Katz Center News


The Katz Center is delighted to congratulate one of its own!


Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies

Marina Rustow, Professor in the Department of Near Eastern Studies and Department of History at Princeton University, has just been awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for her pioneering work in the Cairo Genizah.  Marina was the Michael R. Steinhardt Term Fellow in 2003–2004, for the year “Prescriptive Traditions and Lived Experience in the Jewish Religion: Historical and Anthropological Perspectives,” for which she coedited the volume: Jewish Studies at the Crossroads of Anthropology and History: Authority, Diaspora, Tradition (coedited with Ra‘anan S. Boustan and Oren Kosansky; Penn Press, 2011).  To read more from the MacArthur Foundation click here.

The Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, Herbert D. Katz Center Fellowship in Jewish Manuscript Studies, and the David B. Ruderman Distinguished Fellowship Lecture


Tales of Three Texts: The Judaeo-Arabic and Hebrew Medical Texts in UPenn MS Codex 1649

In association with the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies and the Jewish Studies Program in the School of Arts and Sciences, Professor Langermann presented his latest research on a 15th-century medical miscellany (UPenn MS Codex 1649). Produced in Sicily, the manuscript contains texts written in Judeo-Arabic, Hebrew, and Arabic, making it a fascinating witness to the cross-fertilization of ideas across borders and cultures in the history of medicine in the late Middle Ages.

September 3, 2015,Class of 1978 Pavillion, Kislak Center, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center

To read a blog post on the project, click here

2015 Summer Collaboratory: Feminist Hermeneutics and the Babylonian Talmud


Feminist Hermeneutics and the Babylonian Talmud

During the month of July, several European and North American scholars, each of whom is committed to producing a commentary on one tractate of the Babylonian Talmud, were in residence as summer fellows at the Katz Center of the University of Pennsylvania. Together they discussed the challenges and contributions of feminist readings of the Talmud to the field of talmudic literature. The volumes produced will be part of the Feminist Commentary to the Babylonian Talmud series published by Mohr Siebeck. The month-long collaboratory aimed to explore strategies and best practices of writing talmudic commentary and of feminist writing. The Taube/Katz collaboratory permitted space and time for the scholars to work on their individual commentaries and collectively discuss the challenges of translating this feminist scholarly contribution into commentary—the defining Jewish literary practice for centuries.

Katz Center, IIAS, and The Hebrew University partner for 2015 summer school for graduate students in Judaic studies


Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies

Jews on the Move:

Translocations, Transmissions & Transformations in Jewish Culture

July 5-9, 2015 in Jerusalem

Throughout recorded Jewish history, from antiquity to the present, Jews have relocated as immigrants, refugees, and travelers, and various kinds of movement--exile, migration, pilgrimage--as well as the movement of ideas and practice, have shaped Jewish history and culture. Jews on the Move is an intensive, week-long graduate level program. It offers the opportunity to work with internationally recognized scholars, in archives and libraries, and will include day trips in Jerusalem.

The summer program is geared toward graduate students from the various subfields of Jewish studies in the humanities and the social sciences, including students who are interested in various aspects of the Jewish past as well as those focused on present-day realities. For more information, please click here.

The Katz Center Bids Farewell to the 2014-2015 Fellows


Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies

Thank you to our fellows for a wonderful year studying the origins, context, and diffusion of the academic study of Judaism.

Regaining Jerusalem: Eschatology and Slavery in Jewish Colonization in 17th-Century Suriname


Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies

Regaining Jerusalem: Eschatology and Slavery in Jewish Colonization in 17th-Century Suriname

Tuesday, March 3, 2015   5:00 PM

Van Pelt Library, 6th floor

Natalie Zemon Davis, University of Toronto, with an introduction by Roger Chartier, University of Pennsylvania/Collège de France

Professor Natalie Zemon Davis, author of The Return of Martin Guerre, recipient of a 2012 National Humanities Medal, former president of the American Historical Association, and the Katz Center’s inaugural David B. Ruderman Distinguished Scholar, presented a lecture focusing on eschatology and slavery on the New World plantations of Christian and Jewish settlers in 17th-century Suriname.

Recent acquisition by the Katz Center Library: The Moldovan Family Collection of Judaica


Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies

In the summer of 2014, Joseph and Susan Moldovan (both class of 1976) presented an extraordinary gift of over 1,200 books, pamphlets, scrolls, graphic art, and art reference works of Judaica to the Penn libraries. This collection was assembled over many decades by Joseph Moldovan and his late parents, Dr. Alfred Moldovan and Jean Moldovan. Joseph Moldovan donated the collection to the Penn libraries in his late parents’ honor and memory. The Moldovan collection consists of over 600 haggadot dating from the 17th-20th centuries printed in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Hebrew, Ladino, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Yiddish. The largest portion is concentrated in the 19th and early 20th centuries, emanating from over twenty different towns, cities, and countries, such as Amsterdam, Basel, Brisk, Brünn, Danzig, Djerba, Frankfurt, Fürth, Halle, Jerusalem, Livorno, London, New York, Paris, Prague, Sulzbach, Tel Aviv, Vienna, Vilna, and Warsaw. Many are beautifully printed and illustrated and, most unusually, include two haggadot printed in scroll form. The Moldovan Family Collection also features dozens of liturgical works and specialized historical imprints. Among the more noteworthy items are: a Yiddish translation of the medieval chronicle Sefer Yosipon, printed by Moshe Katz, the important Prague Hebrew printer, in 1607; a number of early modern Christian Hebraist works, including Jacques Basnage’s translation from Latin into French of Petrus Cunaeus’s Republic of the Hebrews, which was printed in Amsterdam in 1713, as well as finely illustrated nineteenth-century texts such as a red leather, gold embossed, tooled German edition of Gustave Doré’s illustrated Bible. Most significant, perhaps, is the Moldovan’s collection of nearly 250 historical prints and engravings from the 17th-19th centuries depicting rabbis, synagogues, family scenes, and Jewish ceremonies from Europe and the Ottoman empire. The Moldovan gift joins the Moldovan Family French Judaica Collection donated in 2012, which together constitute a substantial boon to Penn’s modern Jewish historical holdings.

The Katz Center in the News


We are proud to announce that three of nine Jordan Schnitzer Book Award recipients for 2014 are Katz Center fellowship alumni: Elisheva Carlebach, Pawel Maciejko, and Glenn Dynner.


Taking Note: 20 Years of Scholars and Scholarship at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, 1993–2014, a collection of essays, images, and a history of the center since it became part of Penn in 1993, is now available as an e-book and a pdf.


The center would like to congratulate our own Arthur Kiron, Schottenstein-Jesselson Curator of Judaica Collections at the Libraries of the University of Pennsylvania. Constellations of Atlantic Jewish History, 1955–1890—a catalog edited and curated by Arthur as a companion volume to a 2014 exhibition of the Arnold and Deanne Kaplan Collection of Early American Judaica at the University of Pennsylvania Library—has just been awarded the Arline Custer Memorial Award for 2014 in the book category.  The gorgeous work, designed by Andrea Gottschalk, contains a series of essays by top scholars of American and Atlantic Jewish history, and beautiful reproductions of what is only a small sample of the extraordinary richness of the Kaplan Collection. The award committee noted the innovative ways that the book balanced the serious historical essays with pragmatic guides to use of the collection by researchers. The award is sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, to support exceptional work in archiving and public outreach.