Faculty of Social Sciences

The Cultural and Political Encounter between Indians and Jews in the Context of the Growth of their Respective National Movements

This presentation is an attempt, the first of its kind, to map and analyze central aspects and trends pertaining to the Jewish and Zionist world's affinity and observation of India and its culture from the end of the era of Enlightenment till the gaining of independence of both Israel and India.

This presentation is an attempt, the first of its kind, to map and analyze central aspects and trends pertaining to the Jewish and Zionist world's affinity and observation of India and its culture from the end of the era of Enlightenment till the gaining of independence of both Israel and India. The thesis points to multi-strata trends, abundant with textual and reflective layers, as well as to personal connections and political activity, both of which played a significant role in the Jews' self-insights regarding their European surroundings and formed part of the process of constructing the Jewish national identity as "Asian" and as "returning to Asia". In my lecture I will also focus on the interest of the Jewish philosopher Hugo Bergman in Sri Aurobindo''s teaching and his correspondence with Dr. Indra Sen from Aurobindo Ashram. This started while Bergman was staying in Sweden during 1947-1948.  

Short bio

Dr. Shimon Lev is aמ artist, curator and researcher in Indian studies focusing on Gandhi, Tagore and the encounter between the Jewish and Zionist world and India. Lev published widely, curated and exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions. He received his PhD at the Hebrew University in 2016 entitled: Clear Are the Paths of India: The Cultural and Political Encounter between Indians and Jews in the Context of the Growth of their Respective National Movements. In 2016 he curated the exhibition the Camera man: Women and Men Photograph Jerusalem 1900-1950. (Tower of David Museum, Jerusalem). His publications include (partial list): The Camera man: Women and Men Photograph Jerusalem 1900-1950 Tower of David Museum, 2016). The Story of Mahatma Gandhi and Hermann Kallenbach (New Delhi: Orient BlackSwan 2012), Vesheyodea Lishol, Tel Aviv: Xargol Publisher, 1998, (Heb.). He was also the academic editor of the Hebrew edition of M. K. Gandhi: Satyagraha in South Africa (Tel Aviv: Babel, 2014) and M. K. Gandhi: Hind Swaraj (Tel Aviv: Adam Veolam, 2016), Clear are the Paths of India, The Cultural and Political Encounter Between Indians and Jews in the Context of their Respective National Movement, (Tel Aviv: Gama, 2018), From Lithuania to Santiniketan: Schlomith Flaum, and Rabindranath Tagore, (New Delhi-Vilnius, 2018). Lev is working now as the chief curator  on an   exhibition about the Temple Mount in Jerusalem which will take place at The Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem (April 2019).