A Hebrew Schoolteacher’s Notebook and Other Rare Manuscripts

A number of fascinating manuscripts have been cataloged recently in Penn Libraries’ rare Judaica holdings, ranging from legal documents to a personal notebook. Here are some highlights.

Two of the recently cataloged manuscripts come from the former collection of Yosef Goldman (1942–2015). Goldman was a Hungarian scholar of American Judaica, a Judaica collector, and coauthor with Ari Kinsberg of Hebrew Printing in America, 1735–1926, A History and Annotated Bibliography (Brooklyn, 2006).

Penn Alumni Gift of Historic Jewish Marriage Contracts to Penn’s Judaica Collections

On December 21, 2022, Penn’s Judaica collections received a magnificent gift of twenty-seven historic ketubot (Jewish marriage contracts) from Penn alumni Joseph T. Moldovan, C’76 and Susan Alkalay Moldovan, C’76.  The donation features twenty-five handwritten and two printed ketubot, dating from 1678 to 1946, originating in Persia, Gibraltar, Italy, Morocco, Ottoman Palestine, Holland, Tsarist Russia, the U.S., the Kingdom of Poland, Yemen, and British Mandate Palestine. Accompanying the gift are detailed descriptions of each ketubah and high-resolution TIFF images.

Online Teaching Resources

In curating and presenting lectures in Jewish studies to audiences beyond academia, the Katz Center fulfills several aims. One crucial one is to showcase the vibrancy of current research and the inherent interest of the areas of culture and history in which Jewish studies scholars are expert. In an era of diminishing support for humanities scholarship, the warm reception our talks—accessible but not simplified—have received speaks to a real appetite outside of the university for knowledge and ideas at a high level.

The Katz Center announces the 2021–2022 fellows, on the theme Rethinking Premodern Jewish Legal Cultures

It is with tremendous excitement that we announce the incoming fellows for the 2021–2022 academic year, focusing on the theme of Rethinking Premodern Jewish Legal Cultures. These scholars bring expertise in law, drawing on a range of methodologies and evidence bases, and covering space and time from ancient Mesopotamia though medieval Sefarad and early modern Germany. Chosen from a particularly competitive pool of applicants, the incoming fellows hail from Israel, Western Europe, Brazil, Canada, and the US.

Jews and the America to Come

The year 2020 has been a transformative one for American society, but what is America becoming? And what role do Jews play in the changes underway?

Even as the country struggles with a pandemic and massive unemployment, many Americans have at the same time been newly awakened to racial injustice and economic inequality. Much of the change now underway has been tragic; some of it is hopeful; and the combination may yet produce a very different America.

Staff Book Recommendations

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.