The year 2020 marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of Rabbi Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, the Vilna Gaon, who was a major and lasting influence on the Jews of Lithuania and brought Lithuanian Jewry to the fore of Jewish religious and intellectual development of Europe. This year will be commemorated in Lithuania as the Year of Vilna Gaon and Jewish History.
The conference will discuss the multiple, changing and contending meanings and effects of the Vilna Gaon on Jewish religious and intellectual life in his time, and how this meaning was constructed, reshaped, and engaged with during the subsequent two centuries. The organizers invite participants to address also the politicization of Gaon's cultural heritage, its appropriations in different political, cultural and economic projects and further in the process of constructing a Litvak identity. In addition, the Gaon may be regarded as an iconic or referential image, discussing his role in formative movements and phenomena in Lithuania in its historical borders from the 18th to the 20th century. Because the patrimonial Gaon's legacy, in terms of temporal, cultural and geographical extensions, goes well beyond Lithuania in its historical borders, transcultural and transnational scope will be considered as well.
The conference is organized by the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania and its Judaica Research Center (Vilnius), Department of History, Vilnius University, Lithuanian institute of History, Leibniz-Institut für jüdische geschichte und Kultur - Simon Dubnow (Leipzig), German Historical Institute Warsaw, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (New York).
--- Die Veranstaltung würde verschoben und findet voraussichtlich im September 2020 statt. ---