Kaleidoscope is a new initiative to collect contemporary autobiographies of young Jews in Europe. Inspired by a collection of personal accounts of young Polish Jews from the 1930’s, Kaleidoscope will showcase the rich variety and complexity of the lives of young Jews in Europe today.
Kaleidoscope offers an opportunity for young Jews to contribute their words to the evolving story that is Jewish life in Europe – they are part of a collective experience that is pan-European, diverse, challenging, thriving, and dynamic.
Kaleidoscope is now live and you are welcome to get involved. You can contact us if you would like to help us share information about Kaleidoscope with young people in your organisation or community and you can also register here to receive updates.
Stories will be published digitally on the Kaleidoscope website in English and European languages and a copy will be deposited at the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People in the National Library of Israel.
Between 1934-1939, the YIVO Institute invited young Polish Jews to send in their life stories. YIVO’s goal was to help researchers understand the lives of Jewish youth. 627 young people sent extremely personal stories written in Yiddish and Polish as well as Hebrew and English.
While their unique stories documented Jewish life on the brink of one of the darkest chapters of our history, they often showed the same anxieties and emotions expressed by young people today. Many of those young writers were full of confusion, joy, fear, curiosity, and idealism; they worried about friends, pleasing their parents, fitting in, getting an education, finding a job, rebelling, and surviving.
We will approach our partners in communities, youth movements, schools and student organisations to help us reach young people to submit written stories.
We hope to reflect a range of experiences in different languages, with an option for anonymous submissions. The length of the written stories will be medium to long, allowing for detailed descriptions and deeper thoughts.
Stories will be published on the Kaleidoscope website, and we will encourage re-publication in local Jewish newspapers and on participants’ own social media.
Who should participate?
Young people (17-24 years old) who identify as Jewish and live in Europe are welcome to participate. We are interested in a wide range of voices. The more the better! Stories should be authentic. This is an opportunity for reflection and self-expression. Participants will have the option to submit their story under a pseudonym.
What can I do to help?
Watch this space! If your community or organisation would like to partner with RFHE to promote the project and help us reach young people, please contact us.