Through a generous gift to the School of Arts & Sciences, the Goldhirsh-Yellin Foundation has established the Goldhirsh-Yellin Program Fund for the Study of Jewish History and Culture in Israel and the Goldhirsh-Yellin Program Fund for the Study of Antisemitism in the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies.
During the 2022–23 fellowship year, the Katz Center turned its attention to the study of law between the eighteenth and twenty-first centuries, an age of transition from a world of empires to the modern age of the nation-state and international law.
In March of 2023, the Katz Center was honored to inaugurate a new series in memory of Katz Center Board of Advisors member Howard Jay Reiter.
The Katz Center looks forward to a 2023–24 fellowship year devoted to the study of sound and music as a part of Jewish life, and we are delighted to announce the cohort of scholars who will join us for a year of research, conversation, and engagement with the Penn community and with the public.
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.
With Bonnie Blankenship’s retirement on December 31, 2022, the Jewish Quarterly Review loses a sustaining pillar, and the Center says farewell to the person with the longest memory of this institution, as she moves on to a life of art, books, and leisure.
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.
Since 2020, staff members Sam Cardillo, Carrie Love, Becky Friedman, and Bonnie Blankenship have moved on to wonderful new pursuits. We miss them dearly and remain indebted to them for their collective decades of service and unique contributions to the Katz Center. Rest assured that 420 Walnut Street remains hopping, as five dynamic new staff members have come on board!
Over the past year, Katz Center scholars have published an impressive array of books, representing a range of methodological, disciplinary, and historical specializations. Browse our virtual bookshelf below to learn more about this great selection of texts and the authors who produced them.
A manuscript for the Sefirah counting recently cataloged in the Alfonso Cassuto Collection dates from 1839; it was written by Salamaõ Attias for Moses Buzaglo in Ponta Delgada.