The Leibniz Institute for Jewish History and Culture – Simon Dubnow (DI) is dedicated to interdisciplinary research across multiple eras of Jewish life worlds in Central and Eastern Europe, from the Middle Ages through to the present. This research adopts a pan-European perspective and includes areas of Jewish emigration, especially Israel as well as North and Latin America.
Since April 2017, the institute has been headed by Yfaat Weiss, Professor of Modern History, focusing especially on Jewish history, at Leipzig University and Professor of Jewish History at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
The Dubnow Institute follows the secular tradition of its namesake Simon Dubnow (1860–1941), a Russian Jewish historian who mediated between Eastern and Western European Jewries.
At the DI, Jewish history is always approached in the context of its non-Jewish surroundings and is understood as a seismograph of general historical developments. In order to do justice to the complexity of Jewish life worlds and the close concatenation of social, political, and cultural developments, research at the institute productively links historical approaches with approaches from the humanities and social sciences, with a particular emphasis on honing approaches from intellectual history, memory, and lived experience.
Through events, university courses, and a broad range of publications, the research findings are presented both to a specialist audience and the interested public. This includes the internationally renowned bilingual »Jahrbuch des Dubnow-Instituts/Dubnow Institute Yearbook«; the essay series »toldot« and »hefez«, and the magazine »Jüdische Geschichte & Kultur«. On the blog »Mimeo«, scholars offer an overview of their current research projects. The special collection of the institute library is also open to students and guests.
National and international research collaboration plays an important role at the institute. As of 2018, the Dubnow Institute is a member of the Leibniz Association. The institute moreover cooperates closely with Leipzig University, the Saxon Academy of Sciences in Leipzig, as well as the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. It moreover maintains close contacts with numerous scholarly institutions in Israel, the USA, Europe, and Germany, constituting a meeting place for scholars from all over the world.