The Katz Center and the School of Arts and Sciences of the University of Pennsylvania are delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Steven Weitzman as the new Ella Darivoff Director of the Katz Center, beginning July 1, 2014.
Steve is a widely respected scholar of the Hebrew Bible and early Judaism, who received his B.A. from UC Berkeley and his Ph.D. from Harvard University. He is currently the Daniel E. Koshland Professor of Jewish Culture and Religion at Stanford University, and director of Stanford’s Taube Center for Jewish Studies. At Penn, in addition to being the Ella Darivoff Director, he will serve as the Abraham M. Ellis Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages and Literatures in the Department of Religious Studies.
Steve is an adventurous and creative intellect who is a perfect fit for the Center; he will lead the Center into its next chapter with energy and vision, while remaining true to what has made the Center so successful in its first two decades at Penn under the leadership of David Ruderman.
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 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.
The chairman of our Board of Overseers, Thomas O. Katz, has been profiled in the Fall/Winter 2013 issue of Penn's Arts and Sciences Magazine. Click here to read the full article in which Tom talks about his relationship to the center and the importance of continuing the legacy of his father, Herbert D. Katz.
We are thrilled to announce that three past fellows have just won the 2013 Israel Prize: Yosef Kaplan was honored in the category of the study of the history of Israel, Chava Turniansky of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem won the prize for the study of Jewish languages and literature, and Yoram Bilu was honored in the field of sociology and anthropology. In the ceremony on Independence day (April 16, 2013), Israel's Education Minister Shai Piron said: “Society is measured by the importance of its intellectuals and leaders.” We could not agree more. Mazal tov to all three!