The Center for Jewish Studies actively participated at the 51st Annual Association for Jewish studies Conference in San Diego. For the second year in a row, the Center for Jewish Studies sponsored the AJS Film Festival. In addition, Dalit Katz, the center’s director, introduced the opening film of the festival, Tel Aviv on Fire. Shayna Dollinger, a candidate for the Certificate in Jewish and Israel Studies, and Sophia Shoulson, a Wesleyan graduate, also attended the conference. Michelle Katz, an alumni of the Center for Jewish Studies, is the AJS Membership and Content Conference Manager.
Professor Marc Dollinger, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility at San Francisco State University and a Wesleyan parent, delivered an interactive multi- media presentation about Black Power, Jewish Politics: Reinventing the Alliance in the 1960s. Earlier that day Professor Dollinger met with students in the Center for Jewish Studies and the Center for African- American Studies for a lunch in which he shared the circumstances which prompted him to write this book. This presentation was part of the Annual Jeremy Zwelling lecture instituted to honor Jeremy Zwelling, the founder of Jewish Studies at Wesleyan University. We had a full house in attendance, and hope to plan more events with the Center for African -American Studies. The lecture was sponsored by the Center for Jewish Studies.
In the fall, the Center for Jewish Studies hosted Dorit Rabinyan and Zeruya Shalev as part of the series Contemporary Israeli Voices. Dorit Rabinyan delivered a talk about her recent book All the Rivers, a love story between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man, which was banned by Israel’s Ministry of Education from being taught at high schools. Zeruya Shalev delved into the return of pain and the haunting of the past in her recent novel Pain. Both writers met Hebrew classes and answered the students’ questions in Hebrew. A book sale and reception followed each presentation. Students in Jewish Studies and Hebrew Studies wrote papers reflecting on those presentations. We look forward to hosting those accomplished writers again in the future. The series Contemporary Israeli Voices was initiated and organized by Dalit Katz the Director for the Center for Jewish Studies and is sponsored by the Center for Jewish studies.
Dalit Katz, Director of the Center for Jewish Studies, served as a juror in the documentary category at the Lighthouse International Film Festival at Long Beach Island in New Jersey. The opening night film was the feature film Skin, directed by the Israeli film maker Guy Nativ who won the Oscar for a short by the same title. After the screening Guy Nativ conducted a Q/A session with the audience. The film festival’s executive director this year is Amir Bogen, the Scholar in Residence at the Center for Jewish Studies in spring 2019.
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