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.
The Katz Center is thrilled to announce the cohort for the 2022–23 academic year, engaging the theme of Jews and Modern Legal Culture. The fellows will join us from Israel, France, Germany, Canada, and the United States, and represent a range of methodological, disciplinary, and historical specializations.
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
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.
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!