Congratulations Zachary, Isabel and Jared

The Center for Jewish Studies congratulates its students for their academic excellence. Zachary Mauer is the recipient of the Needler Prize for excellence in Judaic Studies and Hebrew.  Zach will be graduating this year with the Certificate for Jewish and Israel Studies. He has completed numerous courses in Jewish Studies taught by Wesleyan faculty as well as scholars in residence. In addition, Zachary has completed the Hebrew program and took the additional Advanced Hebrew Tutorial.

Two other seniors have won the Scott Prize for excellence in Hebrew: Isabel Fattal and Jared Fineberg. Both Isabel and Jared have successfully completed the Hebrew program.

On behalf of the Center for Jewish Studies and the Hebrew program, I would like to wish our graduating seniors BEHATZLACHA, good luck, in  their new path in life. We will miss their enthusiasm, creativity and commitment but know that they will be as successful in their new chapter in life as much as they were successful in their academic life.

Fabulous Event with Etgar Keret at Wesleyan University on September 20

Seven Good Years

On September 20, the Center for Jewish Studies at Wesleyan University will host an evening with the internationally renowned writer Etgar Keret, a past Visiting Distinguished Professor and a frequent guest of Wesleyan University. The event will take place at the Goldsmith Family Cinema at Wesleyan University (301 Washington Terrace, Middletown, CT) at  8 P.M. The evening will start with a screening of the movie Etgar Keret: What Kind of Animal Are You. The movie will be introduced by Etgar Keret. In addition, Etgar Keret will read from his latest memoir The Seven Good Years. Audience will have the opportunity to engage in conversation with Etgar Keret during the question/answer session. The event is free and open to the public and is part of the annual series Contemporary Israeli Voices organized by Professor Katz, Director of the Center for Jewish Studies.

 

Please check out Etgar Keret’s interview with Terry Gross regarding The Seven Good Years on Fresh air:

 

http://www.npr.org/2016/08/05/488370839/what-etgar-keret-learned-from-his-father-about-storytelling-and-survival

 

 

 

WIJS grant recipient student and Prof. Birney contributed to a ground breaking archeological discovery

Wesleyan University Israel and Jewish Studies grant recipient student, Joy Feinberg ’19, along with Jamie Marvin ’19 and Sarah McCully ’16  and  their professor Kate Birney, assistant professor of classical studies, archaeology and art history and CJST faculty member, contributed to  the groundbreaking discovery of the first Philistine cemetery during their excavation in Ashkelon in Israel. The Philistines are known as the archenemy of ancient Israel from the Hebrew Bible and the discovery of the first Philistine cemetery might support the claim that the Philistines were migrants who arrived to the shores of ancient Israel from to lands to the West around the 12th century BCE.

To learn more about this discovery, please check the following link:

newsletter.blogs.wesleyan.edu/tag/kate-birney/

Assistant professor Kate Birney (pictured in foreground wearing a blue shirt and tan hat) and Joy Feinberg ’19 (pictured in back with a long-sleeve shirt) work to unearth skeletons and artifacts buried in a Philistine cemetery.
Assistant professor Kate Birney (pictured in foreground wearing a blue shirt and tan hat) and Joy Feinberg ’19 (pictured in back with a long-sleeve shirt) work to unearth skeletons and artifacts buried in a Philistine cemetery.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

CONTEMPORARY ISRAELI VOICES, 2015

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

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

Filmaker David Fisher is Silverberg Scholar in Residence at the CJS

(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.”