Sholem Aleichem Amur State University
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Sholem Aleichem Amur State University (Russian: Приамурский государственный университет имени Шолом-Алейхема), formerly Birobidzhan State Pedagogical Institute is a university in Russia. This is the only university based in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast. It is named after Jewish-Russian author Sholem Aleichem.
The university works in cooperation with the local Jewish community of Birobidzhan and the Birobidzhan Synagogue. It is unique in the Russian Far East. The basis of the training courses is study of the Hebrew language, history and classic Jewish texts.
In recent years, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast has grown interest in its Jewish roots. Students study Hebrew and Yiddish at the Jewish school and Birobidzhan Jewish National University. In 1989, the Jewish Center founded a Sunday school, where children can study Yiddish, learn Jewish folk dance, and history of Israel. The Israeli government helps funding this program.
In 2007, first Birobidzhan International Summer Program for Yiddish Language and Culture was launched by Boris Kotlerman, Yiddish studies professor in Bar-Ilan University. Yiddish is still the region’s second official language after Russian, although it is spoken only by a handful of 4,000 remaining Jews. This program includes a workshop on the village of Valdgeym and its Yiddish heritage.
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