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Paideia’s Founding Director, Barbara Spectre, receives the King’s Medal

Barbara Spectre Copyright  Clas Göran Carlsson_MG_7101

Photo Credit and copyright: Clas Göran Carlsson

We are happy to announce that our founding director Barbara Spectre has received The King’s Medal for her outstanding contribution for Jewish culture in Sweden and beyond at the Royal Palace in Stockholm.

We are publishing Anneli Rådestad´s speech on behalf of the Paideia Alumni community:

“Dear all,

At we could call a “mensha” She largely deserves this recognition… We need more of her in this world…Barbara – I got the honor to share a few words as a representative of the alumni community. I want to read you these testimonies to your achievement.

Debbie Y.-S., UK
Paideia and Barbara in particular gave me a confidence to root my Judaism and to reimagine it in a way that allowed me to Embrace parts of it I had rejected, and to understand my rejection of other things… they gave me a more nuanced voice with greater depth… I’m not sure I can never express how indebted I am to Barbara in particular for her incredible articulation of ideas that clicked for me

Alisa Z., Russia
Thanks to Barbara Spectre I am learning to become a rabbi!

Silvi S., Hungary/Sweden
The Paideia experience helps me open my heart and mind to people who think differently and don’t share many of my values, and appreciate every time we still manage to find the human in one another – this was Barbara Spectre’s biggest gift to me.

Anna S., Ukraine
Usually, I was very skeptical about the phrase “this project has changed my life completely”……before I went to Paideia. It was hard to imagine a punch of such a power. Thanks to Barbara Spectre I am developing in all spheres I wanted but was too afraid not to manage. So far, officially the best training in my life.

Clary R., Holland
Thanks to Barbara and Paideia I could reconnect with the texts and the wisdom of the Jewish tradition that my family was cut off from because of the Shoah. Thanks to her love and encouragement I was able to continue my studies and become a rabbi. Something I had never imagined to be possible beforehand. Her love, determination, persistence and vision shaped both Paideia and many of us.

Sophie B.-G., FRANCE
Great educators are not solely transmitters of texts. They serve as role models for the next generations. By daring to ask the bravest questions, by incarnating a Judaism both deep and open, Barbara has taught me not only what we can demand of our texts, but also what our texts demand of us. For that, and for her warmth, her care and humour, I am forever grateful.

Yasna A., Russia
I owe so much to Paideia and personally to Barbara. Actually she helped me to find my own way into Jewish culture and my own place in Jewish studies. I had been so tortured about being partly Jewish and dealing with Jewish formal and non-formal education. Do I have a right to do it? Should I do it at all? And it was Barbara who recited to me somebody who once said that you can always be a guest at the Sabbath table. This simple formula made all my doubts go away and helped me to find the harmony I was striving for. It gave me strength to be who I am now.

Michel A., FRANCE
Barbara has definitely shaped my identity, by her extraordinary kindness, humility, wisdom and sensitivity… She embodies the role model of what we could call a “mensha”
She largely deserves this recognition…
We need more of her in this world…

Paideia turns 18 this year and has officially grown-up.
And so have we Barbara – the students of the very first classes of your ground breaking program.
The very first seeds replanted into European soil….

In 40 countries we serve our communities: as rabbis, academicians, educators, artists, entrepreneurs, journalists, community leaders, museum workers, Jewish professionals, interfaith activists, religious leaders and more…
Still guided and inspired by your sincerity, depth, openness nuance and humanity… and not the least your conviction that Jewish text and culture can give meaning, create resilience and offer hope in this complex and challenging world we live in.

A last quote from a fellow alumni.
David S. in Spain writes:

Barbara taught me that a great voice is not a loud one. “