Fifth EAJS Congress, Copenhagen, 14th-18th August 1994
Jewish Studies in a New Europe
The fifth EAJS congress in Copenhagen, 14-18 August 1994, was organized under the heading Jewish Studies in a New Europe.
The response to the calls for participation and for papers was very encouraging. By June 1994 about 150 scholars had announced their presence and 113 persons forwarded their abstracts for lectures within the following academic categories:
Philosophy and Mysticism (15)
Bible and Exegesis (14)
Social Studies (13)
In four plenary sessions papers were presented by Professor Joseph Yahalom, Professor Malachi Beit-Ari, Professor Nehemia Levtzion and Professor Joseph Dan.
Twenty countries were represented: Austria, Canada, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary. Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, the Ukraine, the USA and Denmark.
The congress committee, Hanne Trautner-Kromann, Egon Keck, Karen-Lisa Goldschmidt Salamon, Edna Basud Thorsen and Ulf Haxen, had started the fundraising campaign by mid-1992 and by March 1994 they reached a satisfactory amount enabling the committee to pay the costs for invited guest speakers and subsidizing student participants.
Among the contributing foundations and institutions were the Ministry for Cultural Affairs, the Danish Research Council for the Humanities, the Royal Funds (Queen Margarethe II’s and Price Henrik’s Fond and King Frederik IX’s and Queen Ingrid’s Fond), the Jewish Community and several private donors. The Chief Justice David Foundation donated a substantial amount for the publication of the congress proceedings.
A supporting and honorary committee was elected in which ambassadors from Israel, Poland and the USA, the Mayor of Frederiksberg and the Minister of Education, Scandinavian academics and cultural notables from Denmark participated.
The opening of the congress took place at the Frederiksberg Town Council Hall with the Mayor, John Winther, as host of the evening at a grand reception. The speakers at the opening were the Israeli Ambassador to Denmark, Nathan Meron, Mayor John Winther and Ulf Haxen. The opening lecture was given by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz. Benyamin Bilsky conducted a musical recital with the 35-girl Rosh Ha‘ayin Mandolin Orchestra.
The Royal Library granted free accommodation for the exhibition of Hebrew manuscripts and the Director hosted a reception on the occasion of the presentation of The Jewish Art Index Vol. V, The Copenhagen Illuminated Hebrew Manuscripts. The Copenhagen Business School gave free accommodation for the conducting of the five-day congress business.
Included in the programme was a tour to Nordsjælland (Northern Sealand) to the small fishing villages from where the Danish Jewish refugees were rescued by Danish fishermen and taken to Sweden during the Second World War, and the Gilleleje Church where a group of Danish Jews hiding there were captured by the Nazis in 1943. The congress delegates also made a stop at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. In the evening, after the excursion, a reception was held in The Jewish Department of The Royal Library at its temporary domicile in Amaliegade 38.
On the final day of the congress a well-attended general meeting took place during which a new executive committee was elected, and Professor Angel Sáenz-Badillos (Madrid) appointed President. It was decided that the venue of the next EAJS congress should be in Spain in 1998. It was further decided to establish a closer co-operation between EAJS and the International Center for the University Teaching of Jewish Civilization (Jerusalem).
Finally, two declarations were discussed and passed by the assembly: (1) the future organization of and future strategies for EAJS, and (2) a declaration in which the general assembly dissociated itself from the lecture entitled The Commandment Concerning Amalek read by Professor Tryggve Kronholm (Uppsala) at the Copenhagen congress.