Katz Center News


22nd Annual Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Lecture in Judaic Studies


Jews, Muslims, and Modernity
October 18, 2018 | 5:00 pm

featuring Aron Rodrigue (Stanford University) in conversation with Lital Levy (Princeton University); Julia Phillips Cohen (Vanderbilt University); and Jessica Marglin (University of Southern California

For much of the history of Jewish studies, the study of modern Jewry has been focused on Europe, America and Israel. 

The Katz Center devotes its 2018 Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff lecture to a program that pushes into less familiar regions of modern Jewish experience, featuring...

Click for more.

Fall 2018 Seminar Schedule


In 2018–2019, the Katz Center devotes its fellowship to the study of Jewish life in modern Islamic contexts. Seminars meet on Wednesdays from 3:00 to 5:00 pm, and are followed by a reception. RSVP is required. Open to all Penn and regional faculty, graduate students, and other invited guests. Please email kschn@upenn.edu to register and receive precirculated readings.

Click here to view the full schedule.

Interested in learning more about our fellows? Selected from a large and highly competitive pool of applicants, our visiting scholars come from throughout the world—from Europe, Israel, Turkey, and North America—and represent a range of different disciplines, including history, literary studies, anthropology, and ethnomusicology. Their research encompasses North Africa, the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, Anatolia, and Central and South Asia, and addresses both religious and secular dimensions of Jewish culture as it has developed in these areas. Read more about this year's cohort here.


Coming Soon: New Website!


The Katz Center is currently in the process of designing a new website. We are excited to launch in the fall of 2018 and to introduce site visitors to our new look, increased functionality, and a range of fresh content.

Check back soon for the new Katz Center web experience! 









Advanced Summer School 2018: Out of This World // CAJS Blog


This past month, the Katz Center hosted the annual Advanced Summer School for Graduate Students in Jewish Studies. Co-presented with the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the program brought both students and faculty from around the world to 420 Walnut Street for a week-long learning experience on...


Read more on the CAJS blog.

A New MOOC Celebrates Jewish Manuscripts


The Katz Center and the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies (SIMS) announce the June 5 launch of a video mini-course exploring a fascinating 17th-century manuscript. It is taught by the 2017–18 SIMS-Katz Distinguished Fellow in Jewish Manuscript Studies, Alessandro Guetta (Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales, Paris), and is called:

The Tabernacle in Word & Image: An Italian Jewish Manuscript Revealed

In it Professor Guetta introduces Malkiel Ashkenazi’s Tavnit ha-mishkan and Hanukat ha-bayit (CAJS Rar Ms 460), a detailed commentary on the construction and implements of the biblical Tabernacle...


Read more on the CAJS Blog.

Interviews with Fellows


In a pair of interviews, director Steve Weitzman chats with fellows Agata Paluch and Julia Watts Belser, learning what compels their scholarship, how their time at the Center has affected their work, and what they see on the horizon. Click here to read Watts Belser's interview about the Talmud, disability studies, and environmental humanities, and click here to read Paluch's interview about the literature of early modern practical kabbalah of East-Central Europe. 


Read more on the CAJS Blog.

New Library Acquisitions


Rabbi Michael Strassfeld Collection

The Penn Libraries and its Judaica collections are honored to accept the landmark donation of Rabbi Michael Strassfeld's personal papers and Jewish sound recording collection. Taken together, the collection comprises forty-five linear feet of primary source materials for studying American Judaism and Jewish culture since the 1960s. Rabbi Strassfeld, now Rabbi Emeritus of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, and formerly rabbi of Congregation Ansche Chesed in New York City, was one of the leaders of the Jewish Counter-Culture movement which over the last half-century has pioneered dynamic new forms of Jewish life beyond the denominational structures of American Judaism. Rabbi Strassfeld was one of the key leaders of the Havurah movement, co-author of the Jewish Catalog - what has been called the “Bible” of Jewish Counter Culture, editor of the original version of the "Passover Haggadah: The Feast of Freedom," and author of several other works, including Shabbat Haggadah for Celebration and Study (1980), The Jewish Holidays: A Guide and Commentary (1985), A Night of Questions, a Passover Haggadah with Rabbi Joy Levitt (2000), and a A Book of Life: Embracing Judaism as a Spiritual Practice (2002).