Center for Jewish Studies Blog at Wesleyan University

March 22, 2016

The Liberating Lens: Jewish American Photographers Picture the Modern World.

Filed under: CJS Lectures and Events — dkatz01 @ 4:28 pm

The Center for Jewish Studies invites you to the join us for the 2016 Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Memorial Lecture. Deborah Dash Moore, Huetwell Professor of History and Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan and a leading scholar in American Jewish history, will talk about the “The Liberating Lens: Jewish American Photographers Picture the Modern World”. This presentation will take place on Wednesday, March 30th, 8 p.m., Daniel Family Commons, Usdan University Center. Admission is free and all are welcome.

Frankel 2016 Poster

Ninth Annual Ring Family Wesleyan University Israeli Film Festival

Filed under: CJS Lectures and Events,Israeli Film Festival — sdursin @ 3:50 pm

Our Ninth Annual Ring Family  Wesleyan University Israeli Film Festival, which featured five of the best contemporary Israeli films and one hit TV show , has concluded for this year. We had record attendance, stimulating conversations with the audiences, and enjoyed expert guest commentators including the film director and Wesleyan Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Aner Preminger. The films explored important themes such as secularism versus religion, women in the Israeli army, the political situation and aging with dignity. Hebrew students wrote papers in Hebrew and met to converse with speakers in Hebrew.  Interaction between the town and gown as well as the experience of watching together and learning from each other contributed to richness and the educational quality of this festival. The  general mood is waiting with excitement for next year’s Israeli Film Festival.

Apples PosterGett_posterPresent ContinuousZero MotivationTHEFAREWELLPARTY_USPosterfauda image

November 23, 2015

Students of the Center for Jewish Studies Visit the Archaeological Collections at Wesleyan University

Filed under: Faculty News,Student News — dkatz01 @ 1:30 pm

Jessie Cohen, Archaeological Collections Manager at Wesleyan University, hosted a visit by Professor Greenblatt’s History 247, Jewish History: From Biblical Israel to Diaspora Jews class. Students examined ancient Near Eastern coins related to places and times they have studied in class. The coins include, for example, one of Antiochus IV, villain of the Hanukkah story. Here are two pictures taken by Campus’ photographer, Olivia Drake.

Center for Jewish Studies              blog photo CJS

November 8, 2015

The Tel Aviv Magic: History, Literature, and Murder, Assaf Gavron

Filed under: Contemporary Israeli Voices — dkatz01 @ 10:22 am

Tel Aviv Magic: History, Literature, and Murder, presented by the acclaimed writer Assaf Gavron on Thursday, November 12 at 8 pm at Russell House,  concluded the 13th Annual  Fall Series Contemporary Israeli Voices, 2016. Assaf Gavron gave a brief history of the city and its past literature and then introduced the new genre of Tel Aviv Noir, a literary anthology co-edited by Etgar Keret, featuring a younger generation of Israeli writers and its dark side.

Gavron has published five novels and a collection of short stories. He has won numerous international awards such as the Prix Courrier International in France, Buch fur die Stadt in Germany, the DAAD artists in Berlin residency, and the Bernstein Prize in Israel. His fiction has been translated into ten languages, was adapted to the stage, and four of his books are optioned for movies.

WESeminar on the Ring Family Wesleyan University Israeli Film Festival

Filed under: Israeli Film Festival — dkatz01 @ 9:45 am

On Saturday, November 7, the Center for Jewish Studies presented a well attended and engaged conversation about the annual Israeli Film Festival. Here is the description taken from Wesleyan home page

For the eight consecutive year, Wesleyan Jewish and Israel Studies, with the co-sponsoring of the Film Studies Department, offered the annual Israeli Film Festival. This festival has become an extremely successful event which draws its audience from the Wesleyan community, as well as the larger general Connecticut community. Its structure has also become a model for unrelated festivals at Wesleyan and other universities. The festival’s format features a film screening, along with commentary from a speaker who illuminates a particular aspect of the film (based on expertise in film, Judaic Studies or cultural studies). The film festival is also closely integrated into the study of Hebrew at Wesleyan University. In this WESeminar, Dalit Katz, film designer and director, and Wesleyan professor of Religion and Israel studies, will offer a glimpse into this year’s festival as she shares film clips with the audience.
Presenter: Dalit Katz, Director of the Center for Jewish Studies and Adj. Associate Professor of Religion, has been teaching Hebrew and organizing Israeli cultural events since 2000.

September 9, 2015

CONTEMPORARY ISRAELI VOICES, 2015

Filed under: Contemporary Israeli Voices — dkatz01 @ 2:47 pm

I am pleased to announce three presentations in our annual Contemporary Israeli Voices 2015 series. This year the series opens with the Center for Jewish Studies Distinguished Scholar lecture, Shimon Adaf’s lecture, Adventures in the Unreal: On Judaism, Identity, and Writing, followed by a multimedia presentation by Yithak Goren about Cosmopolitan Alexandria: An Enchanting Ship of Fools and ends with Asaf’s Gavron’s Tel Aviv Magic: History, Literature and murder. All presentation are at 8 pm at Russell House, 350 High Street. On behalf of The Center for Jewish Studies, I would like to extend an invitation to you to attend. All are welcome and admission is free.

Thursday, September 17, 2015. Shimon Adaf, Center for Jewish Studies Visiting Professor and 2012 winner of Sapir Literary Prize, Adventures in the Unreal: On Judaism, Identity and Writing.
Adaf is the Chair of the creative writing program at Ben Gurion University in Israel. He has published three collections of poetry and seven novels, for which he won the Ministry of Education Award for Debut book (1996) and the Prime Minister`s Prize (2007). His third collection of poetry Aviva-No won the Yehuda Amichai Poetry Award in 2010, and his novel Mox Nox won the Sapir Prize (the Israeli equivalent of the Booker Prize) in 2013.

Monday, September 28, 2015. Yitzhak Gormezano Goren, Novelist, Playwright and Stage Director: Cosmopolitan Alexandria: An Enchanting Ship of Fools.
Multi -media presentation including short clips from the films The Year 66 Was Good for Tourism and the Prince of the Transit Camp as well as reading segments from Alexandrian Summer.

Thursday, November 12, 2015. Asaf Gavron, Writer and Translator, The Tel Aviv Magic: History, Literature, and Murder.
Gavron has published five novels and a collection of short stories. He has won numerous international awards such as the Prix Courrier International in France, Buch fur die Stadt in Germany, the DAAD artists in Berlin residency, and the Bernstein Prize in Israel. His fiction has been translated into ten languages, was adapted to the stage, and four of his books are optioned for movies.

I hope you came come to all the events, Dalit Katz

August 29, 2015

Welcome and Exciting News from the Center for Jewish Studies

The Center for Jewish Studies welcomes back students and new faculty. This semester the Center will host Shimon Adaf as the Gittel and Marvin Silverberg Distinguished Scholar. Shimon Adaf published three collections of poetry and seven novels, for which he won the Ministry of Education Award for Debut book (1996) and the Prime Minister`s Prize (2007). His third collection of poetry Aviva-No won the Yehuda Amichai Poetry Award in 2010, and his novel Mox Nox won the Sapir Prize (the Israeli equivalent of the Booker Prize) in 2013. Shimon Adaf not only publishes poetry but also and a rock band as songwriter and acoustic guitar player.
This fall semester Shimon Adaf will teach an exciting workshop CJST 221: From Literature to Cinema and Back: What Happens When Literary Works are Adapted to Films. The workshop is offered on Tuesday and Thursday from 1:10 – 2:30 PM and has a night screening on Tuesday. The workshop dates are September 8 until October 8 and it carries 0.5 credit which can be counted towards the Certificate in Jewish and Israeli Studies.
Please join us for a lunch with Shimon Adaf on Wednesday, September 9 at 311 Allbritton. The topic of the lunch is Jewish not Israeli and Vice Versa. This is an informal lunch with plenty of opportunities to meet and converse. I hope that many students will be able to take this workshop and get the chance to meet this young and energetic scholar.
And, be sure to check out new courses offered by the Center for Jewish Studies such as RELI 1228: Jewish Graphic Novels and RELI 1204: Judaism(s); Religion, Power and Identity History taught by Jennifer Caplan as well as HIST 161: Sarnoff to Seinfeld, American Jews and the TV Age taught by Rachel Greenblatt.
Finally, check out our website for more information about our cultural events: the series Contemporary Israeli Voices in the fall and The Ring Family Wesleyan University Israeli Film Festival in the spring.
May you have a productive and enjoyable new year, Dalit Katz, Director of the Center for Jewish Studies

April 14, 2015

Filmaker David Fisher is Silverberg Scholar in Residence at the CJS

Filed under: Distinguished Scholars,Israeli Film Festival — dkatz01 @ 9:38 am

(Story by Lily Baggott ’15)

Last spring, filmmaker David Fisher presented his film, Six Million and One, at the Wesleyan Israeli Film festival. After viewing Fisher’s film and presentation, Director of the Center for Jewish Studies Dalit Katz subsequently invited the filmmaker to teach a course as a scholar in residence this spring. Currently the Silverberg Scholar in Residence at the Center for Jewish Studies, Fisher teaches When Private Meets Public, a course focusing on Israeli documentaries.
“[In this course,] I’m trying to decipher with my students the development and consequently the success of the Israeli documentary films worldwide,” Fisher noted. “They learn how to interpret documentary genres and place them in their proper cinematic, artistic and political contexts.”
Fisher’s own work provides discussion material for his students.
“I use my own documentaries to help shed light on hidden corners of the Israeli society, such as cattle ranchers in the Golan Heights,” he said. “My critically acclaimed family trilogy, however, I use to discuss the universality of very personal films and how both private stories and autobiographical essays meet the public.”
Fisher’s films have won various awards and include Mostar Round-Trip and Love Inventory, which form a triology together with Six Million and One. He is currently working on two films, a National Endowment for the Humanities-sponsored documentary on the revival of Yiddish and another film focusing on the leadership of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister. The filmmaker served as Director General of the New Israeli Foundation for Cinema and TV and has served on various international film festival juries. Before coming to Wesleyan, he also taught courses at various institutions in America and Israel.

“Truthfully, I have always been more interested in the creation of documentaries than teaching about them,” Fisher noted. “…That being said, teaching at Wesleyan was [a] unique experience for me because, for the first time, I didn’t teach film majors but merely interested students. …The students are coming from a variety of different fields (astronomy being one of them) and enrich the discussion to unprecedented levels. …In the case of screening some of my own films, it is interesting for me—as both a filmmaker and as a scholar—to face questions I’ve never been asked before.”

April 8, 2015

Two Events on April 13

Filed under: CJS Lectures and Events — mteter @ 6:21 pm

Join us for two Jewish Studies and History related events on Monday, April 13:

Lunch Series — History MattersMarianne Szegedy-Maszak: Turning Families into Memoirs: History, Journalism, and Memory:
This talk will offer students a window into the creative process of combining historical documentation with personal letters and larger family stories. How does one approach personal stories with journalistic detachment? How does one use the historians arsenal of archives, documents, and other historical tools to expand the range of sources and create a richer and more authoritative narrative? How does one interview subjects for stories that are often very personal? What are some strategies for organizing material that can occasionally be overwhelming? We will discuss the skills that journalists and historians share, but also where they differ and examine the process of creating personal, literary nonfiction. NOON, PAC 002

And an evening talk: Marianne Szegedy-Maszak, “Charmed Lives: History, Family and Fate During Hungary’s Holocaust” – The Hungarian Holocaust differed in some fundamental ways from the Holocaust in the rest of Europe. In her book, “I Kiss Your Hands Many Times: Hearts, Souls, and Wars in Hungary” Marianne Szegedy-Maszak examines Hungary’s World War II history and the country’s troubled relationship with its Jewish population, through the lives of her extraordinary family. Szegedy-Maszak’s lecture will examine the paradoxes and the tragedies of the Holocaust in Hungary, the history of anti-Semitism in Hungary, and the story of two families that embodied many of the forces that both created and destroyed the country. PAC 001, 8pm

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November 21, 2014

Faculty book receives Honorable Mention

Filed under: Books,Faculty News — dkatz01 @ 3:22 pm

Magda Teter’s  book, Sinners on Trial: Jews and Sacrilege after the Reformation (Harvard University Press) has received an Honorable Mention in the Medieval and Early Modern Jewish History category of the 2014 Jordan Schnitzer Book Awards.  The Schnitzer Book Award was established in 2007 to recognize and promote outstanding scholarship in the field of Jewish Studies and to honor scholars whose work embodies the best in the field: innovative research, excellent writing, and sophisticated methodology.  In recognizing Teter’s book Sinners on Trial: Jews and Sacrilege after the Reformation (Harvard University Press), the Prize Committee wrote: In this beautifully written and richly documented work, Magda Teter traces and convincingly demonstrates the interdependence of economic, religious and political motives that animated Polish anti-Semitism in the early modern period.  This book also identifies and elucidates significant factors in the history of their formations in East Central Europe, and in the history of the host-desecration charge in early modern Europe. Magda Teter is Professor of History, and the Jeremy Zwelling Professor of Jewish Studies. She currently serves as the Chair of the History Department.

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