Who's Passing for Whom? African Americans, Jews, and the Shifting Color Line

Who's Passing for Whom? African Americans, Jews, and the Shifting Color Line

Donavan Ramon

Assistant Professor of English at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville | Visiting Bildner Scholar, Rutgers University

October 17, 2023

Miller Hall room 115 (14 College Ave.)

AdobeStock 41505864 1In the Amazon Prime original movie Master (2022), the character Liv, a university professor, passes as Black to achieve tenure. Liv is White and possibly Jewish, but the film implies that academia affords African Americans specialized treatment via affirmative action. She achieves tenure at the expense of her Whiteness and her White identity is hidden. Passing (for Black or for White) in educational settings has played out in literature and film throughout the twentieth century and, more recently, in real life. In 2020, it was revealed that Jessica Krug, a professor at George Washington University, was not “Jess La Bombalera,” a Nuyorican woman, but a Jewish woman from outside Kansas City. This reverses the trajectory of Philip Roth’s novel The Human Stain (2000), wherein Coleman Silk, the protagonist, is a light-complexioned African American passing for Jewish. Other recent examples include Satchuel Cole, a White activist in Indianapolis who passed as Black, and CV Vitolo-Haddad, a doctoral student who was racially outed at the same time as Krug. 

In the context of historical Black-Jewish alliances and fractures, this faculty seminar will explore the ways in which some White Jewish Americans have assumed a Black identity and possible explanations for this phenomenon. While African Americans welcome allies of all races and creeds, the acts of racial fraudulence and deception on the part of Cole, Krug, and Vitolo-Haddad stemmed from gross misconceptions of Blackness. This seminar will examine how the color line remains a pervasive problem of the 21st century, as evidenced by the ease with which it is still crossed.

Please RSVP to info@jewishstudies.rutgers.edu

 

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The Schir Zion tradition and its echoes of eighteenth-century musical practices

The Schir Zion tradition and its echoes of eighteenth-century musical practices

Alon Schab

Bar-Ilan University

November 1, 2023

Marryott Music Building conference roomMason Gross School of the Arts, 81 George St., New Brunswick

Salomon SulzerSalomon Sulzer is among the most influential figures in the history of Jewish Music. It is with Sulzer’s first publication, Schir Zion I (ca.1840) that Jewish hazanic traditions became largely dependent on notation and, more specifically, on printed music. Earlier manuscripts and a handful of prints provide very little concrete evidence regarding pre-Sulzerian traditions. The reconstruction of lost aural traditions like that of the meshorerim (in which young Sulzer himself was trained) summons the scholar to foray into the realms of conjecture. In my lecture, I will examine the possibilities of identifying traces of the meshorerim tradition in early manuscripts from Sulzer’s circle (predating Schir Zion). I will show how later traditions further distort some of these faded traces.

 

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Female Representation in Politics: The Impact of the Candidate Selection Process

Female Representation in Politics: The Impact of the Candidate Selection Process

Yael Shomer

Israel Institute Visiting Scholar at Rutgers, Senior Lecturer in the School of Political Science, Government, and International Affairs Tel Aviv University

December 12, 2023

Miller Hall room 115 (14 College Ave.)

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How do candidate selection processes affect women’s representation in politics? Some scholars argue that primaries benefit women candidates, others claim the opposite. Drawing on her broad expertise in comparative politics and democratic institutions, Professor Shomer investigates this question by drawing on party level data from eight legislative terms of the Israeli Knesset. She shows that that primaries initially benefit women candidates. However, these benefits are offset by the ways party leaders use partisan protective mechanisms.

Please RSVP to info@jewishstudies.rutgers.edu

 

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Carnival as Canon: What can premodern Jewish parodies teach us about the history of carnivals?

Carnival as Canon: What can premodern Jewish parodies teach us about the history of carnivals?

Cosponsored by the Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life, the History Department, the Program in Comparative Literature, and the Program for Global Medieval Studies

RONI COHENFulbright Fellow at Columbia UniversityDepartment of Jewish History, Tel Aviv University

Tuesday, February 6 at 10:30am

Miller Hall room 115 (14 College Ave.)

The premodern European carnival was an occasion when boundaries between good and bad, and between holy and profane, were temporarily broken. Scholars have long noticed similarities between premodern carnival rituals and premodern parodic literature. Until now, however, actual historical links between the two had not been identified. In this seminar, Dr. Roni Cohen will present the first known examples of premodern parodic literature composed specifically for carnivals: fourteenth-century Jewish parodies on biblical and Talmudic texts that were written in southern France and Rome for the Jewish carnival holiday of Purim. This seminar will consider whether or not these texts truly challenged traditional values, fostering an anarchic atmosphere and establishing a new set of rituals for Purim. More broadly, it will explore the complex cultural environments of premodern European Jews, premodern Jewish popular culture, and the relationship between text and custom.

 Please RSVP to info@jewishstudies.rutgers.edu

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What Do We Know About Antisemitism on Campus?

What Do We Know About Antisemitism on Campus?

Eitan Hersh

Professor of Political Science at Tufts University

March 21, 2024 @ 5:30 PM 

Miller Hall 115

This event is open to Rutgers students, faculty and staff.

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT ANTISEMITISM ON CAMPUS?Hersh Flyer

Join us to learn about new research conducted by Dr. Eitan Hersh about the impact of October 7th on campus antisemitism and the relationship between political ideology and antisemitism.

Hersh is a professor of political science at Tufts University. He is the author of Politics is for Power (Scribner, 2020), Hacking the Electorate (Cambridge UP 2015), and many scholarly articles.

Sponsored by the Department of Jewish Studies

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Shared Soundscapes from Ottoman-Era Safed

Shared Soundscapes from Ottoman-Era Safed

Naomi Cohn Zentner

Bar-llan University, Department of Music

Douglass Library, Performing Arts Seminar Room (basement)

Tuesday, March 26 at 4:00pm

SafedSelf-recorded repertoires in the early twentieth century, much like historical memoires, may serve as musical microhistories, bringing new perspectives to everyday life and challenging dominant historical accounts. Dr. Zentner will discuss how Safed born Rabbi Abulafia's unusual self-recorded repertory of Arabic and Turkish melodies with Ashkenazi liturgical music and Hassidic niguns, testifies to the interconnectivity of Jewish and Muslim Arab musical communities in late Ottoman era Palestine. According to her analysis, this musical snapshot narrates how the musical exchange of traditional and popular music from Ashkenazi, Sephardic and Arab traditions was possible and perhaps even matter-of-fact in this era preceding national dichotomies of Arab and Jewish cultures.

 

Please RSVP to info@jewishstudies.rutgers.edu

 

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Reading Practices and Psalm Culture in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity

Reading Practices and Psalm Culture in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity

AJ Berkovitz

Hebrew Union College

Tuesday, April 2 at 10:30am

Miller Hall room 115 (14 College Ave.)

We tend to take the activity of reading for granted. However, as historians of the book and its readers have shown, engaging with a text is a multi-layered event conditioned by materialA Life of Psalms Book Cover reality and contingent upon socio-cultural inflected reading practices. This seminar combines such insights with textual and material evidence for the reception of the Psalms to reframe aspects of the study of late ancient Judaism and early Christianity. It will explore how the scroll and codex shaped Jewish and Christian material reception and imagination of the Psalms; question the primacy of scholarly exegesis in reconstructing the lived encounter with Scripture; and suggest a model for Jewish-Christian interaction that moves beyond learned scriptural polemic. The seminar synthesizes several strands of argument found in Berkovitz’s recently published book, A Life of Psalms in Jewish Late Antiquity.

Please RSVP to info@jewishstudies.rutgers.edu

 

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Emotional Connections to Israel/Palestine: American Muslims, Christians, and Jews

Tuesday, April 16th, 2024, 5:30-7:00pm

Professors Melani McAlister (George Washington), Justine Howe (Case Western), and Michal Raucher (Rutgers) will each speak for 10-15 minutes, followed by a moderated conversation and questions from the audience. 

This event will be open to Rutgers students, faculty, and staff.

Location: Miller Hall, 14 College Ave, Room 115