On October 27, The Center for Jewish Studies at Wesleyan University hosted best-selling Israeli writer, Eshkol Nevo, as part of the 15th Annual Series Contemporary Israeli Voices, 2017. During his presentation Three Floors Up: A Tel Aviv Story, Eshkol Nevo read to the audience excerpts from his most recent novel Three Floors Up. The novel was just translated into English and Wesleyan University was the first stop in Nevo’s tour. The audience was surprised to find out that Middletown and one of his fictitious characters, a university professor, was part of the story. All copies were sold and signed by the author. Audience members inquired regarding the author’s successful creative writing workshops in Israel and abroad. The following day, Eshkol Nevo visited Hebrew classes and answered creatively students’ creative questions. The successful visit, the second one (the first one was in 2011), left the audience waiting impatiently to his next visit.
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:
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.
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.
Join us for two Jewish Studies and History related events on Monday, April 13:
Lunch Series — History Matters…Marianne 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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.