Upcoming JIS Events in November and December

The semester is half-way over, but Jewish and Israel Studies still plans to host a number of events:

November 4, Jewish and Israel Studies Open House, 4:30 pm Allbritton 103.

Please come to meet Jewish and Israel Studies students and faculty, and learn about our Program, our courses, and events.

November 4, Film: STEAL A PENCIL FOR ME (2007) by Oscar nominee Michele Ohayon (P’14). A Q&A session will follow the screening. Michele Ohayon recounts the touching story of Jack and Ina, whose love broke the bounds of matrimony and imprisonment. Jack: “I’m a very special Holocaust survivor. I was in the camps with my wife and my girlfriend; and believe me, it wasn’t easy.” For more about the film, see http://www.stealapencil.com/synopsis.php;
Film Studies 100 (Goldsmith Family Cinema), 8pm.

November 17, Hallie Lecture Series (COL): Professor Berel Lang, “Primo Levi, Writer (and Memoirist).” COL Lounge, Wesleyan University. COL Lounge, Butt C, 4:15 pm.

Berel Lang is the author of Philosophical Witnessing: The Holocaust as Presence (2009), Holocaust Representation: Art Within the Limits of History and Ethics (2000), Heidegger’s Silence (1996), Act and Idea in the Nazi Genocide (1990) and many other works bridging philosophy, aesthetics, ethics and history.  Much honored for outstanding scholarship and teaching, he has held fellowships from the N.E.H., ACLS, American Philosophical Association, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and is a member of the American Academy for Jewish Research.  This semester, he is Visiting Professor of Letters at Wesleyan; he has taught at Wesleyan, Trinity College, SUNY at Albany, the University of Colorado, and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

December 6, J. J. Goldberg, “The Next American Judaism: Israel, Intermarriage and the Seinfeld Effect”

J. J. Goldberg is a senior columnist at the Forward, where he had served as the editor-in-chief, transforming the paper into one of the leading and most respected voices of contemporary Jewish press.

Upcoming October Events in Jewish and Israel Studies

October 7, Susan Einbinder: “Seeing the Blind: Medieval Jewish Martyrdom, Poetry, and Hysterical Blindness,” 4:30pm at PAC 004

Susan Einbinder is Professor of Hebrew Literature at Hebrew Union College the author most recently of No Place of Rest: Jewish Expulsion and the Memory of Medieval France, which traces the ways that fourteenth-century texts written by Jews in Spain, Provence, Italy and North Africa recall the trauma of the 1306 expulsion from France.  She is also the author of Beautiful Death: Jewish Poetry and Martyrdom in Medieval France.

October 12, Playwright Joshua Sobol will talk about his new book Cut Throat Dog at Russell House at 8pm.

Joshua Sobol will place his new novel within the context of the “Shylock Syndrome.”  Sobol is an international renowned playwright, writer, and director.  In 2000 he was a visiting scholar at Wesleyan University and directed, with Wesleyan students, the play “Ghetto”, which was translated into more than 20 languages and has been performed by leading theaters in more than 25 countries through the world.  A reception will follow.

October 25, Israeli Author Michal Govrin will talk about her new book Holds on to the Sun at Russell House at 8pm.

“Hold on to the Sun:  Words Facing the Unspeakable”:  Michal Govrin will talk about her new book “Hold on to the Sun:  Stories and Legends”, which addresses through short stories, essay, and poetry the unspeakable through words.  The talk will end with a reading from the book.  Among the pioneers of Jewish experimental theater, Govrin has directed award-winning performances in all major theaters in Israel.  She also has published numerous nonfiction and personal essay, which have appeared in international journals and anthologies in several languages. A reception will follow.

An Opportunity for Students

One of our former students is currently working for the Moment Magazine and sent this announcement:

Award-Winning Magazine Seeks Student Contributors for Blog of Jewish Ideas

Moment Magazine, co-founded by Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel, is recruiting bright, inquisitive, and diverse university students to contribute to our blog “In the Moment.” Moment is the world’s largest independent Jewish magazine, and our blog gets upwards of 10,000 hits a month. As a student blogger, you will write one post a week on topics of Jewish politics, religion and culture. This is an incredible opportunity for young writers to develop their skills and benefit from the expertise of our team of experienced editors. At the end of each semester, the three bloggers who have generated the most web hits will receive a cash prize.

To apply, please send an application consisting of the following to nelis@momentmag.com by October 10, 2010:

  • Your name, age, university and major.
  • 1-2 short paragraphs on why you’re interested in Jewish issues and what unique perspective and background you bring to the blog.
  • 2 short writing samples.
  • 4 specific, original ideas for blog-posts you’d want to write.


Check out “In The Moment” at http://momentmagazine.wordpress.com/ and Moment’s website at http://www.momentmag.com <http://www.momentmag.com/> .

Fall Events in Jewish and Israel Studies

September 16, screening of Israeli film “Beaufort” (2007) and a talk with Ron Leshem, the author and scriptwriter at the Goldsmith Cinema at 8pm.

The film takes place in 2000 during the Israeli withdrawal from Southern Lebanon after 18 years of conflict. It follows IDF soldiers at the medieval Beaufort Castle preparing to leave.

October 7, Susan Einbinder: “Seeing the Blind: Medieval Jewish Martyrdom, Poetry, and Hysterical Blindness,” 4:30pm at PAC 004

Susan Einbinder is Professor of Hebrew Literature at Hebrew Union College the author most recently of No Place of Rest: Jewish Expulsion and the Memory of Medieval France, which traces the ways that fourteenth-century texts written by Jews in Spain, Provence, Italy and North Africa recall the trauma of the 1306 expulsion from France.  She is also the author of Beautiful Death: Jewish Poetry and Martyrdom in Medieval France.

October 12, Playwright Joshua Sobol will talk about his new book Cut Throat Dog at Russell House at 8pm.

October 25, Israeli Author Michal Govrin will talk about her new book Holds on to the Sun at Russell House at 8pm.

November 4, Jewish and Israel Studies – Open House and Reception, 4:15

November 17, Berel Lang will give the annual Hallie Lecture, 4:15 PM, the COL Lounge.

The Hallie Lecture Series was created by David Rhodes ‘68 to honor the late professor of philosophy, Philip Hallie. The series focuses on key ethical questions of our day.

December 6, J.J. Goldberg will speak on “The Next American Judaism: Israel, Intermarriage and the Seinfeld Effect.”

J. J. Goldberg is a senior columnist at the Forward, where he had served as the editor-in-chief, transforming the paper into one of the leading and most respected voices of contemporary Jewish press.

Jewish and Israel Studies Program Hosting Its First Cultural Event

Please join us for our first cultural event, starting an exciting and rich program we have prepared for the whole year.

On September 16, this coming Thursday, there will be a screening of an Israeli film “Beaufort” at the Goldsmith Family Cinema, Film Studies, Wesleyan University, 8 pm. The film tells a story of Israeli soldiers preparing for withdrawal from Southern Lebanon in 2000.

The film’s screenwriter, Ron Leshem, will join us for a discussion after screening.  Please join us there.

Jewish and Israel Studies Program has a Facebook page, http://bit.ly/WesleyanJIS. “Like” us to get updates about our exciting program this year.  Or follow us through this blog: http://jis.blogs.wesleyan.edu/

I look forward to seeing you on Thursday.

Visual Arts Competition for Emerging Artists, Ages 18-39

The Milken Archive in conjunction with the Foundation for Jewish Culture is sponsoring a visual arts competition called “Eye Meets Ear: Visual Arts Competition for Emerging Artists.”  Its purpose is to find twenty pieces of art to serve as cover art for the twenty themed volumes of music that comprise the Milken Archive’s new online museum (visit at www.milkenarchive.org <http://www.milkenarchive.org> ). The creator of each selected artwork will receive a prize of $2,000, a total of $40,000 will be awarded, and there is no limit to the number of submissions an individual can make.  You can read more about the competition at www.jewishculture.org <http://www.jewishculture.org> .

Fall 2010 Courses in Jewish and Israel Studies at Wesleyan

Here is the preview of Fall 2010 courses in JIS at Wesleyan.  For more updated information about courses, events, and the Program see our new JIS-Booklet Fall 2010.

To meet faculty and learn more about JIS at Wesleyan, come and stop by our table at the Academic Forum on September 2, 2:30-4:30 at the Freeman Athletic Center, Wesleyan.

Gateway courses:

HIST247: Jewish History: From Biblical Israel to Diaspora Jews

Prof. Magda Teter, Mon-Wed, 1:10-2:30PM in PAC002

RELI201: Old Testament/Hebrew Bible

Prof. Annalise Glauz-Todrank, Tue-Th, 10:30-11:50AM, Butterfield A 413

Hebrew Language and Literature:

HEBR101: Elementary Hebrew I

Prof. Katz,Dalit, M.W.F. 10-10:50AM, Fisk 210

HEBR201: Intermediate Hebrew I

Prof. Dalit Katz, M.W.F. 11-11:50AM, Fisk 210

HEBR210: Hebrew Literature

Prof. Dalit Katz, Tuesday-Thursday 10:30-11:50AM, Religion SEM

Elective Courses:

COL311: Spinoza’s ETHICS

Prof. Brian Fay, Monday, 7-9:50PM, Russel House, Seminar Room

COL324: Freud and Psychoanalysis

Prof. Paul Schwaber, Tuesday-Thursday, 2:40-4 PM, Butterfield C 314

GOVT270: Comparative Politics of the Middle East

Prof. Anne Peters, Tuesday-Thursday 2:40-4 PM, Judd Hall B6;

GOVT344: Religion and Politics

Prof. Nancy Schwartz, Monday-Wednesday, 1:10-2:30PM, PAC104;

GRST250: Cultural Criticism and Aesthetic Theory: Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno

Prof. Urlich Plass,  Tuesday-Thursday 10:30-11:50AM, Fisk 404

HIST210: American Jewish History: 1492-2001

Prof. Ronald Schatz, Monday-Wednesday, 2:40-4 PM, Allbritton 004;

HIST234: The Middle East in the 20th Century

Prof. Bruce Masters, M.W.F. 9-9:50AM, PAC001;

Undergraduate Research Opportunities at the Center for Jewish History

The Center for Jewish History in New York has announced programs supporting undergraduate research in Jewish studies:

Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program
Advanced undergraduate students at North American universities are invited to apply to carry out research in the archives and libraries of CJH’s partner institutions. This fellowship is designed for third and fourth year undergraduates preparing theses or other major projects in Jewish history and related fields. Projects require substantive use of archival and printed sources (e.g., newspapers, collections of sermons, memoirs, institutional reports) housed at CJH and not available at the student’s home institution. The amount of the fellowship is up to $1,000 and students are encouraged to seek matching funding from their home institutions. The award may be used for travel purposes and lodging while at CJH.

Joseph S. Steinberg Emerging Jewish Documentary Filmmaker Fellowship
Undergraduate and graduate emerging filmmakers working on topics related to modern Jewish history are encouraged to apply for this fellowship, which supports research in the archives housed at CJH. The award is designed to help further existing projects, or to start new projects, whose subject matter is in line with the collections housed at CJH. Recipients are eligible for awards of up to $5,000 and are provided with access to the resources at CJH. Students are selected for one academic year of research through a rigorous and competitive process and are expected to present finished documentary works, or works in progress, to a public audience at CJH.

For more information, go to: www.research.cjh.org

Jeremy Zwelling Retires

After more than 40 years at Wesleyan.  Professor Jeremy Zwelling is retiring this year.  When Professor Zwelling arrived at Wesleyan in 1967, the University, like many others in the country, had no program in Jewish Studies.  The field as a whole was just beginning to develop.    The Association for Jewish Studies (the AJS) was not founded till two years later, 1969.   But Jeremy Zwelling had a vision: to bring to Wesleyan Jewish Studies at its best, focusing on highest quality scholarship and cultural progamming.  Over the decades, the field of Jewish studies has matured–the AJS now has over 1800 members– and so has the Program at Wesleyan.   We now have eight core faculty contributing to the program, and five additional faculty affiliated with the program.   We offer a wide range of courses in several departments.  JIS at Wesleyan is one of the most active programs contributing academic and cultural events to a broader Wesleyan and Middletown Communities.

Last year, there were seven public events organized by JIS in the fall alone, some within classes taught in JIS.  They included lectures and film showings.  One of the films was shown within the Middle Eastern Film Series, co-organized by Dalit Katz.   In the Spring, we had the Ring Family Israeli Film Festival, organized by Dalit Katz.  It included five new Israeli films, followed by a speaker.  The JIS also coordinated two speakers within the Middle Eastern Studies Speaker Series.  In April we had the annual Frankel Memorial Lecture.  All this in addition to four academic public lectures organized within the JIS curriculum. Please, check this blog for announcements of events and news about the Program.

To be sure, Jeremy Zwelling’s retirement marks a turning point, a beginning of a new era.  But Jewish and Israel Studies is strong and will continue to flourish.  Since December 2009, Magda Teter has been the Director of Jewish and Israel Studies at Wesleyan.  Jeremy Zwelling, though now retired, has promised to remain an active participant of the Wesleyan and Middletown community.

For a report on the event honoring Jeremy Zwelling on May 2, 2010, see Olivia Bartlett’s article in Wesleyan Connections.

Slobin and Teter Appointed to Endowed Named Chairs

Two Jewish and Israel Studies faculty have been appointed to named chairs.

Mark Slobin has been appointed the Richard K. Winslow Professor of Music. Slobin is an ethnomusicologist whose research interests span the music of Afghanistan and central Asia, the music of eastern European Jews in Europe and North America, general theory of ethnomusicology, and ethnomusicology of film. He has served as President of the Society for Ethnomusicology, as President of the Society for Asian Music, as Editor of Asian Music, and as Series Editor of American Musicspheres (Oxford University Press). His awards include the the Seeger Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology (1969), the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award (1983 and 2001), Lifetime Achievement in Jewish Studies from the Foundation for Jewish Culture (2006), and Honorable Mention (with Chana Mlotek)—the Curt Leviant Award in Yiddish Studies from the Modern Languages Association (2008). He has been awarded grants from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lucius Littauer Foundation, and the International Research and Exchanges Board. He is author of more than 40 articles and author or editor of 18 books, most recently Music at Wesleyan: From Glee Club to Gamelan (forthcoming from Wesleyan University Press); Folk Music: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2010); Global Soundtracks: Worlds of Film Music (Wesleyan University Press, 2008); American Klezmer: Its Roots and Offshoots (University of California Press, 2002); and Fiddler on the Move: Exploring the Klezmer World (Oxford University Press, 2000). He received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

Magda Teter has been appointed the Jeremy Zwelling Associate Professor of Jewish Studies. Teter is a scholar of Jewish history and early modern Europe, focuses on the multifaceted topic of Jewish-Christian relations, especially in the religious and cultural history of Poland. Her work has been supported by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, YIVO Institute, and the Yad Ha-Nadiv Foundation (Israel), among others. In 2002, she was a Harry Starr Fellow in Jewish Studies at Harvard University, and in 2007-2008, an Emeline Bigelow Conland Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies also at Harvard University. Her first book, Jews and Heretics in Catholic Poland: A Beleaguered Church in the Post-Reformation Era (Cambridge University Press, 2006) was awarded the Jewish Studies Publication Prize by the Koret Foundation. She is also author of From Bread to Blood, from Sin to Crime: Sacrilege and Jews after the Reformation (Harvard University Press, forthcoming) and editor, with Adam Teller, of Early Modern Poland: Borders and Boundaries, in Polin, v. 22 (Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2009). She is author of more than 15 articles in English, Hebrew, and Polish, and has delivered more than 35 conference papers. She serves on the editorial board of The AJS Review, the Sixteenth Century Journal, and Polin. She received an M.A. from the School of Oriental Studies at the University of Warsaw, Poland, and her M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. from Columbia University.

See the formal announcement here: http://www.wesleyan.edu/tenuredfaculty/2010_appointments.html