Katz Center News

 


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."

Published by Princeton University Press in 2017, The Origin of the Jews has been gathering praise for months. Publishers Weekly called it a “multicourse intellectual feast” and Kirkus Reviews described it as “an accomplishment for the academy.” 

Weitzman will be giving a talk on the book in March with a reception to celebrate the publication immediately following his presentation. Click here to learn more.


Remembering Appelfeld // Nili Gold // JQR blog

 

The Israeli author Aharon Appelfeld died on Thursday, January 4th. One of the most important authors of the twentieth century, his works reached far and wide, translated into dozens of languages. Appelfeld was among the founders of Israeli literature, one of...

 

Read more on the JQR Blog


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 2017-2018 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. 

2017-2018 Fellows [pdf] | Press Release [pdf]

These distinguished scholars will explore the theories, institutions, and paradigms that have shaped Jewish perspectives on nature, and the cultural and religious consequences of those perspectives. Fellows include researchers working on particular thinkers, texts, or theories as well as those framing the subject in relation to classical, Christian, Muslim, or similar approaches. The topic spans the entirety of Jewish history, and encompasses the history of science, the anthropology of science, philosophy,  philology, and environmental studies, among other relevant fields. With this theme, the Katz Center embraces an interdisciplinary and comparative approach, seeking to better understand how Jews have understood, interacted with, or sought to intervene into nature.  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.