Katz Center News


December Symposium


Wednesday, December 12, 2018


Jewish history is riddled with discussions of diaspora and homeland, exile and belonging. This day-long conference will explore Jewish life in Muslim contexts within the critical analytical framework of the spatial turn. Encompassing a variety of geographies, the symposium’s four panels will search for the place of the Jew in concentric circles, including cities, homelands, states and empires; from the clatter of a coffeehouse to the policies of empire, and ultimately, to the imagined sense of self and community.

Click for full program and event details.



Fall 2018 Seminar Schedule


In 2018–2019, the Katz Center devotes its fellowship to the study of Jewish life in modern Islamic contexts. Seminars meet on Wednesdays from 3:00 to 5:00 pm, and are followed by a reception. RSVP is required. Open to all Penn and regional faculty, graduate students, and other invited guests. Please email kschn@upenn.edu to register and receive precirculated readings.

Click here to view the full schedule.

Interested in learning more about our fellows? Selected from a large and highly competitive pool of applicants, our visiting scholars come from throughout the world—from Europe, Israel, Turkey, and North America—and represent a range of different disciplines, including history, literary studies, anthropology, and ethnomusicology. Their research encompasses North Africa, the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, Anatolia, and Central and South Asia, and addresses both religious and secular dimensions of Jewish culture as it has developed in these areas. Read more about this year's cohort here.

A New MOOC Celebrates Jewish Manuscripts


The Katz Center and the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies (SIMS) announce the June 5 launch of a video mini-course exploring a fascinating 17th-century manuscript. It is taught by the 2017–18 SIMS-Katz Distinguished Fellow in Jewish Manuscript Studies, Alessandro Guetta (Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales, Paris), and is called:

The Tabernacle in Word & Image: An Italian Jewish Manuscript Revealed

In it Professor Guetta introduces Malkiel Ashkenazi’s Tavnit ha-mishkan and Hanukat ha-bayit (CAJS Rar Ms 460), a detailed commentary on the construction and implements of the biblical Tabernacle...


Read more on the CAJS Blog.

New Library Acquisitions


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).