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.
Wednesday, November 13, 8 pm: Bernard Avishai “Is the Two-State Solution Really Dead?”
A Guggenheim fellow, Professor Bernard Avishai is the author ofThe 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 ofHarvard 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.
Please join us for the third event in the series Contemporary Israeli Voices 2013on 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.
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.
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:AReport on the Banality of Evil, Fifty Years Later” September 26-28, 2013 http://arendt.conference.wesleyan.edu/
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)”
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.
Greetings and Beruchim Habaim to friends of Jewish and Israel studies. I am delighted to serve as the interim chair this year. This is going to be an exciting and rich year full of cultural and intellectual events. Please mark your calendar for Thursday October 25 at noon at 108 Usdan Student Center. The Jewish and Israel studies will hold an open house. Lunch and information will be provided. During this event you will get the chance to meet and socialize with our faculty and students, learn about our exciting cultural series including our annual Israeli Film Festival and the Contemporary Israelis Voices Series, be introduced to new courses taught by our distinguished visitors and more. Please join us and bring friends with you. The next event will take place on October 30. Please check our event calendar for more details.
Another summer is gone and a new academic year has begun. As always, it will be an exciting year, with classes, and events to look forward to.
First some news. Professor Dalit Katz has agreed to serve as the interim director of JIS this year, while Professor Magda Teter on sabbatical working on her next book.
Dalit Katz has been a vital member of the faculty in the Jewish and Israel Studies Certificate, devoting time and energy to the JIS Certificate and the University. She has single-handedly created a highly respected Israeli Film Festival, which is now a mainstay on CT cultural calendar, making Wesleyan a go-to-place for Israeli culture, attracting audiences far beyond Wesleyan, and students to Wesleyan. The Program is thus in excellent hands this year!
We are also excited to welcome to Wesleyan Professor Elisha Russ-Fishbane, who is joining us from Princeton. Professor Elisha Russ-Fishbane teaches courses in Judaism, Hebrew Bible, and Jewish Studies, focusing on questions of Jews in Islamic lands. In the Fall 2012, he will teach the gateway course for the JIS Certificate, RELI233: The People of the Book: Jewish Cultures and Jewish Canons, and and RELI227: The Jews of the Islamic World from Muhammad to Modernity. In the Spring, Professor Russ-Fishbane will teach RELI201: Introduction to the Hebrew Bible, and RELI294: Judaism and the Philosophic Path: An Introduction to Maimonides.
In the Spring 2013, Professor Vivian Mann will teach a course in the Art History Department “Jewish Art and Rituals in Context”. This course covers the history of Judaica. The goal of the course is to give students an understanding of the range of ceremonial art used in the practice of Judaism and how individual works were fashioned out of a creative tension between the minimal demands of Jewish law and models in the art of surrounding cultures.
The course will result in an exhibition of Judaica curated at the Congregation Adath Israel, deepening further our collaboration with Adath Israel and its outstanding collection.
Finally, a quick preview of events that we can look forward to:
October 30, Lawrence Baron, Jewish-non-Jewish Romances about Israel: From Ari to Zohan, 8 p.m Russell House
Also the week of December 3, André Aciman will speak at Wesleyan. Time, topic and venue TBA.
Our annual Ring Family Wesleyan University Israeli Film Festival will take place in February and March.
A series of talks and lectures on Jewish Music linked to Mark Slobin’s class, MUSC297: Yiddish Cultural Expression: Music, Theater, Literature, Film.
Steven Hochstadt from the University of Shanghai will speak on the Jewish Refugees in Shanghai, time and venue TBA. The lecture will be linked to Vera Schwarcz’s class, HIST308: The Jewish Experience in China: From Kaifeng in the Song Dynasty to Shanghai During the Holocaust.
Another academic year is about to end. Just a few classes are left. A crunch time for our students and faculty, but also a time to celebrate students’ achievements. Since 2010 students and faculty have celebrated students’ projects in Jewish and Israel Studies. And while some students will indeed graduate with the Jewish and Israel Studies Certificate this year, others are still working on their courses, and still some are engaged in research and creative projects contributing to Jewish and Israel Studies without getting the certificate.
Come and join us!
Learn about politics of trees in Israel/Palestine; folklore among Jews from Europe and Arab countries; Holocaust memory and family story; women and Jewish liturgical practices; rhetoric of otherness against Jews and Muslims in Europe; bioethics and Jewish law! And much more.
Come and get inspired to do creative work in Jewish and Israel Studies.
Thursday, March 29: Last film of the Ring Family Film Festival “Je t’aime terminal/I love you terminal,” Goldsmith Family Cinema, 8pm
Je T’aime Terminal ( I Love You Terminal) is a romantic comedy about a young Israeli man on his way to join his American fiancé. During twenty four hour connection delay, he meets an eccentric and charming girl with whom he contemplates love, relationships and life.Speaker: Dani Menkin, the film director.
Thursday, April 5, Professor Joseph Siry will deliver a talk about the Beth Sholom Synagogue near Philadelphia, “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Steel Cathedral Project and Beth Sholom Synagogue” PAC 004, 4:30 pm
In a suburb just north of Philadelphia stands Beth Sholom Synagogue, Frank Lloyd Wright’s only synagogue and among his finest religious buildings. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 2007, Beth Sholom was one of Wright’s last completed projects, and for years it has been considered one of his greatest masterpieces. The talk is based on Professor Siry’s recently published book “The Beth Sholom Synagogue: Frank Lloyd Wright and Modern Religious Architecture.”
Thursday, April 19, Professor Elisha Russ-Fishbane will give a talk “Judaism and Islam: Between History and Polemics” in PAC 004 at 4:30 pm