What is the Meaning of Home?

September 17, 2019

“Home” signifies where you’re from and where you’ll end up; it is a place in the world and a space into which you retreat from the world. Home is a setting for sustenance, where family, food, and rest are centered. It can also be a site of growth, self-fashioning and self-display—and, often, of deeply rooted conflict.

How, then, are all of these dimensions of the domestic inflected by Jewishness? How have Jewish history and culture been experienced in this most formative and intimate of contexts?

These are the themes being explored by Katz Center research fellows this year. Scholars from around the world are studying and talking about topics ranging from Israeli architecture to medieval household demons, from the laws of squatting to rabbinic views of kinship to Freud’s home décor. Their projects treat the Jewish home, real and idealized, past and present.

There will be many opportunities to discover what the fellows are up to and learn with them about the Jewish home. For fellow scholars and grad students, the weekly Ruth Meltzer Seminars and semi-annual conferences offer a chance to engage ideas and collectively advance the field. For the campus community, we have a number of high-level talks and discussions planned.

We’ll also be holding targeted programs designed to give the fruits of academic labor a broader platform through the intermediation of rabbis and teachers, and featuring Q+A and commentary by fellows here on the Katz Center blog.

And, as always, we will have a full roster of events for adult learners. These public programs, open to all comers, combine expertise with lively engagement to highlight relevant topics and delve into lesser-known areas of Jewish history and culture. Check out the full schedule here.