Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Jews & Journeys: An Online Exhibition

Jews & Journeys: Travel & the Performance of Jewish Identity

An Online Exhibition from the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies 2011-2012 Fellows at the University of Pennsylvania and the Penn Libraries

Introduction: The past decades have seen the emergence of an intense interest in the subject of travel as a complex range of practices and representations. The inherent richness and diversity of the evidence, texts, and materials related to Jewish travel have engaged scholars from a broad range of disciplines and periods (ancient, medieval, and modern history, literature, art and film studies, anthropology, post-colonial and gender studies) in a critical dialogue. Travel writing in particular (in its mimetic, imaginative, and hybrid modes) has served a variety of social and ideological functions throughout the ages, and unquestionably, travels of dislocation and return, pilgrimage, trade and conquest, hold a prominent place in formative Jewish and non-Jewish fictions of identity. What cultural and ideological work is performed by these texts, and how do they produce representations of an-Other and his world, against which and through which they explore and invent a particular sense of self? These are some of the complex themes and challenges that the 2011-12 Katz Fellows addressed, a sampling of which are on display in this year's web exhibit.
Martin Jacobs, Joshua Levinson, and Ora Limor 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Jewish Studies, Once and Future

By Adina M. Yoffie • Jewish Ideas Daily • Thursday, August 23, 2012

It’s that time of year again—not just the High Holidays but the time when Jewish college students pore over online course catalogues and make their choices for the fall semester. Will they take Jewish Studies courses? If so, does it matter which ones?

Courses in Hebrew language, “Judaism 101,” the Holocaust, and the contemporary Middle East are ubiquitous.  Some colleges and universities provide menus ranging from rigorous, sacred-text-based courses on the Bible and Talmud to more literary and cultural offerings.  The rest of the approximately 100 Jewish Studies programs in American colleges emphasize more recent Jewish culture and history—Yiddish theater, Israeli literature, or the role of women and gender in American Jewish life.

While students decide, adults debate.  Is the field of Jewish Studies in decline?  Is a course called “Harry Potter and the Holocaust” (University of Florida, Fall 2012) a sign that standards are low and getting lower?  Will “real,” text-based Jewish Studies ultimately be limited to rabbinical seminaries and yeshivot?

read the rest at ...  http://www.jewishideasdaily.com/4841/features/jewish-studies-once-and-future-2/

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies

University of Pennsylvania
Post-Doctoral Fellowship 2013–2014
Application Deadline: November 10, 2012

Constructing Borders and Crossing Boundaries:
Social, Cultural and Religious Change in Early Modern Jewish History

Scholars working in a wide variety of disciplines have long identified the late fifteenth through the late eighteenth century as a discrete historical period called “Early Modern.” Among scholars interested in the place of Jews and Jewish culture within this period, however, there has been little attempt to think broadly about early modernity as a whole or to connect the insights of discrete studies in any coherent and meaningful way. This research group will create a conversation that connects these smaller units and so examines those changes in the Jewish world which characterized the Early Modern. We will focus on the issue of borders and boundaries, understood as not only geographical, but also social, cultural, legal, political, and economic. Some divided and connected the Jewish and the non-Jewish, while others functioned within Jewish society, creating internal divisions and conjunctures. Considering, among other things, the breakdown of old social and cultural boundaries and the construction of new ones, the boundary as both a dividing line and a place of meeting and mixing between different groups (Jewish and non-Jewish), and the ambiguities inherent in situations where elites envisioned strong boundaries while others ignored them (and vice versa), will encourage a wide ranging discussion on the very nature of both Jewish Early Modernity and the early modern period in general.

Proposals might address the following questions:
o How did the establishment of new Jewish centers in new places with new legal frameworks affect the development of Jewish society and culture?
o What were the nature and characteristics of Jewish transregional networks in the Early Modern age?
o How did the religious and cultural borders between Ashkenazim and Sephardim change?
o How did the spread of printing affect cultural and intellectual boundaries both inside Jewish society and between Jews and non-Jews?
o To what extent did early modern Jewish society witness shifts in its cultural borders, such as those between men and women, the educated and the uneducated, and the rabbinic and lay elites?
o How did early modern European religious and intellectual life affect the social, cultural and political boundaries between Jew and non-Jew?
o What are the implications of changes in the social, cultural, religious, and political borders of the early modern Jewish world for our understanding of the early modern period in general? and of the modern Jewish experience as well?

The Center invites applications from scholars in the humanities and social sciences at all levels, as well as outstanding graduate students in the final stages of writing their dissertations. Stipend amounts are based on a fellow’s academic standing and financial need with a maximum of $50,000 for the academic year. A contribution also may be made toward travel expenses. The application deadline is November 10, 2012. Fellowship recipients will be notified by February 1, 2013.

Applications are available on our website: katz.sas.upenn.edu
For questions contact: Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies
420 Walnut Street     Philadelphia, PA 19106    Tel: 215-238-1290
email: carrielo@sas.upenn.edu

EHRI Fellowships in Holocaust Studies

EHRI (European Holocaust Research Infrastructure) invites applications for its fellowship programme for 2013.

The EHRI fellowships are intended to support and stimulate Holocaust research by facilitating international access to key archives and collections related to the Holocaust. The fellowships intend to support researchers and younger scholars, especially PhD candidates with limited resources. Candidates from Central and Eastern Europe are especially encouraged to apply.

The following EHRI partners are offering two fellowships each on a competitive basis:

- NIOD. Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- Jewish Museum in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic
- Institute of Contemporary History, Munich, Germany
- Yad Vashem – The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, Jerusalem, Israel
- The Shoah Memorial – Museum, Center for Contemporary Jewish Documentation, Paris, France is offering four fellowships.

EHRI fellowships include a stipend for housing and living expenses as well as travel to and from the inviting institution. Recipients are responsible for securing visas if necessary. Fellows will have access to the research infrastructure of the respective EHRI partner institution including access to a computer. The average length of the researcher’s stay is 4 weeks, but the fellow may extend the stay at his/her own expense and in accordance with the host institution and visa regulations. Fellows will be expected to spend 3 days a week at the host institution to conduct research on their research project. Research at other institutions in the vicinity of the respective host is encouraged. The fellowships are funded by the European Union.

All application materials must be submitted in English or German. The application must include the following:

- A completed application form.

- A curriculum vitae (maximum 2 pages).

- A four to five page (1,250-1,500 words) detailed research project proposal related to the Holocaust (including its antecedents and aftermath) that the applicant plans to undertake during the term of the fellowship as well as an explanation of which institution(s) an applicant wishes to apply to and why this choice fits the chosen research topic.

- A letter of recommendation from a reputable academic who is familiar with the applicant’s work. A letter of recommendation should include evaluation of the applicant’s proposed research as well as the overall quality of the applicant’s work. The letter may be sent by email as a scan (including the recommender's signature and letterhead) with the application or directly by the recommender. The letter must be received before the application deadline.

- Applicants must also designate a second recommender in the application form. The recommender may be contacted directly by EHRI.

All application material can be sent as an email attachment in DOC or PDF format to bennett@ifz-muenchen.de. Please send all application material at one time. Submissions must reach EHRI by 30 September 2012. Later submissions for this year will not be accepted. Decisions will be announced by December 2012.

More information

For more information on the research profiles of the participating EHRI partner institutions and the respective Holocaust research environment in their cities (Annex 1) as well as the application form (Annex 2), please visit http://www.ehri-project.eu/fellowships.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Talmud app released

A story in the Aug. 2, 2012 Atlantic  describes the new version of Artscroll's Schottenstein Talmud released as an iPad app.  Here's an extract from the article.

eTalmud: The iPad Future of the Ancient Text
by Rebecca J. Cohen

For Jews who want to participate in Daf Yomi, there's really only one thing you need (besides, obviously, some serious Jewish literacy) and that, no surprise, is a Talmud, and a Talmud set -- 73 volumes for a mainstream edition with English translation -- is going to run you some $2,000 (though simple versions without translation can be less). It also weighs more than 200 pounds (and this is the small size, intended for Daf Yomi practice). All this to say, an iPad Talmud app could be much more convenient, affordable, and usable (despite it being off-limits on the Sabbath for many Shabbat-observant Jews).

Daf Yomi was created to bring Talmud study to more people. An edition known as the Schottenstein Talmud, published over a 14-year period from 1990 to 2004, continued that trajectory of popularization, by providing in depth English translations. Now ArtScroll, the leading Orthodox publishing imprint, has released the Schottenstein edition in a long-awaited app, and in doing so takes another step in that process of making the Talmud ever more accessible. The app costs about half as much as the printed version, though the exact price comparison depends on whether you opt for a subscription, package, or buy the volumes piecemeal. Any way you look at it, it's still not cheap. It's also not the first Talmud app, but the depth of the tools available (floating translations, pop-up commentaries, and multiple view options for different layouts and translations) set a new standard for Jewish text apps.