Upcoming Events in Jewish and Israel Studies at Wesleyan

The Spring semester has started and it will be busy not only with classes but also with events. Two thematic series: The Ring Family Israel Film Festival and a series of talks and concerts on East European Jewish Culture.

The event that will inaugurate the semester will be the annual Frankel Memorial Lecture. February 1 Director Andrzej Krakowski will present his film Farewell My Country about the 1968 exodus of Jews from Poland. Powell Family Cinema at the Film Studies, 8pm.

The Frankel Lecture will also inaugurate a series on the East European Jewish Culture.

Ring Family Israeli Film Festival at Wesleyan at the Goldstein Family Cinema:

February 10: Five Hours From Paris: the story of a dream, an obstacle and unique friendships between an Israeli taxi driver and a Russian music teacher. Speaker: Haim Tabakman, a film director and Jewish and Israel Visiting scholar in Residence.

February 17, Eyes Wide Open: a forbidden love story between a married Orthodox man and a mysterious young man. Speaker Haim Tabakman, director of the film and Jewish and Israel Visiting scholar in Residence.

February 24, Ajami: Israel Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film combines five stories which take place in Ajami, a religious and ethnically diverse neighborhood of Jaffa. Speaker: Laura Blum, film critic.

March 3, The Beetle. A man’s obsession with his Beetle car brings him to Jordan in a desperate attempt to fix it. Speaker: Anne Peters, Wesleyan Assistant Professor in the Government Department.

March 31, a screening of two Israeli TV shows: Serugim (the dating saga of young Religious Israelis) and Arab Labor (An Arab journalist’s hilarious attempts to fit into Israeli society). Speaker: Isaac Zablozki, director of Film Programs at the JCC Manhattan.

April 7, Wrist cutters: A Love Story. This is an adaptation of the internationally renowned writer, Etgar Keret’s novella Kneller’s Happy Campers (interesting translation….). Featured guest speaker, Etgar Keret.

This film festival is sponsored by the Ring family and the Jewish and Israel Studies.

Eastern European Jewish Culture Series:

February 15, Hankus Netsky will speak on American klezmer, CFA Hall, 7pm

February 22, Michael Winograd’s klezmer performance, CFA Hall, 7pm

March 29, Sam Kassow will speak on Yiddish poetry in the Holocaust era, CFA Hall, 7pm

April 5, Olga Litvak will speak on Sholem Aleichem, CFA Hall, 7pm

And a special event, related to our Service-Learning Class:

April 13, Professor Shalom Sabar from Hebrew University will give a talk “The Sabbath in Jewish Art and Folklore.”

More events will be announced, including our annual showcase of students’ research in Jewish and Israel Studies. Please check back for updates, and become a friend of Wesleyan’s Jewish and Israel Studies Program on Facebook, where you can get the latest updates about the Program: www.facebook.com/WesleyanJIS

Looking back and looking forward

The fall semester is well behind us, grades have been submitted and now we are preparing for the Spring semester.

The fall was full of events and exciting courses.  Jewish and Israel Studies Program offered eleven courses, enrolling a total of 192 students, 107 of whom were taught by our core faculty.  In the Spring we will offer eight courses in History, Music, Art History, Religion, Film Studies, and of course Hebrew language and literature.  JIS sponsored seven events, among them were two in our New Israeli Voices series, which brought to campus Joshua Sobol, the acclaimed Israel playwright and director, and Michal Govrin, a noted Israeli writer.  The series is tightly integrated into our Hebrew curriculum. We also hosted JJ. Goldberg from the Forward who spoke on “The Next American Judaism: Israel, Intermarriage and the Seinfeld Effect” and Professor Susan Einbinder who spoke on “Medieval Jewish Martyrdom, Poetry, and Hysterical Blindness.”  These events were also linked to our curriculum, the American Jewish History class, Medieval Jewish History class, and a class on Medieval Literature.

In November, Professor Magda Teter met with alumni and parents in San Francisco to talk about Jewish and Israel Studies at Wesleyan and brainstorm about what we can do for those who are not on campus. We had some terrific ideas that we plan to work on! Stay tuned.

Spring looks like an exciting semester. Jewish an Israel Studies Program will offer eight courses, including for the first time, a small cluster of courses on East European Jewish History and Culture. Professor Mark Slobin will teach a course a course “Yiddish Cultural Expression: Music, Theater, Literature, Film.” The course “will ground modern Yiddish expressive culture in its 19th-century Eastern European homeland, then follow its dispersion to North America, through the present.” Professor Magda Teter will teach a course on East European Jewish History, from the beginning of Jewish settlement in medieval Poland through the modern day efforts to create vibrant, if small, Jewish communities in Cracow and Warsaw.  This is also our first service learning course.  Students will work with the Congregation Adath Israel in Middletown and study its Judaica collection.  Aside from learning about Jewish history in Eastern Europe, students will be engaged in learning through material culture and curating a small exhibition. Finally, in our small cluster, Professor Annalise Glauz-Todrank will teach a course on “Hasidism: European Origins and American Identities.”

Among other highlights is our Mervin and Gittel Silverberg Distinguished Visiting Scholar. This year the position will be held by the Israeli director and producer, Haim Tabakman, whose most recent film “Eyes Wide Open” has received wide acclaim.  Haim Tabakman will teach a course on “Revival of the Israeli Cinema” and he will also play an active role in our Ring Family Israeli Film Festival organized by Professor Dalit Katz.

Our cultural programming also looks exciting–a more detailed schedule will be announced shortly, so here is just a taste:

On February 1, 2011, as our annual Frankel Lecture Series, Director Andrzej Krakowski will screen his film “Farewell to My Country” about the 1968 exodus of Jews from Poland.

Our Ring Family Israeli Film Festival will include six films screened on Thursdays, beginning on February 10, 2011.

There will be a series of events related to our East European Cluster–talks, concerts, and performances.

On April 13, 2011, Professor Shalom Sabar from Hebrew University will give a talk “The Sabbath in Jewish Art and Folklore.”

There is much to look forward to in the Spring 2011 and we hope you will join us.