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.

New Faces at the Katz Center

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!

In Memory of Samuel Klausner

We are very saddened to report the passing of Professor Samuel Klausner, a founding member of Penn's Jewish Studies Program, a long-time participant in Katz Center activities who remained actively engaged in the Center until just before the onset of the pandemic and who, together with his spouse Professor Roberta Sands, created a fellowship that supported several scholars during the Katz Center fellowship year devoted to Jewish life in modern Islamic contexts.  Professor Klausner was an exemplary social-scientist, and through his questions during the Center

Carol Zemel z”l

Dr. Carol Zemel passed away peacefully, in her 80th year, at Elizabeth Bruyere Hospital in Ottawa.

Dr. Zemel is the daughter of Joseph W. Moscovitch and Beatrice (nee Rebecca) Greenblatt, both previously deceased.

She is survived by her brother Jack Grant, her sister-in-law Suzanne Wicks Grant, and her niece Rebecca Alexandra Grant.

Dr. Zemel was born in Montreal, and lived variously in New York City, Philadelphia, Buffalo and Toronto.

Spectacular New Acquisition: A Pair of 18th Century American Jewish Portrait Paintings

Thanks to the extraordinary generosity and vision of Arnold and Deanne Kaplan, the Penn Libraries have acquired a pair of 18th-century oil portraits of Moses Michael Hays, arguably the most prominent Jewish merchant of the time, and his wife Rachel Myers Hays, the daughter of the outstanding colonial Jewish silversmith (Myer Myers). These paintings are attributed to Gilbert Stuart, renowned for his unfinished painting of George Washington, which appears on the one dollar bill!