Center Names First Senior JHPS Fellow
Last year, the Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies introduced a new program that brings an established scholar and intellectual in JHPS to the Center, where the recipient will be in residence for the duration of a term, conduct research, teach a class, and participate in all Center programs. After a several-month long international search, the committee is proud to announce that Professor Kostek Gebert (Warsaw, Poland) will be our first Senior Center Fellow. Prof. Gebert is nothing short of a legend. He combines, as one of his recommenders from Italy described, the “role of a public intellectual of the highest class” with numerous scholarly and non-scholarly undertakings, including that of one of the leading journalists in Poland and Europe.
Prof. Gebert taught psychology at the Medical Academy, Warsaw, under Communist rule in the early 1970s, but soon came into conflict with the regime. He co-founded the famed (unofficial) Jewish Flying University, also in response to the growing anti-Semitism in Communist Poland. After writing for underground publications during the 1980s, he joined the newly-founded Gazeta Wyborcza, now the leading Polish daily, in 1989 and continues to contribute to many Polish and international media outlets, including the BBC. Gebert also established Midrasz magazine, which remains Poland’s most influential Jewish publication. He is the author of sixteen books, including 54 Commentaries to the Torah (2005) and Living in the Land of Ashes (2008). He has taught at UC Berkeley, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and the Center for Social Studies in Warsaw. Finally, Gebert is involved in (re)building the Jewish community in Poland and has long become one of its most prominent voices.
Since the State Department has temporarily ended all visa programs in response to the COVID-19 crisis, we will work with the recipient on a possible time to come to NC to serve the term of this fellowship. Prof. Gebert will already be teaching an on-line upper-level class on Jewish-Polish relations in F’20. The Center is grateful to the donors who made this first fellowship possible.