The Dr. Moshe Carmilly Institute for Hebrew and Jewish History was founded in 1991 as part of the Department of Medieval, Early Modern and Art History of the Faculty of History and Philosophy, Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca. At the time of its opening, it was the only academic centre in Romania and in this part of Europe that was devoted to Jewish Studies exclusively. Since its very inception, the institute has aimed to revive Jewish Studies in Romania after the collapse of communism by offering courses in modern Hebrew, the history of the Jews in Romania and in the Diaspora, Jewish philosophy and modern Jewish thought, Hebrew and Yiddish literature and culture.

Furthermore, since its founding, the institute has offered both an academic research programme, as well as a teaching programme in the field of Jewish Studies. Between 1991-1999, the teaching programme included optional courses in modern Hebrew, Jewish history, literature, philosophy, art, culture and civilisation, taught by professors from the Babeş-Bolyai University and by guest lecturers from Israel, Austria, Germany, and France.

In 1998, an MA as well as a PhD programme in Jewish Studies were opened at the Faculty of History and Philosophy, and in 1999, a BA (undergraduate) programme with a minor in Hebrew was founded at the Faculty of Letters. In 2002, a similar undergraduate programme was initiated at the Faculty of History and Philosophy that ensured a double specialisation in History and Jewish Studies. They were all accredited by the Romanian Ministry of Education.

Starting with 2009, the name of the specialisation changed in Cultural Studies-Jewish Studies. Between 2009-2012, the Jewish Studies Programme of the Faculty of History and Philosophy, and the Dr. Moshe Carmilly Institute for Hebrew and Jewish History, were transferred to the Faculty of European Studies. In October 2012, the Dr. Moshe Carmilly Institute for Hebrew and Jewish History was reestablished within the Faculty of History and Philosophy, and in October 2013, the previous MA programme in Cultural Studies-Jewish Studies was reopened at the Faculty of History and Philosophy. During the years in which the institute and the Jewish Studies programme was part of the Faculty of History and Philosophy, many of the courses were attended by students from other faculties (Philosophy, Economics, Geography, Physics, Chemistry, Music, Arts and Architecture) who were interested in learning Hebrew and broadening their knowledge of subjects related to Judaism and Jewish culture.

The aims of the Institute’s research programme are to discover, inventorise, microfilm and explore archival documents, books and periodicals about the Jews in Romania, written in Hebrew, Yiddish, Romanian, German, Hungarian, and Latin. To the present date, some tens of thousands of such documents have been examined and sorted at the local branches of the National Archives from Satu-Mare, Oradea, Arad, Târgu Mureş, Cluj-Napoca, Miercurea Ciuc, Iaşi, Suceava, Botoşani, Bacău, and other places. In addition, field studies of more than 200 Jewish cemeteries from Transylvania and Moldova have been carried out.

  • Senior Lecturer Dr. Maria Radosav, Babeș-Bolyai University – Director
  • Visiting Professor Dr. Moshe Idel, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Visiting Professor Dr. Alexander Orbach, University of Pittsburgh
  • Visiting Lecturer Dr. Lucian Herşcovici, Jerusalem
  • Lecturer Dr. Augusta Costiuc Radosav, Babeș-Bolyai University

The institute cooperates with universities from Israel, the United States of America, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands and other countries. Israeli guest lecturers of Hebrew were included in the academic programme in Jewish Studies between 1995-2005, financed by the Embassy of Israel in Romania during the first few years, and afterwards entirely by the Babeş-Bolyai University. Other professors and guest lecturers of Jewish Studies taught in Cluj-Napoca, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Tel Aviv University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Montpellier, the University of Sorbonne, the University of Vienna, and from other prestigious academic centres. The agreements reached with these universities focus on faculty and student exchange, joint programmes, exchange of information, publications, and the organisation of conferences and workshops.