Letter from Director of Chernivtsi Jewish Museum to Mikhail Mirilashvili
Dear Mr. Mirilashvili,
10 years ago, the EAJC completed a project to creat the Chernivtsi Museum for the History and Culture of Bukovina Jews at the Ukrainian city of Chernivtsi, which used to have a Jewish population of almost 50 thousand before World War II and which still has a 1,5 thousand strong Jewish community today.
The creation of a privately-funded museum whose goal was to collect and preserve the rich cultural heritage of the Bukovina Jew subethnic group was not only an important event for the city and Ukraine in general, but also one of the first such succesful projects in the entire CIS.
Any contemporary museum is more than just a collection of artifacts. Museums serve, first and foremost, as polifunctional cultural spaces that host meetings and discussions. In our case it is also a space for inter-generational dialogue, a way to communicate for many thousands of Jews whose heritage lies in Bukovina and their children. As a a result of the calamitous 20th century, they have been dispersed all around the globe, from Australia to Canada, from Vladivostok to de Janeiro. By supporting the initiative of its Kyiv office and local activists and helping create the museum, the EAJC gave powerful support for the preservation and development of Jewish spirituality, by which we mean the creative and life-affirming energy that has been collected by Jews over their ages-long history in the Diaspora.
For the last several years, the EAJC has not provided us with sufficient funding, but we have made ends meet through our own efforts, if barely. Unfortunately, as the current economic situation in Ukraine is not an easy one in general, and as the Jewish communities, including our own in Chernivtsi, are not particularly well off, the development of our Jewish museum has been put on hold in practice. We have had to cut our diligent work on many internal projects, such as the creation of a quality and polifunctional museum website.
It is both generally expedient and, at this point, critically necessary to resume the former tempo of work on the website. For this reason, we have submitted a project to the Program Commisssion through the Kyiv office of the EAJC which is titled “A Museum without borders: the official museum website as a polifunctional informational resource.” .
Our project was approved by the EAJC Program Commission. However, we have yet to receive news about its future. As no formal decision has been reached on whether our project will be financed or not, we cannot plan its implementation in the upcoming year, even though 2018 has long begun.
We would thus like to request that our most esteemed President make a final decision on our project and give the correponding bodies of the EAJC leave to inform us about its fate.
With great respect,
Director of the Chernivtsi Museum of History and Culture of Bukovina Jews