Katz Center News

 


Editorial Announcement, 1910 & 2017// JQR blog


Editorial Announcement, 1910 & 2017


When they launched the Jewish Quarterly Review in the United States in 1910, Cyrus Adler and Solomon Schechter, its formidable new editors, felt they were not merely transporting a British journal across the ocean, but were remaking it—taking the opportunity to translate the journal’s mission for a new land. They rejected localism and theology both, and embraced the Jewish historical tradition and bold scholarship as essential to the horizon of human experience and universal knowledge. They wrote a brief editorial introduction to the first number in the new series. In this excerpt from it, we find a set of ideas, “America,” “science,” “learning,” which seem in hindsight to have been admirably transparent to their readers. Each of these words—and Judaism’s imbrication with them—is contested now in ways not imaginable to these authors.


The Editors felt it… their duty to supply the need [for broad meaningful scholarship], as America is fast becoming the center of Jewry, and in all likelihood will become also the center of Jewish learning in the English world. It would be anomalous if, in the face of this great present growth, the past with its glories and its sacrifices, its ideals and achievements, its lessons and its inspirations, were not offered the opportunity of that articulate utterance which can be given to it only through the mouth of science and scholarship.

Cyrus Adler and S. Schechter, “Editorial Announcement,” JQR 1.1 new series (1910), pp. 3–4.

The current editors share this aim, and the dual investment in the American context and the drivefor relevance in historical research animates editor David N. Myers most of all. We are delighted that David has been appointed the new President and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Jewish History in New York. No historian is better suited to the task, with his eye toward the future and commitment to the moral imperatives of scholarship—especially in America, and especially now in the 21st century.

NBD

New Issue of the Jewish Quarterly Review // JQR Blog

 

The latest issue of JQR, 107.2 (Spring 2017), is now available in print and online at Project Muse.

ARTICLES: 

A Mechanism for Change in Traditional Culture: A Case Study from the Judicial Jewish Codes of the Geonic Period

Zvi Stampfer

Gnats, Fleas, Flies, and a Camel: A Case Study in the Reception of Genesis Rabbah

Benjamin Williams

Early Modern Yiddish and the Jewish Volkskunde, 1880–1938

Aya Elyada

Chalom and ‘Abdu Get Married: Jewishness and Egyptianness in the Films of Togo Mizrahi (*available for free download)

Deborah Starr

NOTE:

From the Files of the Portuguese Inquisition: Isaac de Castro Tartas’s Latin Ego-Document, 1645

Miriam Bodian and Ide François

REVIEW ESSAY:

Sacred and Suggestive: The Many Faces of Medieval Hebrew Poetry from Spain

Adena Tanenbaum

More information and subscription at jqr.pennpress.org.

Announcing the 2017-2018 Cohort of Fellows

 

We are pleased to welcome the new cohort of fellows for the 2017-2018 academic year. They will convene 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


Just Out: Entangled Histories

 

Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies

Announcing the publication of Entangled Histories: Knowledge, Authority, and Jewish Culture in the Thirteenth Century, edited by Elisheva Baumgarten, Ruth Mazo Karras, and Katelyn Mesler, published by Penn Press in association with the Katz Center (Jewish Cultures and Contexts Series), 2016

 

This volume is the result of the scholarship carried out here under the 2012-2013 fellowship theme Institutionalization, Innovation, and Conflict in 13th-Century Judaism: A Comparative View.

From halakhic innovation to blood libels, from the establishment of new mendicant orders to the institutionalization of Islamicate bureaucracy, and from the development of the inquisitorial process to the rise of yeshivas, universities, and madrasas, the long thirteenth century saw a profusion of political, cultural, and intellectual changes in Europe and the Mediterranean basin. These were informed by, and in turn informed, the religious communities from which they arose. In city streets and government buildings, Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived, worked, and disputed with one another, sharing and shaping their respective cultures in the process. The interaction born of these relationships between minority and majority cultures, from love and friendship to hostility and violence, can be described as a complex and irreducible "entanglement." The contributors to Entangled Histories: Knowledge, Authority, and Jewish Culture in the Thirteenth Century argue that this admixture of persecution and cooperation was at the foundation of Jewish experience in the Middle Ages... continue reading

Contributors: Elisheva Baumgarten, Piero Capelli, Mordechai Z. Cohen, Judah Galinsky, Elisabeth Hollender, Kati Ihnat, Ephraim Kanarfogel, Katelyn Mesler, Ruth Mazo Karras, Sarah J. Pearce, Rami Reiner, Yossef Schwartz, Uri Shachar, Rebecca Winer, Luke Yarbrough

The Katz Center congratulates the editors and contributors, with shared appreciation for all of the fellows who participated in this fellowship year.


The PLO and the Pittsburgh Platform // Jonathan Gribetz // JQR blog

posted February 26 2017

What makes someone Jewish and who gets to decide? These questions divide Jews in the Diaspora from those in Israel and divide Jews from one another everywhere. While there is no Jewish consensus on the definition of the Jews or on who has the right to decide, most Jews, I suspect, are united in this conviction: non-Jews (that is, people who make no claim to being Jewish themselves) have no business participating in this debate. All the more so when those non-Jews are regarded as hostile to Jewish interests. So when they confront the Palestine Liberation Organization’s declaration in its founding charter of 1964 that “Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong,” Jews tend not only to underscore the self-serving nature of those lines but also to protest reflexively and adamantly: Who are the Palestinians to tell us Jews what Judaism is and what makes us Jews?! (Some also add—apparently without recognizing the irony—that there is no such thing as a “Palestinian” anyway, as they are simply Arabs.)  But what if that Palestinian definition of the Jews and Judaism were actually a (not the but a) Jewish definition? How might the PLO charter be understood differently if we were to see German and American Reform rabbis, rather than Palestinian militants, behind the definition of the Jews and Judaism that the Palestinian charter espoused?

Jonathan Gribetz

Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies and the Program in Judaic Studies, Princeton University

Katz Center Fellow, 2009-2010, Secularism and Its Discontents: Rethinking an Organizing Principle of Modern Jewish Life

Read Jonathan Gribetz's fascinating history of the PLO's explorations and use of Reform Judaism in his essay "The PLO's Rabbi: Palestinian Nationalism and Reform Judaism" in JQR 107.1 (Winter 2017). On newsstands now.  

Announcing the 2017 Advanced Summer School for Graduate Students in Jewish Studies

 

Personal/Interpersonal: I, We, and You in Jewish Culture and History

This ongoing Katz Center partnership with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem alternates between Philadelphia and Jerusalem each year. It brings together faculty and graduate students from diverse fields and institutions for a week of intensive teaching and learning. This year's theme will explore the place of individuals and the relationships between individuals in Jewish societies, past and present.

Full details, including this year's faculty, and the application portal (due March 1) are here: http://en.mandelschool.huji.ac.il/summerschool.


Fellowship Alumni Honored

 

Congratulations to past fellow Sylvie Anne Goldberg (Prescriptive Traditions and Lived Experience, 2003-2004) and Penn Hillel director (and current LEAP fellow) Mike Uram on their recognition by the Jewish Book Council.  Goldberg was a finalist for the Nahum M. Sarna Memorial Award for best book of scholarship for her Clepsydra: Essay on the Plurality of Time in Judaism (SUP). Uram won for best book on education and Jewish identity for his Next Generation Judaism: How College Students amd Hillel Can Help Reinvent Jewish Organizations.  

Fellowship alumna Eva Mroczek (Beyond Reason, 2015-2016) has won a Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise, whoch recognizes outstanding doctoral or first post-doctoral works that address the topic "God and Spirituality," broadly understood. Every year, ten scholars are selected for this honor by an international committee of evaluators from 18 countries.

The Cashmere Subvention Grant in Jewish Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies has been awarded to past fellow Natalia Aleksiun (Wissenschaft, 2014-2015) and Elissa Bemporad for their forthcoming volume, Gender and Jewish Women in Central and Eastern Europe.  

Fellowship alumnus Andrew Berns (Wissenschaft 2014-2015) has been awarded the Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize from the American Catholic Historial Association for his book, The Bible and Natural Philosophy in Renaissance Italy: Jewish and Christian Physicians in Search of Truth


Fellowship Alumni Receive Prestigious Book Awards

 

Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies
  • Julia Phillips Cohen, whom we highlighted in the Spring 2015 Newsletter for her receipt of a 2014 National Jewish Book Award, has also won a 2015 AJS Jordan Schnitzer Book Award in the Category of Modern Jewish History—Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania, as well as an honorable mention in the 2014 Salo Baron Book Prize, for Becoming Ottomans: Sephardi Jews and Imperial Citizenship in the Modern Era (Oxford University Press).

 

The Katz Center wishes a hearty congratulations to one and all.


Announcing New Online Portal for Holy Land Collections

 

Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies
Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies

We are delighted to announce the online presentation of the Penn Libraries’ Holy Land Collections.


Featured here are a wide range of special and general collections related to the Holy Land. Among the most important are the Lenkin Collection of Photography, which consists of over 5,000 early photographs of the Holy Land, dating from 1850 through 1937. This collection, described as the finest in private hands, was purchased in 2009 from the Lazard Family in Paris, thanks to the vision and generosity of Edward J. Lenkin (C'71; PAR'12).


Great thanks to the leadership of Carton Rogers, Vice-Provost and Director of the Penn Libraries and to Oren Weinberg, Director General of the National Library of Israel for supporting the digitization of the Lenkin Collection, and to Dror Wahrman, Dean of the Faculty of the Humanities and Vigevani Professor of European Studies at the Hebrew University, for the invaluable role he played conceiving and advising on this project.  We also are most grateful to Leslie Vallhonrat of the Libraries’ Web Unit, who designed the web page, and to Michael Gibny and the Libraries Technology Systems Department for developing the digital library architecture supporting the operation of this page. 


The Penn Libraries' Holy Land Collections are located on campus at the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, the Museum Library and the Library at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies.