History and Memory Symposium

Special events honoring the career and scholarship of Yael Zerubavel upon her retirement from Rutgers University.

Faculty and graduate students only

Monday, April 30, 2018
Tanzman Hall of Jewish Learning, Miller Hall, 14 College Avenue, New Brunswick

YAEL ZERUBAVEL is a professor of Jewish studies and history, the founding director of the Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life (est. 1996), and the founding chair of the Department of Jewish Studies at Rutgers (2000—2004). She has published extensively in the areas of collective memory, Israeli culture, war and trauma, and symbolic landscapes. Her books include the award-winning Recovered Roots: Collective Memory and the Making of Israeli National Tradition (University of Chicago Press,1995), and Desert in the Promised Land (in press, Stanford University Press, 2018). She is currently working on a book, Biblical Reenactments and the Performance of Antiquity in Israeli Culture.

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Public Lecture: Sunday, April 29, 2018 at 4:30 PM
Out of the Shtetl: Anarchists, Zionists, and Other Dreamers Encounter the World

Thursday, April 19, 2018 7:00 p.m.  
Galeet Dardashti and Dina Roginsky
moderated by Yael Zerubavel

Location:  Rutgers Hillel, 70 College Ave, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

GaleetDardashti 4a10cGaleet Dardashti
Galeet Dardashti, Assistant Professor of Jewish Music and Musician-in-Residence at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. She holds a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology. Her many publications examine Israeli music/media, Mizrahi cultural politics, and Arab/Jewish artistic “coexistence,” and explore what drives artistic production in our globalized world. She has been a visiting scholar at NYU’s Taub Center for Israel Studies and at Rutgers Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life. Also a distinguished vocalist, Galeet Dardashti is the first woman to continue her family’s tradition of distinguished Persian and Jewish musicianship. She has earned a reputation as one of the most innovative performers of Jewish music today beginning with her work as founder and leader of the renowned all-woman ensemble Divahn. 


DinaRoginsky 46574Dina Roginsky
Dina Roginsky,a Senior Lector of Modern Hebrew language and culture at Yale University. She writes about Israeli culture, folklore, dance, and ethnicity. Her doctoral dissertation, Performing Israeliness, analyzes the one-hundred-year social and ideological history of the Israeli folk dance movement. Roginsky is a co-editor of the book Dance Discourse in Israel, which explores the field of Israeli dance research. Before joining the faculty of Yale she taught at Tel-Aviv University, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and the University of Toronto. She is currently working on her book, Ideology in Motion.


Yael 6.11 e821cYael Zerubavel, Director of the Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life and Professor of history and Jewish Studies at Rutgers University. She is a scholar of memory studies with an expertise in modern Israeli society and culture. She is the author of the award-winning book Recovered Roots: Collective Memory and the Making of Israeli National Tradition.


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.

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.

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.

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.