The Black Sea Project: Πόντος as a Bridging Space

Years of Activity: 2015

Research Status:

Not Active

The recent and continuing events on the Crimean Peninsula again underscore the importance of the Black Sea area, which is shared by Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania. This area, which many consider the northern continuation of the Eastern Mediterranean, is important also for Israel’s self-definition as a state established by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, who en route to the land of their forefathers had to cross the Black Sea from Odessa to Istanbul and from there to continue via the eastern Mediterranean Sea to Jaffa. Thus, for example, the port city of Odessa has symbolic significance: It lies on the shores of the Black Sea, 33 percent of its inhabitants before the Russian Revolution were Jews, and it was the indirect model for the planning of Tel Aviv. Chaim Nahman Bialik, Israel’s national poet, who spent twenty years of his life in Odessa among the great Hebrew and Yiddish writers and who chose ultimately to immigrate to Eretz Israel, built his house in Tel Aviv in the same style as the one that had stood opposite his in Odessa.

The participants of this research group are from various disciplines, and it engages in multidisciplinary study of the Black Sea region and its historical, cultural, and literary contexts.

The group has three main goals:

  1. Emphasizing the importance of the Black Sea in the formation of Israeli culture;
  2. The combination of Black Sea studies with Mediterranean studies;
  3. Fostering and deepening the ties with academic institutions so as to develop an international project in the Black Sea region that will serve as a bridging space between Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean.