Jewish Studies Events

Upcoming Events

  • Thursday, September 27, 2018

    Fake News! The View from Israel’s Military Occupation
     Rebecca L. Stein, Duke University department of Anthropology

    This paper studies the impact of new photographic technologies and image-sharing
    platforms on the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories. Taking its cue
    from Trumpian political discourse, I focus on the right-wing Jewish Israeli reckoning with
    the growing visual archive of Palestinian injury at Israeli state or settler hands – a
    reckoning that occurs through the discourse of “fake news,” or the charge that such images
    are fraudulent or manipulated in some regard to produce the damning portrait of Israel. I
    will trace the long colonial history of repudiation in the Israeli context, its modification in
    the digital age, and consider the ways it has become an increasingly standard right-wing
    response to images of state violence believed to damage Israel’s global standing. I will
    argue that the fraudulence charge is marshalled as a solution to the viral visibility of Israeli
    state violence -- a charge that works to bring these damning images back in line with
    dominant Israeli ideology by shifting the narrative from Palestinian injury to Israeli
    victimhood. The story of the “fake” image of Palestinian injury endeavors strip the visual
    field of its Israeli perpetrators and Palestinian victims, thereby exonerating the state. Or
    such is the fantasy.
    Time: 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
    Location: Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium

Events Archive


Ongoing Events

Hebrew Language Table, February 8, 2016–May 20, 2016
Kline, President's Room  1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Hebrew Language Table, September 5, 2016–December 22, 2016
Kline, President's Room  1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Hebrew Language Table, February 6, 2017–May 15, 2017
Kline Commons  6:30 pm – 7:30 pm


Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Big Beards on the Small Screen: Shtisel
(Israeli Television, 2013-2016)
Discussion & Snacks
Olin, Room 102  7:45 pm
Come watch Shtisel, an Israeli television drama series that follows the intersecting story-lines of a large ultra-Orthodox Jewish family living in the present-day Jerusalem, followed by comments from Yuval Elmelech (Sociology), Cecile Kuznitz (History), and Shai Secunda (Religion). Meet other Jewish Studies faculty and students, hear about spring courses, and enjoy a snack.  

Sponsored by: Hebrew; Historical Studies Program; Jewish Studies Program; Middle Eastern Studies Program; Religion Program; Sociology Program
Shai Secunda  845-758-6822
  Monday, September 12, 2016
Israel, Palestine, and Academia
Derek Penslar
Oxford, Harvard, and the University of Toronto

Olin, Room 102  4:45 pm – 6:00 pm
The Israel-Palestine conflict is highly visible and contentious in student politics. Academic teaching and research on Israel/Palestine is less visible but is a vital component of university life. This talk will illuminate the potential of what scholars do in the classroom and library to not merely replicate the Israel-Palestine conflict on campus but rather to build bridges between students with diverse disciplinary and political orientations.

Sponsored by: Historical Studies Program; Jewish Studies Program; Middle Eastern Studies Program; Rosenberg Foundation
Cecile Kuznitz  845-758-7453 
  Monday, September 12, 2016
Theodor Herzl, Race, and Empire
Derek Penslar
Oxford, Harvard, and the University of Toronto

Kline, College Room  12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
During this brown bag lunch Prof. Penslar will discuss his current research on journalistic writings by Theodor Herzl that flesh out ideas about colonialism, race, and empire. His work juxtaposes Herzl's diaries, written in private but intended for a public audience, with his journalism, which was produced for the public yet at times expressed deeply private feelings. The textual interplay reveals that Herzl was deeply embedded in fin de siècle racial and colonial discourse, thought of colonized peoples with a complex mixture of sympathy and antipathy, and held starkly divergent views about Africa and the Orient.

Sponsored by: Historical Studies Program; Jewish Studies Program; Middle Eastern Studies Program; Rosenberg Foundation
Cecile Kuznitz  845-758-7453 
Sunday, May 15, 2016
Misah Ivrit: A Hebrew Mass and the Intersection of Worlds
Olin Hall  8:00 pm
World premiere of Noach Lundgren's Misah Ivrit. An unprecedented approach to the Mass, yet one deeply rooted in it's origins, Misah Ivrit presents a full setting of the Mass text in Biblical and Modern Hebrew, along with supplemental texts taken from Jewish liturgy.

Conducted by
Noach Lundgren

Performed by
Students of Bard College and Conservatory, Bard alumni, and members of the area community

Preceded by new solo music performed by the composer and a guest appearance by local trio Waterdove.


Noach Lundgren
  Monday, May 9, 2016
"Study, Stemma, and Society: Rabbinic Scholasticism, the Family, and the Making of Judaism in Sasanian Iran"
Olin, Room 202  6:00 pm
Shai Secunda
The Martin Buber Society of Fellows
Mandel School for Advanced Studies in the Humanities
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Sponsored by: Dean of the College; Religion Program
Bruce Chilton  845-758-7335
  Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Budapest’s Galician October: Hungarian Jews and the World War I Jewish Refugee Crisis
Rebekah Klein-Pejšová '94
Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies at Purdue University

Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium  5:00 pm
It is not difficult for us to imagine the sight of Budapest’s railway stations crowded with refugees after the summer of 2015. One hundred and one years earlier, in the early days of the First World War, Budapest’s train stations served as sites from which Galician Jewish refugees were sent to Vienna in transports arranged and financed by the Budapest Jewish Community. This talk probes why the Budapest Jewish community cooperated with the Hungarian wartime administration in clearing Austrian – that is, Galician Jewish – refugees from Hungarian territory, against a backdrop of the wider Hungarian Jewish response to the Jewish refugee crisis in Austria-Hungary. It offers insight into the often hasty and improvisational nature of wartime refugee assistance during the first mass civilian displacement crisis of the twentieth century.

Rebekah Klein-Pejšová, a 1994 graduate of Bard College, is the author of Mapping Jewish Loyalties in Interwar Slovakia (Indiana University Press, 2015).

Sponsored by: Historical Studies Program; Jewish Studies Program; Office of Alumni/ae Affairs
Cecile Kuznitz  845-758-7543
  Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Campus Center, Weis Cinema  6:00 pm

Featuring a new documentary called Oriented. The film is about the sexual and political identity struggle of three homosexual Palestinians living in Tel Aviv.

The film will be followed by a discussion led by Robert Weston of Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Sponsored by: Gender and Sexuality Studies Program; Jewish Studies Program; Muslim Student Organization
Robert Weston
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Celebrating the Complete Works of Primo Levi
A conversation with award-winning translators Ann Goldstein (New Yorker) Michael F. Moore (PEN/Heim Translation Fund)
Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium  6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Moderated by Prof. Franco Baldasso
Introduction by Prof. Cecile Kuznitz
Toni Morrison described Primo Levi’s writing as a “triumph of human identity and worth over the pathology of human destruction.” Levi is the distinguished author of decisive books such as If This Is a Man, and The Periodic Table. For the first time the entire oeuvre of the most acclaimed Holocaust survivor is available in English, after a seven-year collective endeavor led by Ann Goldstein, New Yorker editor and celebrated translator of Elena Ferrante and Jhumpa Lahiri. Together with Goldstein, the event will feature Michael F. Moore, a most accomplished translator from Italian and UN interpreter.

For more information on Goldstein and the Complete Works of Primo Levi, view interview: HERE

Primo Levi,  (born July 31, 1919, TurinItaly

died April 11, 1987, Turin), Italian-Jewish writer and chemist, noted for his restrained and moving autobiographical account of and reflections on survival in the Nazi concentration camps. Levi was brought up in the small Jewish community in Turin, studied at theUniversity of Turin, and graduated summa cum laude in chemistry in 1941. Two years later he joined friends in northern Italy in an attempt to connect with a resistance movement, but he was captured and sent to Auschwitz. While there, Levi worked as a slave labourer for an I.G. Farbenindustrie synthetic-rubber factory. Upon the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviets in 1945, Levi returned to Turin, where in 1961 he became the general manager of a factory producing paints, enamels, and synthetic resins; the association was to last some 30 years.
Levi’s first book, If This Is a Man, or Survival in Auschwitz), demonstrated extraordinary qualities of humanity and detachment in its analysis of the atrocities he had witnessed. His later autobiographical works, La tregua (1963; The Truce, or The Reawakening) and I sommersi e i salvati (1986; The Drowned and the Saved), are further reflections on his wartime experiences. Il sistema periodico (1975; The Periodic Table) is a collection of 21 meditations, each named for a chemical element, on the analogies between the physical, chemical, and moral spheres; of all of Levi’s works, it is probably his greatest critical and popular success. He also wrote poetry, novels, and short stories. His 1987 death was apparently a suicide.

Sponsors: Italian Studies, Jewish Studies, and the Hannah Arendt Center

March 8, 6:00pm
RKC 103 - Laszlo Z. Bito ‘60 Auditorium
Free & Open to the Public!
Sponsored by: Hannah Arendt Center; Italian Studies Program; Jewish Studies Program; Written Arts Program
Franco Baldasso
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Joyce Dalsheim: Cultural Anthropologist Researching Nationalism, Religion, and the Israel/Palestine Conflict
On Goat Surveillance and the False Promises of Sovereignty
Arendt Center  1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Please join us for a Lunchtime Talk with Joyce Dalsheim on Tuesday, March, at 1:30 pm at the Hannah Arendt Center, Seminar Room (first floor).

Sponsored by: The Hannah Arendt Center, Human Rights Project, Jewish Studies, and Middle Eastern Studies

On Goat Surveillance and the False Promises of Sovereignty: In her critique of the Rights of Man, Hannah Arendt analyzed the problem of the “abstract” human being who was nowhere to be found. If Arendt’s political analyses stemmed from her grappling with the Jewish Question and the problems of minorities or stateless people, this talk takes a different turn. Rather than considering the outcomes of the Rights of Man for subaltern groups or refugees, this talk follows the transformation of the Jewish Question when Jews themselves are no longer a minority, but sovereign citizens in their own ethno-national state. It considers some of the many ways in which Israeli Jews struggle to be Jewish—from conversion and keeping kosher to the everyday surveillance of goats—suggesting that popular sovereignty might not be liberating in the ways we imagine.BIO: Joyce Dalsheim is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Global, International and Area Studies at UNC-Charlotte. She is a cultural anthropologist who studies nationalism, religion and the secular, and conflict in Israel/Palestine. She earned her her doctorate from the New School for Social Research, and has taught at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, and Wake Forest University. In 2005, she held the Rockefeller Fellowship at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.Dalsheim’s first book, Unsettling Gaza: Secular Liberalism, Radical Religion, and the Israeli Settlement Project (Oxford 2011), is an ethnographic study that takes a ground-breaking approach to one of the most contentious issues in the Middle East: the Israeli settlement project. Her second book, Producing Spoilers: Peacemaking and Production of Enmity in a Secular Age, analyzes the ways in which peacemaking can actually work to produce enmity. 

R.s.v.p. to
Light Refreshments will be served
Free & Open to the Public

Sponsored by: Hannah Arendt Center; Human Rights Program; Jewish Studies Program; Middle Eastern Studies Program
The Hannah Arendt Center
  Thursday, March 3, 2016
"From Apostle to Apostate & Rabbi to Rebel: Jewish Perspectives on Paul"
Hegeman 204  5:30 pm
Allan Nadler
Professor of Religion
Drew University

Sponsored by: Dean of the College; Religion Program
Bruce Chilton  845-758-7335
  Thursday, February 18, 2016
"Judaism and Christianity through the Lens of the Other: Martin Buber on Jesus and the Baal Shem Tov"
Hegeman 204  5:30 pm
Shaul Magid
Professor of Religious Studies,
Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Sponsored by: Dean of the College; Religion Program
Bruce Chilton  845-758-7335
  Tuesday, February 16, 2016
"Heidegger and the Kabbalah: Hidden Gnosis and the Path of Poiesis"
Olin, Room 203  5:30 pm
Elliott R. Wolfson
Distinguished Professor of Religion
University of California, Santa BarbaraMartin Heidegger (1889-1976) powerfully transformed the philosophical landscape in the twentieth century and exercised an inordinate influence on a wide variety of other disciplines. His personal shortcomings and ethical transgressions attested in his explicit complicity with National Socialism are well known and cannot be easily justified or dismissed as miscalculations based on inadequate knowledge or lack of savvy. In spite of Heidegger’s explicit anti-Judaism and his deplorable political judgment vis-à-vis Jews, there are themes in Heidegger’s oeuvre that bear a striking affinity to and can be utilized philosophically to elucidate the phenomenological aspects of kabbalistic esotericism and hermeneutics. My lecture will explore three Heideggerian themes that can be profitably compared and contrasted with some rudimentary tenets of the kabbalah: the depiction of truth as the unconcealedness of the concealment; the construal of language as the house of being within which all beings are disclosed in the nothingness of their being; and the understanding of the origin of timespace arising from an inceptual act that is, concomitantly, a contraction and an expansion, a withholding of the boundless ground that results in the self-extending delineation of boundary. The comparative analysis of Heidegger and kabbalah is justified hermeneutically by the principle that things belong together precisely because of the unbridgeable chasm that keeps them separate: what is the same is the same in virtue of being different.

Sponsored by: Dean of the College; Religion Program
Bruce Chilton  845-758-7335