International Conference of the Selma Stern Center for Jewish Studies Berlin-Brandenburg and the Leo Baeck Institute Jerusalem
Berlin 20th – 22nd August 2018
Since the early 1920s Ernst Simon has played a multifaceted role in the discourses of German-speaking Judaism. This includes his authorship of countless newspaper articles and essays such as those that appeared in the Jüdische Rundschau, Ha‘aretz, the Jüdisches Wochenblatt and the Berliner Tageblatt; his work as an editor of German and Hebrew language magazines such as Martin Buber's "Der Jude", and his role as a public speaker; it encompasses his activity as a teacher at the Lehrhaus in Frankfurt and in Jerusalem‘s Beit HaKerem, as well as his historical-philosophical research on Ranke and Hegel and his work as professor of the history of pedagogy at the Hebrew University. Influenced by his friendship with Nehemia Nobel and Franz Rosenzweig, he regarded his religious stance as a form of intellectual honesty. It became the guidepost for his political action in the Zionist youth movement, Brit Shalom, the Jewish Center for Adult Education, as well as in the early religious peace movement in Israel in the 1950s. Martin Buber once called him a "bridge-builder". And indeed, from his youth Ernst Simon tried to forge connections between his various roles and to bring people into contact and conversation. Thus, Simon argued for Jewish-Arab understanding, just as he called for Christian-Jewish dialogue after the Shoah. In Israel, he helped found the Leo Baeck Institute in Jerusalem and taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary in the United States.
It is in the spirit of Simon the "bridge-builder" that various research perspectives will be propounded and discussed at the planned conference. The focus will be on different approaches to his works and aspects of his biography, with an emphasis on the many sources in which the diversity of Simon's work is reflected.
Connections will be made between topics, questions and controversies that punctuated the course of Ernst Simon's life. Coinciding with the 30th anniversary of Ernst Akiba Simon’s death, the conference in August 2018 will be the first occasion at which these disparate constellations are brought together and a long-term exchange of researchers established.
Contributions and costs
The Call for Paper is aimed at doctoral candidates and post-doctoral students. Interested parties should send an abstract (max 1 page) together with a short CV, by January 20th 2018, to: Marco Kissling at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Efforts will be made to finance the conference and in particular to cover travel and accommodation costs.