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.
November 21, 2014
October 28, 2014
We have exciting news regarding the latest developments in Jewish Studies at Wesleyan. Just a couple of weeks ago the Administration approved our proposal to create a Center for Jewish Studies at Wesleyan. The Center will administer the current Certificate for Jewish and Israel Studies. It will also be the official home to and sponsor of all the programming we do, including the Ring Family Wesleyan University Israeli Film Festival and the Contemporary Israeli Voices series as well as other lectures. We are delighted with this new chapter of Jewish Studies at Wesleyan and the fact that we have an institutional home. Dalit Katz will be the Center’s first Director, and will be coordinating the transition and keeping the public informed.
April 22, 2014
Samuel Kassow, the Charles H. Northam Professor of History at Trinity College, will deliver this year’s Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Memorial Lecture. Professor Kassow will speak on “Time Capsules in the Rubble: The Secret Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto.”
Within months of the start of World War II, the historian Emmanuel Ringelblum established a secret archive called Oneg Shabbat, “the Sabbath pleasure.” Over the years, Ringelblum and his associates would document the life and death in the Warsaw ghetto. It was, as Professor Samuel Kassow argues, “the biggest example of cultural resistance during WWII.” Between 1940 and 1943, members of Oneg Shabbat group buried thousands of documents in milk cans and tin boxes. Only some were recovered.
Professor Kassow is the author of many books including, most recently, Who will Write our History: Emanuel Ringelblum and the Oyneg Shabes Archive. In 2010, he was elected a member of the American Academy of Jewish Research.
March 31, 2014
Spring semester means the Ring Family Israeli Film Festival, which always happens before the Spring Break and as always was fantastic thanks to Professor Dalit Katz’s curatorship. The festival featured: Fill the Void by Rama Burshstein (2012), Zaytoun byEran Riklis (2012), By Summer’s End by Noa Haroni, a documentary Six Million and One by David Fisher, and two shorts Wherever You Go by by Rony Sasson Angel and Welcome and Our Condolences by Leon Prudovsky.
Since director Haim Tabakman is this year’s Silverberg Distinguished Visiting Scholar, his film Eyes Wide Open was also screened
In the second half of the semester, Jewish and Israel Studies hosts several talks:
Jewish law finds its roots in the Bible and has slowly evolved and adapted to social, cultural and technological realities. The laws of the Sabbath are a wonderful example of this evolution. How have the laws of the Sabbath developed? This lecture will focus on the question how the laws of the Sabbath have adapted to the changing role of women in the last third of the twentieth century. As women gain a greater voice in society, do their concerns impact the evolution of Jewish law?
Monday, April 28, 2014, 8 pm, Russell House: SAMUEL & DOROTHY FRANKEL MEMORIAL LECTURE, Professor Samuel Kassow will deliver the annual Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Memorial Lecture on “Time Capsules in the Rubble: the Secret Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto.”
Samuel Kassow is the Charles H. Northam Professor of History at Trinity College and a visiting professor of history at Wesleyan University. He is the author of numerous books and publications on east European Jewish history. Most recently he published the award winning “Who Will Write Our History” Rediscovering a Hidden Archive From the Warsaw Ghetto” (2007).
Monday, May 05, 2014, Noon, Allbritton 311: We will venture into the world of science. Dr. Orna Levran P ’09 ’15, the Rockefeller University in New York, will speak on “Race, ethnicity, and ancestry: a medical genetic perspective”
Interactions between genetic, environmental, and social factors have been proposed to explain the observed differences in disease prevalence and severity among different populations. Populations vary in terms of history (expansion, migration, and natural selection), allele frequencies, and other properties that affect the importance of genetic risk variants. In this talk we will discuss current methods to infer fine personal global ancestry and admixture with examples from several distinctive populations (including Ashkenazi and non-Ashkenazi Jewish cohort) obtained for the study of the genetics of drug addiction. We will also discuss examples of targeting specific groups for prevention and treatment efforts, as well as the reevaluation of the relevance of racial/ethnic labels in the genomic era of personalized medicine.
October 17, 2013
The short fall break brings a little relief for everyone exhausted by midterms and papers. Soon we will be back and JIS will present three events:
Thursday, November 7, 8 pm: Ron Leshem will talk about “Israel as Number One Exporter of TV Shows”
Ron Leshem, is an award-winning writer and acclaimed novelist. With only two television networks – hardly 20 years old, barely profitable – faraway, isolated and war-weary, the Israeli industry has become a premier exporter of TV formats, from drama series to game shows and docu-reality. The production cost of a drama episode in Israel is parallel to the refreshments’ budget on a set of an American production. Yet Showtime’s “Homeland”, and HBO’s “In Treatment”, both adaptations of original Israeli shows, have expanded the influence of the young industry across the world. The lecture will be at the Russell House.
Friday, November 8: A Symposium on “Archaeology and Politics” 1:30-5pm in Allbritton 311
- Michael Blakey, National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Anthropology, College of William and Mary: Epistemology and Ethics of an Activist Science at the African Burial Ground
- Anne E. Killebrew, Associate Professor of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Jewish Studies, and Anthropology, The Pennsylvania State University: The Role of Archaeology and Community: The Shared Past of Israelis and Palestinians in the Present
- Dorothy Lippert, Repatriation Office, Smithsonian Museum: The Politics of Naming and Knowing: Repatriation and Indigenous Identity
- Carla M. Sinopoli, Professor of Anthropology, Curator of Asian Archaeology in the Museum of Anthropology, and Director of Museum Studies, University of Michigan: The Politics of Protection (and Destruction) of Archaeological Sites in Contemporary India
The program will include a coffee break, brief responses from two discussants, and time for general questions and discussion.
A Guggenheim fellow, Professor Bernard Avishai is the author of The Tragedy of Zionism, A New Israel, and The Hebrew Republic, as well as dozens of articles on politics, business, and the Middle East conflict, and blogs at The Daily Beast and BernardAvishai.com. He is a former editor of Harvard Business Review and international director of Intellectual Capital at KPMG. His new book, Promiscuous: Portnoy’s Complaint and Our Doomed Pursuit of Happiness, was just published.
The lecture will take place in PAC 002
October 7, 2013
Please join us for the third event in the series Contemporary Israeli Voices 2013 on Monday, October 14, at Russell House at 8 pm. Dror Burstein, an award winning writer, will speak on Why Aren’t There any Dinosaurs in Israeli literature?
Dror Burstein is the recipient of several major Israeli prizes. In 1997, he was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for Poetry and in 2002 the Ministry of Science and Culture Prize. His first novel, Avner Brenner (2003), was awarded the Bernstein Prize in 2005, and was followed by a short prose book, Twin Cities (2004). His second novel Murderers was published in 2006 and a year later he published a documentary book Without a Single Case of Death about the Ghetto Fighter’s Kibbutz. This book was translated into English in 2007. His latest books Kin and Netanya were also translated into English as well as other language. Since 2011 he has been editor of the poetry journal Helikon.
September 27, 2013
Why is European Jewry important in both Europe and the world at large?
Often Jews throughout the world are given a one-sided perspective about Jewish life in Europe, usually focused on anti-Semitism, unsustainable numbers, or the ideas that the communities will die out. The realities are vastly different throughout the continent, varying from country to country. Often Jews in America and Israel are unaware that the new Jewish Europe is filled with energies that have been channeled into a Renaissance that should not be ignored.
Jared Gimbel is the founder of “Present Presence,” an initiative devoted to fostering positive images of communities throughout the Jewish Diaspora to North American and Israeli Audiences. He is currently a Masters’ Degree Candidate at Hochschule für Jüdische Studien Heidelberg, and has been a Jewish community activist while living in the United States, Israel, Poland, Sweden and Germany. Jared has served as a tour guide, editor and translator at the Galicia Jewish Museum in Cracow, and was also a fellow at the Paideia Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden. In 2011 he wrote his COL thesis on non-human species in European mythologies, and his upcoming Masters’ Thesis focuses on perspectives and portrayals of Jewish Life in Finland and in Greece. When he’s not working, he enjoys collecting pop music from many different countries, and is always in the process of learning a new language.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 3, NOON, PAC 421. Vegan lunch will be available.
August 29, 2013
The semester is starting. New students have arrived and the rest of the students will return in a couple of days.
Jewish and Israel Studies welcomes all of the students and offers an exciting line-up of courses and events.
Fall 2013 Courses in Jewish and Israel Studies at Wesleyan:
HIST247 Jewish History: From Biblical Israel to Diaspora Jews by Magda Teter
RELI201 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible by Elisha Russ-Fishbane
RELI233 The People of the Book: Jewish Cultures and Jewish Canons by Elisha Russ-Fishbane
Hebrew Language and Literature:
HEBR101: Elementary Hebrew I by Dalit Katz
HEBR201: Intermediate Hebrew I Dalit Katz
HEBR211: Hebrew Literature by Dalit Katz
ENGL351 Jews and Christians in Medieval England: Debate, Dialogue, and Destruction by Ruth Nisse
GOVT270 Comparative Politics of the Middle East by Marcie Patton
GOVT344 Religion and Politics by Nancy Schwartz
HIST263 Inside Nazi Germany, 1933-1945 by Erik Grimmer-Solem
Events in the Fall to look forward to:
September 24, Lawrence Baron, Jewish-non-Jewish Romances about Israel: From Ari to Zohan, 8 p.m Russell House
October 1, Maya Arad, A View From Abroad: Writing Hebrew literature in California,
8 pm, Russell House
October 13, Dror Burstein Why Aren’t There Any Dinosaurs in Israeli Literature?
8 pm at Russell House.
November 7, Ron Leshem, Israel as number One Exporter of TV Shows to Hollywood, 8 pm, Russell House.
SPECIAL EVENT: Conference: “Exercising Judgment in Ethics, Politics, and the Law: Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, Fifty Years Later” September 26-28, 2013 http://arendt.conference.wesleyan.edu/
February 7, 2013
The Sixth Annual Ring Family Wesleyan University Israeli Film Festival, 2013
The first film, to be screened on January 31, is My Australia, directed by Ami Drozd. It takes place in Poland in the 1950’s. The film tells the story of a ten year old Tadek and his older brother who are part of an antisemitic gang. Following the arrest of the boys by the local police, their mother, who had been concealing her Jewish identity, tells her younger son that they are about to sail to Australia, the land of his dreams, when in reality they are to sail to Israel. The film is based on the filmmaker’s own experience.
Speaker: Professor Magda Teter, Jeremy Zwelling Professor of Jewish Studies, Wesleyan University.
February 7, The Fifth Heaven directed by Dina Zvi Riklis. The Fifth Heaven takes place in British controlled Palestine in 1944. Maya, deserted by her parents, is brought to an orphanage for Jewish girls. The appearance of Maya evokes within the director of the orphanage his past love affair with her mother, while Maya develops affection for one of the anti-British resistance fighters who is a fiancé of anther orphanage worker. The personal dramas occur at the time that the other girls and workers in the orphanage are awaiting a personal and national liberation. The film is based on a novel by Rachel Eytan, a winner of the prestigious Brenner Prize.
Speaker: Professor Sami Berdugo, Schusterman Visiting Professor, Wesleyan University
February 14, Off White Lies directed by Maya Kenig. The film comes hot off its US release–it was just screened at the Lincoln Plaza Cinema in New York. Libby who has been living with her mother in the States for years is sent to live with her dad in Israel. She arrives when the second Lebanon war starts. Libby discovers that her lively and eccentric dad is a homeless man who has devised a plan to pose as a refugee from the bombarded Northern region in order to find a home within a wealthy family in Jerusalem. Now Libby has to deal with her false identity as well as her relation with her father.
Speaker: Marc Longenecker, Visiting Instructor in Film Studies.
February 21, a special screening of Yair Kedar’s The Five Houses of Lea Goldberg .“This is the story of the loves, poems and fears of the woman who chose Hebrew and Hebrew chose her.” The movie uses five acts of animation, interviews and footage as well as original music to tell the story of the beloved and yet very much enigmatic life of the poet, Lea Goldberg.
Speaker: Professor Sami Berdugo, Schusterman Visiting Professor, Wesleyan University
February 28, 2011 academy nominated film, Footnote, written and directed by Joseph Cedar. Set within the academic setting of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the film follows the complicated relation between Eliezer and Uriel, a father and son, who are also rival professors in Talmudic Studies. The relation between them reaches to a new peak when they find out that Eliezer will be lauded for his work.
Speaker: Elisha Russ-Fishbane, Assistant Professor of Religion, Wesleyan University.
March 7, the last screening of the festival: the movie Mabul (Flood) directed by Guy Nativ. The film follows the complicated life of Yoni, a smart but underdeveloped boy, who is preparing for his Bar Mitzvah. Yoni has to deal with bullying in school, uncommunicative parents and an older autistic brother who comes home right before the ceremony. Yony is left to deal on his own with a brother he has not seen in ten years and who has become obsessed with Yoni’s Torah excerpt about Noah.
Speaker: Laura Blum, Film Critic.
This year the Jewish and Israel Studies with the co- sponsorship of the Film Department is introducing a new event Back by Popular Demand. On April 23, the internationally acclaimed writer and film maker, Etgar Keret will introduce and comment upon his film Jellyfish, winner at the Cannes Film Festival.
Gallim Dance, co-sponsored by the Center For the Arts and the Rosenberg Fund for Jewish Life, Friday, February 8 & Saturday, February 9, at 8pm, CFA Theater, 271 Washington Terrace.
New England Premiere of Mama Call.
Yiddish Cultural Expression in Europe and America
A series of events co-sponsored by Jewish and Israel Studies and the Music Department, Tuesdays, February 12-April 2, 2013
Tuesday, February 12 at 7 pm, “Mameh Mia: Contemporary Yiddish Culture in the Hasidic World.”
Speaker: Asya Vaisman, Yiddish Book Center.
Tuesday, February 26 at 7 pm, “The Philadelphia Klezmer Story.” Speaker: Hankus Netsky, New England Conservatory.
Tuesday, April 2 at 7 pm, “Jewish Cultural Expression under Nazi Occupation: The Case of the Warsaw Ghetto.” Speaker: Samuel Kassow, Trinity College.
The Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Memorial Lecture
Wednesday, April 17 at 8 pm at Usdan Room 108.
Professor Edwin Seroussi will speak on “Israeli Musical Paradoxes: The Case of Joe Amar (1930-2009)”
February 4, 2013
We had our Sixth Annual Ring Family Wesleyan University Israeli Film Festival on January 31. My Australia captured the audience’s attention with the complicated issues it raised concerning post war anti – semitism in Poland, neo – Nazism and cultural identity. Professor Magda Teter commented upon those issues and put them in their historical context. Please join us next Thursday, February 7 at 8 pm at the Goldsmith Cinema for the screening of the movie The Fifth Heaven.