Jewish Affordable Housing Projects in Late Tsarist Russia: Urban Housing, Public Health, and Communal Responsibility

As New York City became the epicenter of the Coronavirus outbreak, observers noted that cities have long been viewed as bastions of disease. In particular, as the industrial revolution led to rapid urbanization in the nineteenth century reformers sought ways to mitigate the public health problems created by overcrowded living conditions and lack of sanitation. Among the questions they asked: how could urban housing for the working class be improved and who was responsible for improving it?

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.

Katz Center Fellow Jacqueline Vayntrub on the Revitalization of Philology, Biblical Poetics, and Generational Dynamics in Biblical Authorship

Steven P. Weitzman (SPW): It’s a distinctive pleasure to have this chance to ask you a few questions about your work because you and I have tackled some overlapping areas in our research and share some interpretive sensibilities, and yet you think in ways that go beyond the limits of my thinking. I appreciate having my mind challenged and opened in that way.

Katz Center Fellow Keren Friedman-Peleg on Exploring the Socio-Political Dynamic of the Clinical Labels of Trauma and PTSD in Israel

Steven Weitzman sits down with current fellow Keren Friedman-Peleg, a medical and psychological anthropologist whose research combines clinical questions of security-related trauma diagnosis, treatment, and prevention with socio-political questions of national belonging and inequality.

Katz Center Fellow Joshua Teplitsky on Early Modern Jewish History, David Oppenheim, and Insatiable Bibliophilia

Steven Weitzman sits down with current fellow Joshua Teplitsky to learn about his research into the place of books not only in the movement and dynamism of Jewish knowledge in early modern Europe, but also their role in the circulation of social prestige, access, and capital.

When Jews Lived in Castles

Like many children, I owned a toy castle and spent a lot of time defeating evil dragons with plastic knights and celebrating splendorous court festivities. My fascination with castles persists, which is why I take every opportunity to visit noble aristocratic estates and ruined walls surrounded by moats.