The Ashkenazium is the Gradute School for Jewish Studies in Budapest.
The doors of the school are scheduled to open in September 2021 with an inaugural Master’s program in Ashkenazi studies taught by an international faculty of renowned scholars.
As the name says, the studies at the school are focused on Ashkenazi life and letters. This special focus is based on the conviction that Jewish existence since the Second World War, with its two great demographic and cultural centres in Israel and in America, stands to make considerable gains in self-understanding through interdisciplinary studies of the Jewish people’s millennial sojourn in Europe. The studies avoid both any antiquarian nostalgia for a lost world and any sanguine dreams of an Ashkenazi renaissance. They are oriented by the major questions facing Jews today, turning a critical eye to the rich and complex background of these contemporary questions in European Jewish life and letters.
The city of Budapest serves as the ideal location for such studies and such questioning both on account of its intellectual distance from Israel and from America with their inevitably predefined Jewish intellectual climates, and on account of the city’s pivotal geographic and historical position in Ashkenaz. The unique focus of this school is designed to give its graduates a special edge in their pursuit of careers, not just in Jewish education, but also in every aspect of Jewish culture, society and politics relevant to the Jewish people.
The founders of the Ashkenazium are Rabbi Dr. Slomó Köves, the Executive Rabbi of the United Hungarian Jewish Congregation, and Dániel Bodnár, President of the Milton Friedman University.
Legally a division of the Milton Friedman University, and accredited by the Hungarian Ministry of Education, the Ashkenazium operates independently on the financial basis of endowments from, and under the auspices of, the United Hungarian Jewish Congregation (Egységes Magyarországi Izraelita Hitközség).