“Our work in China has produced concrete results, because it’s reached hundreds of Chinese teachers and academics”, says ICJS founder trustee, the late Jerry Gotel, in a short film about the aims and work of the International Centre for Jewish Studies.
“The main focus”, explains Joanna Millan, ICJS’s chair, is currently to “run conferences in Chinese universities about Jewish studies, history and culture, including the Nazi Holocaust.”
Herself a survivor of the Holocaust, Joanna observes that, as a result of learning about the Holocaust, Chinese teachers feel better equipped to speak about traumas that their own people have endured: “The fact that I talk about what happened to me gives them permission to talk about what happened to them”, she says.
Trudy Gold, also a trustee says that: “As a result of our conferences, we’ve created a whole cadre of Chinese academics and intellectuals who feel incredibly positive towards the Jews.”
For Jerry, the connection between Jews and Chinese occurs in the insights they gain from a deeper understanding of each other’s culture: “The Chinese are looking for answers as to how they can function in the modern world without losing touch with their traditions”.