events, workshops and lectures given by famous experts well known in the field, to give new opportunities for further development of Jewish culture in Czernowitz.
This year’s project has a special focus: 1700 years of Jewish life in Germany. The anniversary year of 2021 commemmorates Germany’s vibrant Jewish community and aims to capture the richness of German-Jewish heritage. That’s why we also concentrate our program in Chernivtsi on German-Jewish events.
1.«(De)mystifying and (de)coding Rosa Ausländer: about the known, little-known and invented from the life and poetry of the Bukovinian author»
2. Public conversation on the topic „Jewish community of Chernivtsi today and tomorrow“ with Leonid Milman
4. August 2021
Leonid Milman – Chairman of the Board of the Jewish Community of Chernivtsi region.
The conversation focused on how we understand the heritage, the history of the city and the dialogue in society. Who owns this heritage and who is responsible for its preservation – only descendants or absolutely all citizens of the city? How does the forgotten or unforgotten history of our „yesterday“ affect the state of our „today“?
3. Public conversation on the topic „Jewish brand of Ukrainian Chernivtsi“ with Marina Libanova
18. August 2021
Marina Libanova – director of the bookstore „Bookinist“ based in Chernivtsi.
The conversation touched upon the issues of how interesting individuals manage to become a recognizable brand, and their projects – a visit card of the city. What is the secret of the success of Chernivtsi initiatives? Why, if you were not in the bookstore „Bukinist“ and the Paul-Celan-Literature-Center, then you were not in today’s Chernivtsi? People-brands of modern Chernivtsi – Marina Libanova and Svyatoslav Pomerantsev will speak about it.
4. Public conversation on the topic „Jewish and not Jewish questions about Chernivtsi and Ukraine“
4. September 2021
Yosyf Zisels – human rights activist and Ukrainian dissident. He was a member of the Ukrainian Helsinki group (UHG), involved in the samizdat movement, human rights activist, prominent activist in the Jewish movement in Ukraine, and a political prisoner.
During the event, Yosyf Zisels told us about his youth in Chernivtsi, about his arrests, his first acquaintance with the books of Paul Celan and their common friends. They talked about the culture of memory and the importance of memorialization, in particular about places of remembrance. The main topic of conversation was the topic of national identity, in particular Jewish identity. We talked about the 1990s in Ukraine and about the present.
5. Presentation of new book of Anatoly Vishevsky and Boris Briker „We don’t speak Yiddish“
4. September 2021
This book consists of short stories, each of which contains a word or phrase in Yiddish. Is this book about words? Not exactly, but rather about the people who used those words. It’s announced in the title itself that authors do not speak Yiddish, so the question arises – why take a topic what they do not know? But this is not a scientific work. This book is perhaps quite unscientific, say the authors. The place of events is the city of Chernivtsi, where authors were born and raised and where they were known as Tolya and Borya. However, what they write are not memories. Real people, events, facts, impressions – they shuffled it all like cards, and then mixed everything up again so that no one would recognize themselves in them. So don’t even try. And if you suddenly recognize – it’s you, authors have nothing to do with it.
6. Modern Israeli poetry with Noam Partom and Tomer Dotan-Dreyfus
5. September 2021
Noam Partom – (Born 1986 Tel Aviv) Poet, performance artist and a creative writing teacher in Tel-Aviv University, Middlebury college, Vermont, and other institutes in Israel and abroad. Winner of the Culture Ministry Award for Emerging Poets 2015, The Ramat-Gan Literature Award 2014 for debut poetry book and the 2016 international IBBY Honor List award for translation. Her second poetry book „Togetherness“ was published in winter 2018 by Hakibutz Hameuchad. Her debut poetry book “Setting the Water on Fire” was published in autumn 2012 by Xargol-Am Oved. Partom is one of the pioneers of the Spoken-Word genre in Israel. She launched an online video poetry project – “Poetube” – which gained 300,000 views and much public attention and acclaim. Partom is also touring Israel with a show based on her poetry with musician Yonatan Cnaan, and is the Creator and host of the literary radio show „Text-Mania“ in the Israeli Broadcast Corporation.
Tomer Dotan-Dreyfus is an Israeli-born author, poet and translator. Although Hebrew is his native language, he has lived in Berlin for over a decade and writes mainly in German. He holds a BA and MA degrees from the Free University of Berlin, both in Comparative Literature and Philosophy, his thesis presented a research into the singularities of the letter O. His recent translations from German to Hebrew include Walter Benjamin, Vilem Flusser and Mascha Kaleko, recent publications of original poetry include five poems in the anthology Was Es Bedeuten Soll (2019) and five poems in the 21st edition of the journal Triëdere (2020). Dotan-Dreyfus received a working stipend of the Berliner Senate for German-language writers in 2020 for his first novel Birobidzhan.
7. Public conversation on the topic „Family, friends and love in Chernivtsi“ with Mykhailo Krais – public figure and representative of the Jewish community of Chernivtsi
10. November 2021
The conversation was about the life of the city of Chernivtsi in the 70s – 90s of the last century and city’s present through the eyes of modern citizens. The conversation was moderated by the President of MERIDIAN CZERNOWITZ – Sviatoslav Pomerantsev.
During the conversation we discussed the peculiarities of Jewish life in Chernivtsi at the end of the last century on the example of one family.
8. Screening of the film „Questions of Celan’s biography“
23. November 2021
The film was shot in Paris in 2020. It captures the memoirs of publisher of Paul Celan’s works and letters in Germany and France Bertrand Badiou, and Paul’s only son, Eric Celan, about the world-famous German-speaking poet: with whom he communicated, spent time, translated, befriended, how did he arrange his life and what did he leave in memory of himself to his son and to the world literature?
9. Public conversation on the topic „Life in the Jewish orchestra and beyond“ with Lev Feldman – teacher, conductor, Honored Artist of Ukraine, founder of the orchestra of Jewish music „Feldman band“
8. December 2021
The conversation focused on the conquest of the best concert halls of Ukraine and Europe, the participation of the Chernivtsi orchestra in international forums and festivals, Jewish music and its features. This year the unique orchestra „Feldman band“ celebrated the 20th anniversary of the band. The speaker’s childhood and youth in Soviet Chernivtsi were also discussed. The conversation was moderated by the President of MERIDIAN CZERNOWITZ – Svyatoslav Pomerantsev.
10. Presentation of the book „Dilettante’s poems“ by Oleksandr Roitburd with the participation of book illustrator Serhiy Zhadan and publisher Sviatoslav Pomerantsev
20. December 2021
„Dilettante’s poems“ – selection of poems that Ukrainian painter Roitburd wrote throughout his life. Illustrations for the book were created by Ukrainian writer Serhiy Zhadan. He wrote an afterword to the collection: “This is a really interesting book of poems, in which time dissolves in space, and the lyrical hero constantly balances on the verge of openness and obscenity. This book will be especially interesting to read for those who know the artist Roitburd. But, I dare say, those who do not know him as painter, will also be very excited. The author of these poems has achieved a lot: he created his manuscript, kept this bizarre diary, he didn’t give up things which were important for him.
The book contains 66 poems by Oleksandr Roitburd and 18 illustrations by Serhiy Zhadan.
11. Public interview on the topic „1700 years of Jewish life in Germany“ with Tomer Dotan-Dreyfus
28. December 2021