Final Event: Showcase of Students’ Work in Jewish and Israel Studies

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.

Herzl Forest Poster for the 50th Anniversary of the Jewish National Fund, 1954
Herzl Forest Poster for the 50th Anniversary of the Jewish National Fund, 1954

 

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.

Reception will follow.

Monday, May 7, Allbritton 103, 4:30 PM

Jewish and Israel Studies Events after Spring Break

Join us for some exciting upcoming events:

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.

Joseph Siry "Beth Shalom Synagogue" (Chicago, 2011)
Joseph Siry “Beth Shalom Synagogue” (Chicago, 2011)

 

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

Please join us and bring friends and family!

This Week’s Events in Jewish and Israel Studies

TUESDAY, Feb. 28, 2012:

Jewish and Israel Studies and the Mansfield Freeman Center invite you to a Tuesday lecture “Reshaping Collective Consciousness: Hebrew and Chinese Narrative on the Holocaust and Nanking Massacre (1960-1980)” by Zhong Zhiqing, PhD., Professor, Oriental Literary Studies, Institute of Foreign Literature, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

This presentation will survey how memories of historical trauma such as the Holocaust and Nanking Massacre were transferred into Hebrew and Chinese national literatures during the post-Holocaust and post-Nanking Massacre period. The focus will be upon how literature functions in reconstructing the national past and in the reshaping of collective consciousness. In both the Hebrew and Chinese contexts, the heroic myths created during the formative years of the statehood were eventually broken; in the 1960s in Israel and in the 1970s in China respectively. Historical landmarks during this period such as the Eichmann Trial, the Six Days War, the Yom Kippur War and Lebanon War in Israel and the Cultural Revolution in China will be shown to have brought about a dramatic change in narratives of collective memory of historical trauma.  Tuesday, February 28, 4:30 pm, at the Mansfield Freeman Center
Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT 06459
860/685-2330

THURSDAY, March 1, 8 pm:

The Ring Family Israeli Film Festival: “Intimate Grammar” — a film adaptation by director Nir Bergman, based upon the renowned author David Grossman’s book, will be the fifth film screened in The Ring Family Wesleyan University Israeli Film Festival on Thursday, March 1 at the Goldsmith Family Cinema at 8 p.m. This film explores the metaphoric and emotional field of grammar through a 12 year old boy, Aharon, who refuses to grow up. Film critic Laura Blum will deliver a talk entitled The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up as well as conduct a question/answer session after the screening.

The film is 110 minutes and has English subtitles. Admission is free.

JIS co-sponsored event:

THURSDAY, March 1, 7 p.m. Center for African American Studies

Jennifer Knust, “A Biblical Sex Scandal? Noah, Ham, and the Curse of Canaan”

The story of Ham’s encounter with Noah’s nakedness, and the curse that followed, offers a particularly notorious example of what today we might call a “sex scandal.” Though the specifics of Ham’s infraction are far from clear, the shame that was then affixed to whomever was designated as one of his descendants is not. Adapting the insights of affect theory and addressing larger biblical notions of sexual morality and kinship, Jennifer Knust will consider the way that the Canaanites became disgusting objects, and the effect this interpretation has had on understandings of sex, race, and gender.

 

New Semester, New Courses

Everyone is back on campus. Most students settling into their classes. Jewish and Israel Studies is offering seven courses, five of which are taught by our core faculty: from Hebrew taught by Professor Dalit Katz, to a course on Jews in China, to a course on Middle Eastern Politics, to Israeli Films, and the capstone seminar.  Here are some highlights of the courses–for events check back here in a few days:

HEST 239 “Israel on the Road” with Dani Menkin: In this class, students will engage in analyzing in depth the making of Israeli filmmaker Dani Menkin’s award winning films. There will be behind-the-scenes discussions on the “journey of the filmmaker” versus the “journey of the characters”; discussions of other international award winning road trip films; reading and reviewing Dani’s script-in-progress co-written with best selling other and writer, Eshkol Nevo.

HIST 308 “The Jewish Experience in China” with Professor Vera Schwarcz: A historical and analytical overview of the Jewish presence in China from the silk road trade through the Holocaust, as well as the rebirth of Jewish identity among the Chinese Jews in Kaifeng today. Students will be encouraged to do comparative readings on Jewish survival and assimilation in different cultural contexts ranging from India to Europe.

RELI 204 “Judaisms” with Professor Annalise Glauz-Todrank: This course will examine varieties of Jewishness in its contemporary and historical forms. We will focus on topics and texts that provide a focal point from which to discuss significant religious, historical, and cultural components of Jewish traditions. The course texts draw on several types of literature, including philosophical and theological writing about God, Yiddish short stories, American graphic novels, ethnographic studies of Jewish communities, personal narratives, and critical histories. This wide array of texts is intended to introduce students to Jewish history, thought, practice, stories, and identities from different gendered, geographical, and cultural perspectives.

RELI 396 “Performing Jewish Studies,” the JIS capstone seminar, with Professor Magda Teter: Jewish studies is broad in terms of disciplinary approaches and diverse in the ways it conceives its subject matter. This course will focus on the historical roots of the field of Jewish studies, models that advance theories and methods of Jewish studies, and on how such studies are being differently forged and performed in different disciplines, including Jewish history, Jewish literary studies, anthropology, sociology, and religious studies. For each of these areas of study, the seminar will examine a classical seminal work as well as outstanding recent ones that are on the frontiers of knowledge.

Amos Oz Speaks at Wesleyan

In a special event on the eve of Homecoming/Family Weekend, the internationally lauded novelist and journalist Amos Oz will give a public lecture on campus.  The talk, titled “Israel Through Its Literature, is scheduled for Thursday, November 3, at 8 p.m. in Memorial Chapel.

Amos Oz, Israel’s best known writer, is the author of novels, novellas, short stories, children’s books, literary and political essay collections, and the moving memoir A Tale of Love and Darkness. Oz’s most widely acclaimed novel, My Michael (1968), was an immediate artistic and political sensation. It has been published in over 30 countries and in 1975 was made into a popular film. Among many other titles received with admiring reviews and heavy sales are The Hill of Evil Counsel (3 novellas), In the Land of Israel (essays on the Lebanon War), and novels such as To Know a Woman and The Same Sea.

One of the founders of the Peace Now movement, Oz has written extensively about Arab-Israeli relations and for over forty years has championed dialogue and campaigned for mutual recognition between Israel and a Palestinian state.  He is a long-time teacher and currently Professor at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba.

Amos Oz is the recipient of numerous awards for literary and humanitarian activity, including the Prix Femina (1998) and Knight of the Legion of Honor (1997) in France; the German Friedenspreis (1992), Goethe Prize (2005), and Heine Prize (2008); and the Israeli Prize for Literature (1998).

Arrangements for this appearance were made through the B’nai B’rith Lecture Bureau. The event’s sponsors are the Rosenberg Family Fund for Jewish Student Life, Wesleyan Writing Programs and the Annie Sonnenblick Fund, the Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Memorial Lecture Fund, Jewish and Israel Studies, the Wesleyan Jewish Community, and the College of Letters.

New Semester, New Beginning

Students and faculty are back on campus and a new and exciting year is upon us.  Jewish and Israel Studies will offer an exciting array of courses and events.  The events will be open to public and at the same time, as always, tightly linked to our courses. Here are some highlights:

Shimon Adaf

 

September 19, Shimon Adaf, award winning Israeli poet and novelist, will present: “Behold the Present, If you Must: Questions Asked by Young Israeli Writers Nowadays”, 8pm, Usdan 108

November 1, Jewish and Israel Studies Open House, USDAN 108, Noon. Lunch will be served.

November 3, Amos Oz, internationally acclaimed, award-winning Israeli writer, novelist, and journalist, will speak on “Israel Through Its Literature,” 8 pm, Memorial Chapel

November 9 , Philip P. Hallie Memorial Lecture: (COL) Jan Gross, Professor Norman B. Tomlinson ’16 and ’48 Professor of War and Society at Princeton University, will speak on “On the Periphery of the Holocaust: Opportunistic Killings and Plunder of Jews by Their Neighbors.” 4:15 pm, COL Lounge, Butterfield C.

November, 10, Vivian Mann, Professor of Jewish Art and Material Culture at the Jewish Theological Seminary, “Islamic Jewish Art”, 8pm, Russell House.

November 17, Jolanta Dylewska, internationally acclaimed director and filmmaker, will present her compelling documentary “Po-lin: Shreds of Memory,” 8 pm, the Goldsmith Family Cinema

November 30, Rachel Rubinstein, Associate Professor of American literature and Jewish Studies at Hampshire College, will give a JIS lecture. She is the author of Members of the Tribe: Native America in the Jewish Imagination, published in 2010, 8 pm.

Nevo Eskol-Homesick

December 6, Eskol Nevo, an award-winning Israeli novelist will talk about his new book Homesick, 8 pm at Russell House.

 

We hope to see you at these and other events this semester!

Jewish and Israel Studies WESeminars during Commencement Weekend

Please join us for three Commencement Weekend WESeminars sponsored by Jewish and Israel Studies Program:

Friday, May 20 at 1:30 p.m: Objects Tell Stories: Community Partnership and Scholarship at Wesleyan

Location: 8 Broad Street, Nester Center of the Congregation Adath Israel

During the spring semester, students in Professor Magda Teter’s class on east European Jewish history have been exploring studying history through objects. This was possible thanks to a new partnership developed between Wesleyan and the local congregation Adath Israel. The congregation houses a small, but impressive, collection of Judaica. Students in this class examined, researched, and curated an exhibition using objects related to East European Jewish history. The seminar will showcase the students work by taking participants on the tour of the exhibition and will aim to highlight the exciting experience such collaboration with a local community can bring. Two students will share their stories.


Saturday, May 21 at 1:30 p.m: What Good Is A Red Tent If You Hate Camping? Reflections on 21st Century Jewish Motherhood.

Location: Kerr Lecture Hall(Shanklin 107).

Ayelet Waldman ’86, novelist and author of Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace, will discuss the perilous imbalance of contemporary motherhood, with a particular emphasis on the pleasures and challenges of being a Nerf-spined, guilt-ridden Jewish Mother in an iron-willed, Tiger Mother world.

Introduction: Dalit Katz, adjunct assistant professor of religion and of Jewish and Israel Studies. Presenter: Ayelet Waldman ’86 is the author of Red Hook Road, Love and Other Impossible Pursuits, Daughter’s Keeper and the Mommy-Track Mysteries

 

Saturday, May 21 at 3:30 p.m, Love and History: Screening and Interactive Discussion with Michele Ohayon, Award Winning Documentarian.

Location: Tishler Lecture Hall (Room 150), Exley Science Center

In this seminar, film director Michele Ohayon will present segments from her award-winning documentary Steal a Pencil for Me (2007), as well as segments from her college graduation film, Pressure, which won the Israeli Best Film Award in 1984. Both films are love stories, framed within specific historical contexts. The first film tells the story of Jack and Ina who fell in love while imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. Pressure is one of the first dramatic films on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and is based on a true a story.

Michele Ohayon will conduct a question/answer session with the audience, and walk through the process of depicting history in film.

Introduction: Dalit Katz, adjunct assistant professor of religion and of Jewish and Israel studies. Presenter: Michele Ohayon P’14, award-winning director and producer, whose feature length documentary Colors Straight Up won various awards, including the Golden Spire Award for the Arts at the San Francisco Film Festival, and was nominated for an Academy Award.

 

A New Partnership between Wesleyan’s Special Collections and Archives and the Congregation Adath Israel in Middletown

Join us to celebrate a new partnership between the Adath Israel Congregation and the Olin library at Wesleyan.

Over the last year, Wesleyan University’s Special Collection and Archives, Jewish and Israel Studies Program, and the Congregation Adath Israel have been working on developing a new partnership. As a result, rare books from Adath Israel will be loaned to Special Collections & Archives in Olin library for research by students and faculty, in particular in Prof. Magda Teter’s Jewish history classes. On May 11, we will officially sign the long-term loan agreement. Prof. Magda Teter, the Director of Jewish and Israel Studies Certificate Program at Wesleyan, and Suzy Taraba, the Head of Special Collections, will speak about the books and how they will be used and cared for in Special Collections & Archives.

A printer's mark of Gershom Bak of Prague. A book "Sefer ha-magid" published later in the printshop in Prague in 1675 is one of the books to be transferred to Special Collections and Archives
A Printer’s Mark of Gershom Bak, a Jewish printer from 16th-century Prague

 

The event will also be an opportunity to share the results of student research based on objects from Adath Israel’s Museum.

Location: May 11, 6:30 pm, Congregation Adath Israel, 8 Broad St., Middletown CT,

Sponsor: Olin Library and Congregation Adath Israel
Contact Information: Suzy Taraba (staraba@wesleyan.edu, x3375) or Magda Teter (mteter@wesleyan.edu, x5356)

Light refreshments will be served.

Mogulesco-A Tale of the Yiddish Theater

After a very busy semester of Jewish and Israel Studies events, our almost last event is on Sunday, May 8: Mogulesco-A Tale of the Yiddish Theater, a production of Music 297 class, written by Mark Slobin, directed by Joshua Margolin ’11, music direction by Amanda Scherbenske.With student and faculty actors.

 

Location :    World Music Hall, 3 pm

Sponsor :    Music Department
Admission :    $5 general public; free admission for Wesleyan students
Event URL :    http://www.wesleyan.edu/cfa
For more information :    boxoffice@wesleyan.edu, 860-685-3355

 

Please join us for this student-faculty performance.

Showcase of Student Projects in Jewish and Israel Studies

The semester–nay the year–is almost over.  Just one more week of classes is left.  It is a crunch time, but also a time to celebrate students’ achievements.  Since 2010 we have showcased students’ projects in Jewish and Israel Studies.  Some students will indeed graduate with the Jewish and Israel Studies Certificate, but some of our students are engaged in research and creative projects contributing to Jewish and Israel Studies without the certificate.

On Tuesday, May 3, 2011, at 4:30 pm I hope you will join me for a celebratory reception of our students’ achievements.

Rachel Tecott (GOVT) will share her findings on “Israeli Counterterrorism Decision-Making: The Causes and Costs of A-Strategic Incoherence.”  This presentation is based on Rachel’s honors thesis in Government, in which she demonstrates a fallacy of the two conventional wisdoms that Israeli counterterrorism is effective, and that Israeli counterterrorism is the product of rational, unitary action.  Her evidence includes interviews with key Israeli counterterrorism decision-makers (including several Major Generals, National Security Advisors, and senior-ranking Israeli Intelligence officers).

Daniel Hymanson (FILM) will present his short film “Slothman” – Daniel’s honors thesis project for the film studies department.  It tells the story of a boy named David and his encounters with sloths, the Chicago Bulls, a newt, and his mother. The film’s opening scene was shot at Adath Israel in Middletown.

A screen shot of "Judah" from Seth Alter's computer game "Divided Monarchy"
A screen shot of “Judah” from Seth Alter’s computer game “Divided Monarchy”

 

Seth Alter (HIST and JIS) will demonstrate his new educational video game “Divided Monarchy” that simulates ancient Israel in the Iron Age. The game comes with serious academic research historical and archaeological material. Every in-game component to “Divided Monarchy” has been included in accordance to modern scholars’ understanding of biblical society and culture.

 

All this on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 4:30 pm in Allbritton 103.

 

On Tuesday evening, our student Ross Shenker (THEA and JIS) will share his capstone project in a very special event Inside The Playwright’s Studio: An Evening With Donald Margulies

Donald Margulies
Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Donald Margulies

 

Join Pulitzer Prize Winning Playwright Donald Margulies and Ross Shenker ’11 for a look inside the playwright’s studio. Professor Margulies is the acclaimed author of the plays “Time Stands Still,” “Brooklyn Boy,” “Dinner With Friends,” Sight Unseen,” “Collected Stories,” and others. He has received a Lucille Lortel Award, an Outer Critics’ Circle Award, two American Dramatists’ Guild Hull-Warriner Awards, one Tony Award nomination, five Drama Desk Award nominations, two Pulitzer Prize nominations, and one Pultizer Prize. His works have been performed on and off Broadway and at major theaters across the United States, in Europe, and around the world.

Presented by the Jewish and Israel Studies Department. This event is in partial fulfillment of Ross Shenker’s Senior Project entitled “Embedding The Self In One’s Art: How Donald Margulies Draws Upon Contemporary Jewish-American Identity In His Playwriting.”

Usdan Center, Taylor Room, 8pm

Reception to follow next door in Andersen Meeting Room-110