Panel Discussion // Science and Religion: Nature in Jewish Culture


A micrographic astrolabe created as a sukkah decoration by Israel David Luzzatto around 1775 in Trieste, Italy. According to The Jewish Museum, “micrography has been called the only original Jewish art form. This sukkah decoration is an excellent example of the art, the use of lines of miniature writing to form images. Here the text of Ecclesiastes shapes an astrolabe, an instrument used to measure the sun's altitude."Science and Religion: Nature in Jewish Culture Panel Discussion

Are science and religion inherently opposed? Do Jews have a special affinity for scientific study? A broad look at how Jews studied and understood nature before the scientific revolution may change the way you think.

Join WHYY’s Maiken Scott as she moderates a panel of experts from Penn’s Katz Center, and watch as eminent scholars reveal how Jews have interpreted—and have been defined by—the natural world in surprising ways. 


David Shyovitz, PhD, is a professor of Jewish history at Northwestern University and, as a thought leader in the field of medieval Jewish cultural hsitory, was one of the shapers of this year’s science and nature theme at the Katz Center. His book, A Remembrance of His Wonders: Nature and the Supernatural in Medieval Ashkenaz, appeared this year with Penn Press.

Debra Glasberg Gail, PhD, is an up-and-coming historian of Jewish intellectual and legal culture. She is a fellow at the Katz Center this year, fresh from a role as scholar in residence at NYU School of Law. Her work on one 18th-century figure in particular has explored the reworking of Jewish law to suit modern scientific rationalism.




Rabbi Mira Beth Wasserman, PhD, is a professor of rabbinic literature and incoming director of the Center for Jewish Ethics at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Her new book, Jews, Gentiles, and Other Animals: The Talmud after the Humanities (Penn Press), examines what it means to be a human being according to the Talmud.




Maiken Scott is the host of The Pulse, WHYY’s weekly radio program on science, health, and technology.





$8 | Free for PennCard holders. In partnership with the Gershman Y. 

Event Location: 
The Gershman Y
401 S Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19147

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Event Date and Time: 
September 18, 2017 7:00pm
Open to the public