Jun. 28, 2021

The literary and cultural center of the Heksherim Research Institute for Jewish and Israeli Literature and Culture at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev was inaugurated last night in its new home in Beer-Sheva's Old City. The Writers' House in Honor of Amos Oz will serve as an academic center for research groups from Israel and around the world and as a center for culture lovers from the Negev and all of Israel.

The historical building in Beer-Sheva's Old City, which served in the past as a Sharia court, and was later used by the Jewish Agency, was inaugurated yesterday evening as The Writers' House in Honor of Amos Oz. The building underwent extensive renovations to prepare it for a wide range of cultural events while maintaining its unique architectural character. The transformation was made possible by a significant investment of NIS 4.5 million from Mifal HaPais. 

The Heksherim Research Institute for Jewish and Israeli Literature and Culture at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has offered an abundance of events for the general public since 2017, including writing workshops with the best writers and editors; reading workshops in several languages; meetings for adults, teens and children to get to know authors; literary tours; lectures by BGU researchers in a wide range of fields of knowledge and more.  The Institute also spearheads unique research groups in collaboration with dozens of leading universities in Israel and around the world such as Cambridge University in England, Peking University in Beijing, China; Heidelberg University in Germany, Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan; Stanford University in the US and others. The Heksherim Institute is supported by the Stewart Family and Toni Young.

Above (L-R): Mayor of Beer-Sheva Ruvik Danilovich, Toni Young and BGU President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz


BGU President, Prof. Daniel Chamovitz, said at the unveiling ceremony: "Today we are not only inaugurating a building but also marking an additional milestone connection. A connection between rationalism and emotion, a connection between the University and the city of Beer-Sheva, a connection between research and the accessibility of knowledge, a connection between essence and soul. I believe that a book can affect the reader and as such change the world. I am sure that The Writers' House in Honor of Amos Oz will bring the magic of literature to every person and thereby increase connections and change the world. 

Prof. Yigal Schwartz, director of the Heksherim Research Institute and one of the leading researchers in the world of Hebrew literature, greeted the audience and said: "We are simultaneously organizing pioneering and multidisciplinary projects, which greatly increase the circle of literature and culture lovers in the south and on the whole." 

Mayor of Beer-Sheva Ruvik Danilovich: "I am pleased and excited to inaugurate today, the Writers' House project in the Old City here in Beer-Sheva, together with our partners from Ben-Gurion University and Mifal HaPais. The Writers' House will be a thriving and active literary-cultural center for our residents. There will be writing workshops, research groups, meetings with authors, new book launches, activities for children and teens, lectures and shows. This project joins others which we launched in the Old City in previous years in culture and art, recreation and leisure, which will strengthen the Old City and encourage its renewal."

Avi Debby, representative from Mifal HaPais: "The Writers' House is an important cultural institution for Beer-Sheva's residents and an academic collaboration with researchers from Ben-Gurion University for literature resaerchers around the world. Mifal HaPais is proud to be among those that led and financed the reopening of The Writers' House in a renovated building that will enable the organization of community cultural activities and the promotion of culture in the city. Mifal HaPais will continue to stand by the municipality and at the head of many more initiatives for the city's residents."

Above (L-R):BGU President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz, Toni Young, Director of the Heksherim Research Institute Prof. Yigal Schwartz, Mifal HaPais representative Avi Debby, and Mayor of Beer-Sheva Ruvik Danilovich. 

The unveiling ceremony was attended by Ms. Toni Young; Amos Oz family members, his wife Nili, his daughter Prof. Fania Oz-Salzberger and son Daniel Oz; the novelist Haim Be'er; past BGU presidents Prof. Avishay Braverman and Prof. Rivka Carmi; The Huberman family who donated the family book bindery established in 1912 and Prof. Haim Weiss, the head of BGU's Department of Hebrew Literature.
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Above:  Prof. Fania Oz-Salzberger​ addresses the audience​