New project to capture young Jewish European voices launches today

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New project to capture young Jewish European voices launches today

First seven stories published on Kaleidoscope feature entries from Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Turkey and the UK


An initiative to collect autobiographies of young Jews living in Europe has launched today with the publication of seven stories online. Kaleidoscope is a pan-European project that invites young European Jews, aged between 17 and 24 years old, to reflect on their lives and write their personal story.

Their story can cover any aspect of their lives, including life as a young Jew, personal relationships and how they feel about being part of the Jewish community. All the stories submitted will be published on the Kaleidoscope website.

The first seven stories to be featured on Kaleidoscope have been submitted by young people from Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Turkey and the UK and showcase the rich variety and complexity of the lives of young European Jews today.

Dennis, 21 from Budapest, writes about hosting Shabbat dinners for Jewish friends as a way of keeping his ‘little community together’. While Rachel, 22 from Potsdam, recalls her great grandfather’s surprise at her ‘choice to become a Rabbi’.

Talia, 23 from London, says about writing for Kaleidoscope, “It was an amazing process to be able to think reflectively about my Jewish experience and all the different parts that come along with it.”

According to Tali B, 19 from Paris, “I was having a bit of trouble finding my place, especially after 7 October. I felt a bit vulnerable, and I didn’t know who I could talk to. This project has enabled me to fully record everything I was thinking, to take responsibility for what I was saying and to be able to express myself too. I needed to be heard.”

Kaleidoscope is inspired by a collection of stories submitted by young Polish Jews in the 1930s. The YIVO institute in Vilnius launched a competition in 1934 to collect autobiographies from young Jewish people. It gathered 627 entries in Yiddish, Polish and Hebrew and the winners were due to be announced on 1 September 1939 when war broke out. The entries were anonymous, so the fates of the young writers are unknown, but it is likely most of them died in the Holocaust. Fortuitously, many of the stories survived the war and were eventually digitised and made available online.

Kaleidoscope is a project of the Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe and the stories will be deposited with the Central Archives of the Jewish People at the National Library of Israel.

Daniela Greiber, Jewish communal life grants programme manager at Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe said: “This is a unique opportunity for young Jewish people to have their voices heard and recorded as part of the ever-evolving story of the Jewish people. Just like us, the original project organisers wanted to know what it was like to be a young Jew in Europe. We want to shine a light on the young Jewish people who represent our future and better understand their thoughts and feelings as young adults in the 21st century. We also want to show that Jewish communities in Europe today have a deep sense of history but are also forward-looking, diverse and vibrant.”

Kaleidoscope is accepting submissions from anyone aged between 17 and 24 years old, living in Europe and identifying as Jewish.

Stories can be submitted under the author’s name, or anonymously, and should be between 750 and 7500 words. The next deadline for submissions is 15 May 2024.

To register and submit your story on the website click here.

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