St Petersburg University plans to launch an academic programme in Modern Hebrew


Today, St Petersburg University is one of Russia’s largest centres for research in Jewish studies. The Department of Jewish Culture was established at St Petersburg University over a decade ago. Since 2017, the Department has produced 159 joint publications with colleagues from 26 research centres and universities in Israel. Notably, the average citation rate of some papers is significantly higher than the global average.

The meeting was also attended by: Sergey Andryushin, Vice-Rector for International Affairs at St Petersburg University; Professor Dmitrii Shmonin, Director of the Institute of Theology at St Petersburg University; and Professor Igor Tantlevskii, Head of the Department of Jewish Culture at St Petersburg University. During the meeting, Rector Nikolay Kropachev emphasised that despite the challenging geopolitical situation, researchers from Israel and Russia maintain connections and continue working together on topical issues.

Professor Kropachev noted that in 2016, St Petersburg University established the Laboratory of the Mosaic of Autoimmunity as part of Russia’s Government mega-grant programme in clinical medicine. The Laboratory is led by Professor Yehuda Schoenfeld, a world-leading authority in research, treatment and prevention of autoimmune diseases. Professor Schoenfeld is the founder and head of the Zabludowicz Centre for Autoimmune Diseases at Israel’s largest hospital — the Chaim Sheba Medical Centre at Tel Aviv University, and President of the International Congress on Autoimmunity.

St Petersburg University professor Yehuda Shoenfeld becomes President of Ariel University, Israel

For the University’s applicants interested in Jewish studies, St Petersburg University offers a wide range of academic programmes in the field. Thus, there is a bachelor’s and a master’s programme in Jewish Culture. The Council of these programmes is chaired by Uri Resnick, Consul General of the State of Israel in St Petersburg. This year, the University has opened admission to the master’s programme “Jewish Theology”. The bachelor’s programme in Jewish Theology has been finalised and will be launched in 2024.

In addition, the doctoral programmes: “Theoretical Theology”; “Historical Theology”; and “Practical Theology” include Judaism as one of the four possible research areas. Since 2018, St Petersburg University has implemented a doctoral programme “Jewish Classical Religious Texts”, which is the first doctoral programme of this kind offered by a state institution of higher education in Russia.

It was also noted that St Petersburg University offers the non-degree programme “Upgrading the qualifications of Hebrew teachers to work on the Flipped Learning model”. This year, the University plans to launch a programme in Modern Hebrew for students in all fields of study who wish to learn the language.

In 2017, St Petersburg University became the first organisation in the Russian Federation to conduct the Hebrew Proficiency Test — Yael. Every year, at least 60 people from all across Russia apply to take the test in order to obtain an official certificate confirming their Hebrew language proficiency.

During the meeting, proposals were made to develop cooperation between St Petersburg University and the Jewish community. In particular, St Petersburg University is interested in creating joint educational projects, including: filming popular science talks for a wider audience and creating online courses on the history of the important Jewish landmarks in St Petersburg. Another project could focus on the culture, history and modernity of the State of Israel.

St Petersburg University is a leader in online education in Russia and Europe. The produced video courses can therefore be presented not only on the national, but also on international learning platforms. The University is ready to create academic programmes drawing on themes suggested by the Jewish community and implement joint academic projects.

The meeting participants discussed the prospects for resuming the programme of the city-wide series of lectures on Jewish studies. The programme will feature joint workshops; Jewish culture days; concerts; and other events organised with the support of the Jewish community and the Israeli Consulate in St Petersburg.

The meeting also discussed the possibility of concluding contracts on sponsored training and engaging representatives of the Jewish community in the Councils of academic programmes in different study areas: not only in theology, but also in law, and the arts, to mention but a few.


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