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Master Teacher Institute in Holocaust Education

Littman Holocaust Resource Center

Fall 2017 / Spring 2018

America and the Holocaust

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Ghetto of Florence

Academic Building, B1170, 15 Seminary Place

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Bizarre Tales of Yiddishland:

What the Yiddish Press Reveals about the Jews

Trayes Hall, Douglass Campus Center
100 George Street, New Brunswick

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Soundscapes of Modernity:

Jews and Music in Polish Cities

Kirkpatrick Chapel
81 Somerset Street, New Brunswick


forbiddenfruit 6ab49Birth of an Icon: How the Forbidden Fruit Became an Apple

Azzan Yadin-Israel
Department of Jewish Studies and Classics
Rutgers University

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 11:30 am
Bildner Center, 12 College Avenue

When Andrew of St. Victor, one of the greatest Bible scholars of the 12th century, surveyed the various views on the Forbidden Fruit he knew of only two possible candidates: the fig and the grapevine. No scholar that he knew of had even suggested that the fruit was an apple. Three hundred years later, throughout northern Europe, the apple will become the Forbidden Fruit par excellence. What occurs during this period to transform a heretofore obscure fruit into the dominant image of the Fall of Man? Weaving together insights from medieval Bible commentary, art history, and historical linguistics, this lecture offers a novel interpretation of an enduring icon.

ElishevaBaumgartenJewish Family Power Struggles and Communal Identities
in Medieval Northern Europe

Elisheva Baumgarten
Prof. Yitzhak Becker Chair in Jewish Studies
Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry
Hebrew University

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at 11:30 am
Bildner Center, 12 College Avenue

This talk will examine the dynamics of match making and choosing spouses among the Jews of medieval northern Europe. It will demonstrate the communal involvement in the process and emphasize the ways young people were able to influence the decisions their parents made concerning the choice of prospective marriage partners. The talk will focus on changes in this process over the high middle ages and situate them within the context of the Christian society within which the medieval Jews lived.

Sephardic JewsSephardic Jews and the Holocaust

Devin Naar, University of Washington

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at 11:30 am
Bildner Center, 12 College Avenue

Devin E. Naar is the Isaac Alhadeff Professor in Sephardic Studies and Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and History at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he directs the Sephardic Studies Program. Originally from New Jersey, Naar received his BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis and his PhD in History from Stanford University. He has served as a Fulbright Scholar to Greece. His new book, published by Stanford University Press, is entitled Jewish Salonica: Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece. It won the 2016 National Jewish Book Award for archival research and was a finalist in the category of Sephardic culture. Naar teaches courses in Jewish history, Sephardic culture, the Holocaust, and the modern Mediterranean world. A past fellow at the University of Washington’s Society of Scholars, he also serves on the academic advisory council of the Center for Jewish History in New York where he represents the American Sephardi Federation.

Hizky Shoham

Why Hebrew Shoah?
A Lexical History and Two Zionist Narratives

Hizky Shoham, Bar-Ilan University

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 4:30 pm
Bildner Center, 12 College Avenue

The Hebrew word Shoah has become a standard term for the 1940s genocide of European Jewry in Hebrew and in other languages. Shohem's talk tracks its evolution from the bible to modern Hebrew drawing on archival and media sources from 1942–1945. He suggests a cultural explanation for the term’s broad reception relative to others that existed at the time, in the context of the interwar public culture of the Jewish society of British Mandate Palestine.


Open to faculty and graduate students only

Transnational Identities: Art, Gender and Migration in Contemporary Israel

Tal Dekel, Tel Aviv University

February 21, 2017, 5:00 pm
Zimmerli Art Museum

The talk will discuss one chapter from Dekel's newly published book Transnational Identities – Women, Art and Migration in Contemporary Israel. Surveying the artistic activity of women immigrants in Israel, it will consider their triple-fold identity construction process – national, religious and gendered – and analyze the ways in which experiences of displacement register in national and transnational contexts and influence artistic production. Dekel will argue for a new understanding of the role expected for women immigrants by the hegemonic group within the nation-state, deriving from a "neo-racism" which aims to define the ethno-national character of the country and its symbolic boundaries. Of special interest for this talk is the notion of "multiple hyphenated identities" which widens the spectrum of understanding power relations among and within local communities of a nation-state in the age of globalization and mass migration.

Tal Dekel lectures in the Department of Art History and in the NCJW Women and Gender Studies Program at Tel Aviv University, where she is also the Head of the Women and Gender Forum. Dekel specializes in contemporary art and visual culture in Israel, taking a particular interest in gender, migration and transnationalism. She has published extensively in international peer-reviewed journals and is the author of the books Gendered: Art and Feminist Theory (2013) and Transnational Identities: Women, Art and Migration in Contemporary Israel (2016); and co-editor of the book The Wisdom of the Hand: Israeli-Ethiopian Art Today (2017).

YakirEnglanderInterfaith Dialogue in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Yakir Englander, Bildner Visiting Scholar

Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 11:30 am- 1:00 pm
12 College Avenue, Room 107
Lunch will be served

The seminar will address the activities of peace organizations from the 1980s through the beginning of the 21st century and the main reasons for their failures, the changes in the politico-religious view of the conflict on both sides, and new ways of thinking about the conflict. Given the significance of religion for both Israeli and Palestinian societies, the discussion will focus on the role of interfaith programs, the new socio-politico-religious map of Jerusalem, and new activism that allows religion and spirituality to play a role in the complex process of working towards peace.

Yakir Englander received his doctorate in Jewish philosophy and gender studies from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. His books include Sexuality and the Body in New Religious Zionist Discourse and The Male Body In Jewish Lithuanian Ultra-Orthodoxy (in Hebrew). As a volunteer, Dr. Englander serves as Senior Advisor of “Kids4Peace in Israel and Palestine.” This semester he is teaching a course on Jews, Gender, & Sexuality in the Department of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University.

Seeds for the Land of Goshen:
Philanthropy, Language, and Identity at Yiddish Farm

Joshua B. Friedman, Aresty Visiting Scholar

Tuesday, September 27, 2016, 10:00-11:30 AM
12 College Avenue, Room 107

Diaspora Jews boast a long history of ideologically informed, agricultural projects. That history seems, at first, the appropriate context for Yiddish Farm. Located in Goshen, New York, just an hour’s drive north of Manhattan, the organization has sought to create a holistic environment where language learners farm organically and live communally in Yiddish. But Yiddish Farm is also an American Jewish nonprofit, and thus must be understood in the context of American Jewish philanthropy, and its historically shifting political economy. This talk considers the emergence of Yiddish Farm in relationship to structural and ideological transformations to the American Jewish non-profit complex specifically, and to American political economy, in general. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted at the Farm it asks: what can contemporary Yiddish culture tell us about the philanthropic production of American Judaism? How have philanthropy’s organizational logics, programmatic forms and social expectations structured how young American Jews experience Jewish culture and community?   

Joshua B. Friedman is a cultural anthropologist and Jewish studies scholar with an ethnographic focus on contemporary American Jews. His research interests include the political economy of philanthropy, the American Jewish non-profit sector, and the politics of Yiddish in American Jewish life. His work addresses topics of religion and secularism, kinship and inheritance, public culture, language and identity politics. He is currently working on a book manuscript, Yiddish Returns: Language and Economy in American Jewish Life.

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