As the University of Pennsylvania and the Katz Center transition back to in-person life and navigate the new challenges posed by the Delta variant, we ask all people entering the Katz Center building to abide by the following guidelines for their own safety, and for the safety of others. These rules may be updated in light of the evolving public health situation.
In the spirit of these difficult times, we would like to highlight two special acquisitions that reflect the possibility of overcoming trauma and rebuilding lives. Thanks to the Mark S. Zucker Judaica Endowment, established by Katz Center board member Mark Zucker, we acquired the first edition of Viktor Frankl’s Trotzdem Ja Zum Leben Sagen [“Say yes to Life”] (Vienna: Franz Deuticke Verlag, 1946).
The University of Pennsylvania Libraries is pleased to announce that Emily Esten has been named the inaugural Arnold and Deanne Kaplan Collection of Early American Judaica Curator of Digital Humanities.
We are delighted to announce that Ilan Stavans, of Amherst College, the internationally known scholar, writer, editor, translator, playwright, cultural critic, publisher, teacher, lexicographer, columnist, journalist, travel writer, biographer, actor, TV and radio host, has donated to the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, the Ilan Stavans Collection of Jewish Latin American History, Culture, and Literature.
David M. Goldenberg, the former President of the Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning, the editor of the Jewish Quarterly Review, and the leading intellectual force who transformed the College into the Annenberg Research Institute, today known as the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at Penn, has donated his personal and administrative papers collection to the Library at the Katz Center.
One of the greatest treasures of Israel and of Jewish academic life internationally is the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem. Recently, as a result of budget cuts and the Covid-19 pandemic, the library has announced that it will suspend public services and put its 300 employees on unpaid leave as of Monday, August 17. The many services that the library provides will cease, including the lending of books and teacher training, and there is great concern for the furloughed staff members and the larger circle of employees affected by the closure.
The 2019–2020 Katz Center fellows, in partnership with the Penn Libraries, have recently launched their fellowship year web exhibition entitled: "The Jewish Home: Dwelling on the Domestic, the Familial, and the Lived-In."
Yad Aharon is a fascinating little book of poems and homilies. It was printed in Thessaloniki, Greece in the Hebrew year 5599 (1838 or 1839), and the author, Aharon Tsevi Ashkenazi, is only identified as being an elderly poet in Thessaloniki.
The Katz Center staff has been working from home for several weeks now, translating seminars into virtual meetings for fellows, planning for next year's cohort and public programs, and doing our best to nurture Judaic studies scholarship, all while social distancing.
But since we know our fellows and followers may be exploring literarily with their extra time at home, we put together a list of reading recommendations. Each staff member picked a favorite book—many quite fitting for the current moment—and has suggested that you read it.