On April 15, Sarah Imhoff, Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and the Borns Jewish Studies Program at Indiana University, delivered the Fifth Annual Jeremy Zwelling lecture. The presentation was entitled Manliness and Its Opposites: A Brief History of American Jewish Gender. The animated presentation was delivered to a full house with a diverse audience consisting of students across the curriculum, Wesleyan faculty, people from the community and prospective students, all were intrigued by the subject matter.
The Center for Jewish Studies hosted last night the Annual Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Memorial Lecture. Professor Devin Naar, the Isaac Alhadeff Professor of Sephardic Studies and Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies at the University of Washington, where he directs the Sephardic Studies Digital Collection, the largest repository of digital Ladino texts in the world, delivered a fascinating and animated presentation entitled The Rise and Fall of Salonica, the Jerusalem of the Balkans. Following the presentation there was an extensive Q/A session. To learn more about the subject check out Professor Naar’s book , Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece, which won a National Jewish Book Award and the grand prize from the Modern Greek Studies Association.
On behalf of the Center for Jewish Studies, I am delighted to announce that a committee consisting of Jewish Studies faculty members has chosen Sivan Basha Piatigorsky-Roth’s paper “Need More Love: On Unlikable Self-Representation in The Jewish American Female Autobiographical Comics of Aline Kominsky-Crumb” as the winner of the Best Student Paper in Jewish Studies Award. Members of the committee were impressed by the “nuanced reading of a complex, sensitive, timely matter”.
The award will be presented to Sivan at the Annual Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Memorial lecture on Thursday, April 11 at 8pm at Daniels Family Commons. At that time, a lecture entitled “The Rise and Fall of Salonica, the Jerusalem of the Balkans” will be presented by Professor Devin Naar, the Isaac Alhadeff Professor of Sephardic Studies at the University of Washington.
Rachel Harris, Associate Professor of Israeli Literature and Culture at the University of Illinois and the first scholar in the series Contemporary Israeli Voices, 2019, was recently featured in an interview with the Jewish Ledger regarding her upcoming Wesleyan presentation. Professor Harris’ talk is scheduled for Monday, November 5, 2018 at 8 PM at Russell House. Professor Harris will talk about her recent book Warriors, Witches, Whores: Women in Israeli Cinema.Below please find the link to the interview: http://www.jewishledger.com/2018/09/conversation-rachel-s-harris/
On Thursday, April 12, The Center for Jewish studies hosted author Ruby Namdar as a guest speaker for the Annual Samuel And Dorothy Frankel Memorial lecture. Ruby Namdar’s multi- media presentation entitled The Holy Temple in Jerusalem: A Symbol of Gruesome Glory was based upon his novel The Ruined House which won the Sapir Prize, Israel’s most prestigious literary award and was recently translated into English . The audience consists of the Wesleyan community, guests from the general community, The Book Club at Adath Israel in Middletown, and guests from Wesfest. The Q/A session was especially remarkable as it brought life various point of views from an educated audience. The event was featured at The Jewish Ledger with an interview of Ruby Namdar. You can find this interview at http://www.jewishledger.com/2018/04/conversation-ruby-namdar/
This was the last cultural event of the year and at that time, Director Dalit Katz officially announced Talia Cohen as the winner of the Best Jewish Studies Paper award. The next cultural series Contemporary Israeli Voices will be inaugurated in Fall 2018. Stay tuned: exciting events are coming!
Dalit Katz, Director of CJS at Wesleyan University and Chair of the Film Committee of the Association for Jewish Studies, was featured in the AJS Conference Issue with an article reporting about the AJS Film Committee’s work. The article can be found at
Mazal Tov to Ruth Nisse, a faculty member in the Center for Jewish Studies, who was promoted to Professor of English. Professor Nisse is a scholar of medieval literature. Her recent book, Jacob’s Shipwreck: Diaspora and Translation in Jewish-Christian Relations in Medieval England (Cornell University Press, 2017), introduces a new approach to ideas of Jewish Diaspora in medieval Western Europe based on an examination of the transmission and reception of Hebrew and Latin post-biblical literature.
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.
Sarah Wildman ’88, an award-winning writer and regular contributor to the New York Times, presented the 36th Annual Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Memorial Lecture on April 5, in the Daniel Family Common at Usdan University Center. The event was sponsored by the Center for Jewish Studies and organized by Dalit Katz, director of the center.
Wildman spoke on what she’d learned about the Holocaust in writing Paper Love: Searching for the Girl my Grandfather Left Behind (Riverhead Penguin, 2014).
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: