"Jews, Christians, and Hebraic Scholarship in Early Modern Europe" A Folger Institute and Katz Center Symposium, Monday, March 17, 2014
We are thrilled to announce a collaboration between the Katz Center and the Folger Institute in Washington, DC. The Folger Institute will host a one day spring symposium that will bring selected Institute participants into conversation with the Center’s fellows on issues of social, cultural, and religious change in early modern Jewish history that are the focus of the Katz Center’s 2013-14 fellowship program. Case studies for discussion will draw from Folger holdings.
Cristobal Mendes, alias Abraham Franco Silveira: The Puzzling Saga of a Seventeenth-Century Converso
Christobal Mendes, alias Abraham Franco Silveria: The Puzzling Saga of a Seventeenth-Century Converso
Yosef Kaplan, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
With a response by Roger Chartier, University of Pennsylvania/College de France
Wednesday, February 5, 2014, saw the Seventeenth Annual Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Lecture in Judaic Studies. Yosef Kaplan, Professor Emeritus of History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, focused on an episode in the life of a seventeenth-century Portuguese Converso, Cristobal Mendes, alias Abraham Franco Silveira, whose peregrinations and adventures placed him in contact with some of the most important centers of the Judeo-converso diaspora. Kaplan’s analysis of this colorful microhistory was itself a historiographical journey of the Western Sephardic Diaspora in the Early Modern Period.
The lecture was followed by a response by Prof. Roger Chartier (University of Pennsylvania/Collège de France).
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.
David Ruderman was recently featured in two stories: Click here to link to see an extensive video/story on the European news channel Jewish News One (JN1), and you can click here to hear Prof. Ruderman talk about his time at the University Centre Saint-Ignatius Antwerp (UCSIA), where he was invited to lecture.
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!
The Katz Center library is pleased to announce the acquisition in December of 2011 of a marriage contract (ketubah) from Ruse, Bulgaria (1831).
The ketubah in black ink and watercolor is written in Aramaic and Hebrew Sephardic semi-cursive script, on thick paper. It features an Italianate and Islamic-influenced double-arch design with colorful floral and geometric patterns in the supporting columns and vines along scalloping. The text has three paragraphs: standard ketubah text in the right arch, conditions and bride’s dowry in the left arch. Two verses from Proverbs (19:14, 18:22) are enclosed in the arches and cross beam.
The wedding took place on Mon. 10 Marḥeshvan, 5592 [October 17, 1831] in the city of Oroniḳ, today the town of Ruse, on the River Ṭuna, known as the Danube River. The groom is Aharon beha-r. Mosheh ha-m. Mirḳado H.y.ṿ. ben ha-n. u-m. beha-r. Mosheh b. Efrayim H.y.ṿ. The bride is Biliya t.m. de-miḳre Bekhorah t.m. bat ha-manoaḥ Ḥayim Daniyel di Leʼon ha-m. Parisiʼado. Witness signatures are illegible.
This piece was acquired for the Penn Libraries with assistance from the Elis & Ruth Douer Term Fund Elis and Ruth Douer Endowment for Sephardic Culture.