Advanced Summer School for Graduate Students in Jewish Studies

New Beginnings

University of Antwerp, July 10July 14, 2023

Registration is closed.

The Institute of Jewish Studies at the University of Antwerp, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School for the Advanced Study in the Humanities at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania announce a summer program for graduate students in Jewish studies.

The theme NEW BEGINNINGS will bring together scholars and students from various fields and disciplines within Jewish Studies to reflect on beginnings and new beginnings as they relate to Jewish studies, including the study of history, politics, thought and culture.

Graduate students at any institution worldwide, in any subfield of Jewish studies, past or present, are eligible to apply. The summer school will take place the week before the EAJS Congress that will be held in Frankfurt – less than a four hour train ride from Antwerp.

The week will investigate how Jews and Judaism conceptualized, experienced, imagined, celebrated, but also warded off the possibilities and limitations, promises and dangers of beginning anew. We will explore conceptual questions (What is a beginning? What is a new beginning? How do beginnings relate to ends?), historical questions (the effort to create new beginnings through and in the aftermath of migration and revolution), normative questions (when are new beginnings legitimate, or even required?), legal questions (how does the law, secular and religious, relate to starting afresh?), cultural questions (the effects of technical innovation such as the invention of print), and familial/personal expressions (conversion, birth, new beginnings as a literary and artistic theme).

The week will also give participants an opportunity to think about the beginnings of their own scholarly careers with professionalization sessions and opportunities for dissertating students to share research.


Vivian Liska (University of Antwerp)

Aaron Segal (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Steven Weitzman (University of Pennsylvania)

Summer School Faculty Members

Leora Batnitzky (Princeton University)

Theodor Dunkelgrün (University of Cambridge)

Ruth Kara-Ivanov Kaniel (University of Haifa)

Ilana Pardes (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Michal Kravel Tovi (Tel-Aviv University)

Alana Vincent (Umeå University)

About the Summer School

The Katz Center, together with the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Institute of Jewish Studies at the University of Antwerp, co-organizes an annual Summer School for advanced graduate students. Guided by leading scholars of Jewish studies from around the world, the Summer School is interdisciplinary and extends into all periods of Jewish history.

The Summer School is a week-long intensive course rotating between the United States, Israel, and Europe. Meant to promote a sense of intellectual community among scholars and graduate students, the program welcomes participants from any institution, in any subfield of Jewish studies, past or present, and focuses on a unique theme each year.

The Katz Center is able to host the Summer School every third year thanks to the generous support of Dr. Garry Rayant and Dr. Kathy Fields-Rayant.

Past Summer School Themes

Jerusalem 2019

Secrets and Lies: Truth, Evidence, and Deception in Jewish History and Culture

Philadelphia 2018

Out of this World: The Supernatural in Jewish History and Culture

Jerusalem 2017

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

Philadelphia 2016

Shaking Foundations

Jerusalem 2015

Jews on the Move: Translocation, Transmissions, and Transformations in Jewish Culture