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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Leo Baeck Summer University in Jewish Studies

Leo Baeck Summer University




LBSU is a unique, rigorous, six-week program in Jewish studies. It is an integrated and substantive academic program combined with excursions, workshops, and meetings all related to the academic program. It takes advantage of the resources of North American, South American, German, Israeli, Turkish and Eastern European universities--its faculty and students--to create a unique intellectual and cultural meeting point in Berlin.


Curriculum and Instruction

The academic seminar is divided into two modules during which students attend a three-hour academic seminar each morning (each module is taught by a different lecturer). Following a break, they attend professionally led excursions, workshops and lectures that complement the subjects presented in the seminar. Afternoon sessions last from two to three hours.

Regular assignments are required (readings, writing, short paper or exam) and each student receives a grade for each module (which are then combined to form a grade for the entire program). The modules are taught in seminar style and should encourage discussion.

For the last week, students complete work on final projects, which are presented during the final days of the program. 

Project work is prepared with the advice of the academic director and faculty members. Grades will be based primarily each student's work in the modules, plus the final project. The academic director will confer with the faculty about the grade.

The academic director oversees the program and meets regularly with all students to ensure their progress and success, as well as to ensure continuity throughout the six weeks. The final projects will be evaluated by the academic director and the module lecturers.

Afternoon Program

The weekday afternoon program reflects the themes of the modules. It will provide students with hands-on experience, deeper knowledge of specific subjects and exposure to historical and contemporary sites of significance.

The following are examples of past excursions, workshops and lectures in the afternoon program:

Excursions include: Berlin City Tour, Tour of “Jewish” Berlin, the Jewish Museum, Reichstag, Germany's National Holocaust Memorial, Sachsenhausen, Weissensee Cemetery, German Parliament, Wannsee Villa. 

Lectures/Meetings: Meeting with Jewish community leaders, with German officials and politicians, representatives of the Turkish community,  the American Jewish Committee, the Ronald Lauder Foundation, Chabad Lubavitch, Federal Union of Jewish Students, Young and Jewish Group, Jewish writers, filmmakers, journalists. Lectures on German-Israel relations and Jewish-Muslim relations in Germany.

Workshops: Leo Baeck Institute Archive at the Jewish Museum (Dr. Aubrey Pomeranz), Media analysis, “The Representation of Jews in the Non-Jewish Media,” German Political Foundations (Stiftungen) and the Jewish Community, Jewish Newspapers in Germany.

Optional weekend trips might include: Baltic Sea, Weimar and Dresden, Einstein's summer home in Caputh, etc.


A typical day:

9:30 a.m.to 12:30 p.m. Academic Seminar

12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Lunch Break

1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.(varies) excursions, lectures, workshops, meetings, film.



LBSU offers 12 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) Credits, transferable to home institutions.

The number of university credits each student receives is left to the discretion of each home institution.