The Haredi Moment: An Online Forum, Part 2

2020 was an especially prominent year for Haredim. The COVID-19 (Corona) crisis, together with the U.S. Presidential election, featured a much more visible and seemingly defiant public presence by Haredim and, concomitantly, brought an enormous amount of new public attention to them. This moment yielded a different face of Haredi Judaism than the quiet and sequestered enclave society of years past.

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.

National Library of Israel's Suspension of Services

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.

Knowing the Victim? Reflections on Empathy, Analogy, and Voice from the Shoah to the Present

One of the core questions of the humanities is how can we know what we know. In the field of Jewish studies, one of the sharpest formulations of this fundamental epistemological question arises in the study of the Holocaust. Is it the case, as Elie Wiesel famously declared, that only survivors can really know what took place in concentration and death camps? Some scholars have flipped this question and asked whether survivor testimony can be deemed sufficiently reliable for historical reconstruction, especially on its own.

A Message from the Director: Troubles at the Heart of Democracy

It has always been a source of pride for the Katz Center that it is located so close to the birthplace of American democracy. That democracy is now having to reckon with many painful issues at the same time—racism, violence, and people’s distrust of a government that is meant to represent and serve them—and that too is now manifest in the Center’s immediate environs, in different kinds of loss being experienced by people who live and work very close to home for us.

Outside In: Fellows Write from and about Home

The Katz Center fellowship is a residential one, meaning that its central aim is to bring people together to work physically side by side for extended periods, with fellows making temporary homes in Philadelphia. With the arrival of COVID-19, this defining feature of our collective work has disappeared. Instead, under orders to shelter in place, our homes are capturing our attention in new ways. Home’s boundaries, contents, and location, its material and emotional culture, are, for the moment at least, our whole worlds.