Report on Intersession Activity
Department of Cultural Anthropology,
Faculty of European Studies,
Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj
This report is basically on the Research Project, the Last Two Workshops, the
Students Team Activity, the Teaching Activity. It also includes some General Comments
Note: The first excerpt of my report is actually a very broad presentation of the
proposed research project (that I have sent to CCRIT, in autumn). I paste it below as I
think it can offer a better image of what we have intended to do and what we have
Topic : The Jewish Community of Cluj-Napoca. Forms of Identity Construction
Brief Description of the Main Steps/ Goals of the Research:
We will try to focus on the cultural peculiarities of this group, its mechanisms of
From the very beginning, it is of great help to contact some leading persons of the
community, who are able to offer us general information on it. They could also facilitate
some other relevant contacts in the Jewish community.
This is, I believe, extremely important as our research is going to be carried out in
an urban area such as Cluj and only this way one can get some important preliminary
At the moment, we have some very general steps/goals of our research. They are
I.The first one is to approach the laic(al) dimension of this group. At this level, we try to
focus on the main institutions that represent it, having a certain relevance in the life of the
Jewish community of Cluj. More precisely, we intend to find out those institutions and
then, to observe and analyze how exactly they function. The point is to see the ways in
II.The second one is to assess the ways of defining their own identity through religiosity
(how the things are at this level, nowadays). Participant observation at different ritual
celebrations might be a starting point in approaching such an issue.
III,The third one is to notice and analyze other events in the community that could have a
relevance in what concerns our topic of interest .
As I have mentioned from the very beginning, it is important to get in contact with some
leading persons of the community and to interview them, in the effort of finding a path
Participant observations (1) of different, non religious events, organized by the
community (2) of different forms of manifesting their own religiosity (3) of other events
with relevance in what concerns our topic of interest are absolutely compulsory in
Interviewing persons who belong to this group, in order to see which are their views and
understandings of all these manifestations, is another important step of the research.
From the very beginning, we have got in contact with a few of the leading
persons of The Jewish Community from Cluj, trying to find a path to get an easier
access to it. Following this idea, we have had some preliminary discussions with the
curre nt leader (“Chief of Community”, G.V.) who is University Professor at the
Department of Mathematics.
We all have found these discussions of great help, as they have given us a
sense of what we are supposed to do, where to start and how to proceed.
More precisely, he has suggested us to contact an old member of the focused
community, known as “the memory” of the group. His name is V.G. and he has been
one of the editors of a literary magazine in Cluj for many years.
He proves to be indeed a great informant, facilitating us other connections in
the Jewish Community of Cluj, offering certain ways of access to it, giving us a sense
of orientation in the “field”.
I. As I have mentioned in my first research project, our first goal has been to
approach the non-religious dimension of this group, focusing on the ways it is
represented by certain institutions, their role in gathering and expressing the
1.Following this path, we first have identified an organization of the young
Jews - OTER – in fact a national organization with a department in Cluj, which is
Its role is to offer a chance to young Jews to learn and preserve their
traditions. There are several meetings organized in this frame, informal talks on
certain issues regarding their own identity, conferences, Hebrew language courses
and so on.
At this level, part of the research team has participated in such meetings,
getting in contact with a few members of this group, interviewing them in a second
2. We have also understood that a choir of the Jewish Community currently
functions in Cluj. This is, I would say, another “institution” we have spotted in our
effort to approach the issue of our research. It is formed mostly by young Jews, but
not only. Although its activity is permanent, they have regular meetings during the
year, it tends to be more active when a celebration (religious or non-religious)
follows. The research team also contacted some of the members of the choir,
3. The community has also administrative offices, a few members of it being
in charge with the problems regarding this issue: preservation of goods , the
community inheritance. It has been also one of our tasks to contact these persons
and to obtain some information from them.
Mainly we have focused these three “institutions”, meaning three ways in
which this small Jewish Community (about five hundred people, including mixed
identities) currently manifests.
II I also have mentioned in my first research project that another goal of our
research is to approach the ways of defining Jewish Identity through religiosity.
Following this idea, part of the research team has done participant
observation on the occasions of Hanuca, Ros Hasana and Purim, when the most
important part of the community has gathered in the Synagogue from Horea street.
As a second step, when interviewing a few of the members of the community,
those we have already quite well known, we have asked about their peculiar ways of
understanding religiosity, of re lating to it. Our idea has been to see to which extent
religiosity is important in defining their own identity.
Focusing on these institutions and the activities related to them, we have
finally got a sense of how the community is represented at the moment, how it
functions, which are their current internal mechanisms, to which extent they are
different and changed compared to the past and so on.
Related to our intention to find out the most func tional institutions that have
relevance for the community life, we have also spotted the main places, areas of
Cluj, where the above mentioned activities take place. All of them are situated in the
very central part of the city (David Francisc str, Paris str, Croitorilor str and Hore a
str.). Interviewing several old members of the community, we even could
reconstitute a mental map that includes places with relevance for the life of this
community in the past: Synagogues (that have been replaced in time by other
buildings, with different usages or having nowadays other destinations: Casa
Transit, The Transit House, a cultural place at the moment; on the same side of the
river Somes, quite near the location of Casa Tranzit , another Synagogue has been
placed in former times, that one designated to Orthodox Jews; ano ther one on
Croitorilor Street, which currently belongs to The Department of Jewish Studies,
Apart from this religious places, there are some others, still in the memory of
a few old members of the community: The Ritual Bath, again in the central pa rt of
the city; schools, high-schools that have functioned as such in the interwar period,
Knowing both the places that are functional at the moment, in the direct
administration of the community of Cluj, identifying also those that are in the
memory of a few members of it, we have a sense of continuities and discontinuities
that have affected this group and I believe, a better understanding of the current
status of it.
There are a few achievements and also some ways to continue our work that
I want to emphasize:
1. We have found some paths of access to the community, getting in contact with a
few members, identifying the informants, interviewing them ( I would say that it
hasn’t been an easy task, considering that the fieldwork has been and still is carried
out in an urban area such as Cluj)
2. We have managed to identify the main functional institutions of the Jewish
community from Cluj and we have observed how they function and which is their
relevance in the process of self representation of this group
3. Interviewing few old members of the Community, we have got some information
regarding also the past of it, having an understanding of the elements of
4. We have a representation of the religious and non-religious life of the present
Jewish Community from Cluj.
We would very much like to continue our research project, focusing on the
memory of this community and also its religious life .
Note: The whole research project has been carried out in a team ( with 4 students
with a special interest in Cultural Anthropology ) Before starting our fieldwork, we
have had some preliminary discussions, mainly about what we are supposed to do
and how, where to start, which are the main goals of the project.
My impression is that the main benefit for the students has been the
experience they have acquired in using specific anthropological methodology
(participant observation, interviewing informants, writing fieldnotes).
The last two workshops had been organized as followed: One of them
on discussions with students ( the four members of the research team) about the whole
project: the reviews and summaries they were supposed to send to CCRIT, the topic that
we had chosen, the reasons for this option.
Mainly, we tried to organize the fieldwork that we had to carry out: distribution of
tasks (focusing on certain institutions and places, ways of collecting data). We also tried
to establish regular meetings in order to comment on the information we got and to
decide which were the next best steps to be followed.
Briefly speaking, it was a quite informal meeting, but extremely necessary for
developing in good condition the whole project.
The second one
gathered a few of RESET colleagues and it focused on the developing of
critical thinking of students: strategies of implementing it, its importance. Everyone had
presented personal didactic experiences in this respect. We had as guests Professor Eniko
Magyari- Vincze and Professor Marius Lazar, both in the staff of the program Teaching
Anthropology. Means and Meanings, who shared with us their personal views on this
The Students Team Activity
I tried to have a good, permanent connection with my students that formed the research
- we had a few discussions about their role and duties in the framework of the project ( I
announced them about the reviews or summaries they were supposed to send, we decided
together which was the best schedule for all our common activities, we shared these
- as I previously mentioned, we had regular meetings, in order to analyze the data we got
- I invited them to participate in some of the meetings of the Institute of Cultural
Anthropology, in the effort to offer them information about other anthropological
research projects and to keep up their interest in the field.
This year, specifically the first semester, I led the seminars on Introduction to
Cultural Anthropology, Anthropology of the Cultures of Transylvania (both of them had
been given in the framework of the MA program in Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of
European Studies, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj)
Comments on ReSet project.
First of all, ReSet project facilitated us the contact with reputable specialists of the
field. We had the opportunity to benefit from their academic experience and meanwhile
In this respect, all the activities scheduled in the framework of the project made
these things possible: the first summer school, the process of supervising the
experimental research projects, participation of a few of them in our workshops.
On the other hand, we had the opportunity to work, especially in what concerned
the research projects together with other ReSet fellows. In this frame, we could share
opinions, which was again a great benefit.
Meanwhile, the work in team (together with our students ) was of a great benefit :
the fieldwork was carried out easier, the discussions with them helped me a lot in my
didactic activity (I understood better which are their doubts, demands and interests,
assuming that these are more or less the same for other students).
Last but not least, I became really interested in my research project and I
definitely want to deepen it in the near future.
Toldi Miklós Élelmiszeripari Szakközépiskola, Szakiskola és Kollégium Angol nyelvi verseny 2011-2012. III. forduló Név:…………………………………………… Iskola:………………………………………… I. feladat. A szövegből hat mondat hiányzik. Írja a számok mellé a megfelelő mondat betűjelét a példa szerint. Szótár nem használha
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