Katz Center News

 


Library at the Katz Center Acquires Decorated Ketubbot from Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East // CAJS Blog

 

The Library at the Katz Center holds a wide range of Judaica in the form of photographs, ephemera, and, as of December 20, 2017, a collection of Jewish marriage contracts (ketubbot) from North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. These ten beautifully illustrated documents date from 1862–1931, and originate from Fez, Ancona, Izmir, Gibraltar, and...

 

 

Read more on the CAJS Blog


Katz Center Director Wins National Jewish Book Award

 

Congratulations to Katz Center Director Steven Weitzman on his National Jewish Book Award win! In the National Jewish Book Council review, Weitzman's book, The Origin of the Jews: The Quest for Roots in a Rootless Age, was described as "a joyful read for the erudite scholar and the everyday reader eager to delve into the complexity and grandeur of Jewish history and the Jewish experience."

Weitzman will be giving a talk on the book on March 22nd with a reception to celebrate the publication immediately following his presentation. 


Advanced Summer School for Graduate Students in Jewish Studies

 

Out of This World
The Supernatural in Jewish History and Culture

June 24–28, 2018 in Philadelphia

Presented by the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies in partnership with the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Advanced Summer School applications are now open. Click here to learn more


The 2017-2018 Cohort of Fellows

 

The 20172018 fellows convened in September for a year of research and discussion on the theme of Nature between Science and Religion: Jewish Culture and the Natural World. These researchers will explore the theories, institutions, and paradigms that have shaped Jewish views of nature, and the cultural and religious consequences of that engagement. Click through for more information.


New Library Acquisitions Include Early Modern Manuscripts and 20th-Century Papers

 

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).

 

Two Rare Early Modern Hebrew Manuscripts

At the Kestenbaum and Company Auction House, held in New York City on June 25, 2015, the Libraries successfully bid on two rare, early modern Hebrew manuscripts entitled Tavnit ha-mishkan and Hanukat ha-bayit. Both are written in the Italian cursive scribal hand of the author Malkiel Aschkenazi, who lived in Mantua in the early 17th century. The volumes contain numerous drawings about the construction of the mishkan (biblical tabernacle) and the bet ha-mikdash (Solomon’s Temple) and its holy vessels, such as the seven-branched candelabrum. These drawings reflect not only a concern with understanding the physical shape of these sacred buildings but also their kabbalistic interpretations.  The first of the two manuscript volumes, Tavnit ha-mishkan, remains unpublished. The second, Hanukat ha-bayit, was published only in the 1960s and contains variant readings from those found in the printed version.