Date: Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Trayes Hall, Douglas Student Center, 100 George Street, New Brunswick
Yakir Englander, Bildner Visiting Scholar
Yakir Englander, an expert on the interface between Jewish philosophy, Jewish law, and gender studies, will present a new interpretation of the concept of traditional Jewish martyrdom, Kiddush Hashem (Sanctification of the Name of God). He will illuminate the different responses to the Holocaust by men and women, and by Hasidim and Lithuanians. Currently affiliated with the Bildner Center, Englander has been a visiting scholar at Northwestern University and the Harvard Divinity School and a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute.
Englander's research is interdisciplinary, touching on the interfaces between Jewish philosophy, Jewish law and gender studies. He has authored articles on sexuality in Judaism (gay and lesbian issues, masturbation, and women's sexuality in Jewish divorce law), on the role of the body as a mnemonic in the work of post-Holocaust writer Aharon Appelfeld, on "shame" in the Talmud, and on the body of the Hasidic tzadik (Jewish saint). His first book (coauthored with Avi Sagi) examines aspects of the religious-Zionist image of the body and sexuality during the last decade and was published in Hebrew (Hartman Press 2013) and English (Academic Press 2015). His second book, The Male Body In Jewish Lithuanian Ultra-Orthodoxy was published in Hebrew (May 2016) by the Hebrew University Press.
Englander is interested interfaith dialogue, as well as theory and practice of nonviolent social change. He has been developing understanding of these issues through his volunteer work as director of Kids4Peace in Israel and Palestine—a member of the global interfaith dialogue organization Kids4Peace International. In 2011, he received the Berlinsky-Sheinfeld Award for Change in Israeli Society from the Israel Council of Higher Education, for his work in Kids4Peace.