UMass Amherst
Judaic and Near Eastern Studies


The Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies
University of Massachusetts Amherst


Fall 2013

Jacobs Family Lecture


“At the Threshold of Forgiveness: Law and Narrative in the Talmud”

Thursday, November 7th at 5:00PM

Student Union, Cape Cod Lounge


We are pleased to announce that Professor Moshe Halbertal will present this year's Jacobs Family Lecture on November 7 at 5:00 pm in the Cape Cod Lounge on the UMass campus. His lecture is titled "At the Threshold of Forgiveness: Law and Narrative in the Talmud."

Moshe Halbertal is the Gruss Professor at NYU Law School & Professor of Jewish Thought and Philosophy at the Hebrew University. A member of Israel's National Academy for Sciences and the Humanities, he is the author of many books, including "Idolatry" (co-authored with Avishai Margalit) and "People of the Book: Canon, Meaning and Authority", both published by Harvard University Press, and "Concealment and Revelation: Esotericism in Jewish Thought and Its Philosophical Implications" published by Princeton University Press. His latest book "On Sacrifice" was also published by Princeton in 2012.  At NYU he serves as co-director of the Tikvah Program in Law and Jewish Civilization.

This event is also sponsored by College of Humanities and Fine Arts and the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies
All Lectures are Free, Open to the Public and Wheelchair Accessible. For more information, email or call 413-545-2550.



Judaic Middle Eastern Studies Faculty Seminar


“Needs of the Poor:On Giving and Dignity in the Talmud”

Thursday, November 7th at 2:00PM

Herter, Room 301

The Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies is pleased to announce a Faculty Seminar conducted by Moshe Halbertal, the Gruss Professor Jewish law at NYU Law School and Professor of Jewish Thought and Philosophy at the Hebrew University.

Professor Halbertal is a member of the Israel’s National Academy for Sciences and the Humanities. He is the author of “Idolatry” (co authored with Avishai Margalit) and “People of the Book: Canon, Meaning and Authority”, both published by Harvard University Press; and “Concealment and Revelation: Esotericism in Jewish Thought and Its Philosophical Implications” published by Princeton University Press. His latest book “On Sacrifice” was published by Princeton University Press in 2012.
We are grateful to Pamela and Robert Jacobs for endowing this event.

This event is co-sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Studies Institute in the Humanities of Fine Arts (ISI).

All Lectures are Free, Open to the Public and Wheelchair Accessible. For more information, email or call 413-545-2550.

Spring 2013

Middle Eastern Studies Program

Spring Lecture



“The Undemocratic Transition: Law and Disorder”

Wednesday, April 17th at 12:00PM

Isenberg School of Management Building, Room 133


Professor Goldberg, a leading scholar of law and politics in Egypt and the Middle East, will discuss recent events in Egypt, and in particular, aspects of the collapse of the police and the rise of community (i.e. vigilante) justice in their place and the challenges this places on the Egyptian people.


This event, co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science and the Five College Seminar on the Middle East, this lecture is free, open to the public, and  wheelchair accessible.  For more information, email or call 413-545-2550.


The Bible Across Cultures: From Antiquity to the Enlightenment

Spring Lecture Series

The Bible Across Cultures: From Antiquity to the Enlightenment,” a series of four lectures sponsored by Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at UMass Amherst, explores the Bible as a meeting ground for intercultural exchange. Employing comparative historical and literary methods of analysis, and by highlighting interpretive strategies in the ancient, medieval, and modern worlds, the series draws attention to the role of the Bible in the broader study of the humanities.  Each of the subjects discussed in the series – violence, collective memory, Jewish and Christian interpretation, and the confluence of English translations of Bible and Greek epic poetry – offers a fascinating example of cross-cultural inquiry.


David Bernat

Judaic and Near Eastern Studies, UMass Amherst

"Sanctified Violence and Priestly Succession in Biblical Narrative"

Thursday, February 28, 2013, 4:00PM, SOM 123

The Torah, or Pentateuch, contains what can be read as a chain of narratives leading to the selection of the Aaronide line for the High Priesthood. These episodes (Genesis 34, Exodus 32, Leviticus 10, and Numbers 25) each highlight an act of divine and/or human brutality. The paper investigates the thread of violence common to these pivotal accounts. The Pentateauch's Priestly succession arc is treated as both political rhetoric and as a creation myth. Biblical materials will be considered in their canonical context, and against the background of relevant Ancient Near Eastern cognate writings. The presentation follows from Professor Bernat's work on violence in the Bible and rabbinic literature, and specifically on the figure of Phinehas in scripture and in ancient Jewish interpretive traditions.


Jennie Barbour

Amherst College and UMass Amherst

"City-Lament and Collective Memory in Qohelet (Ecclesiastes)"

Thursday, March 7, 2013, 4:00PM, Bartlett 316

The book of Ecclesiastes and its speaker Qohelet are famous for saying that there is 'nothing new under the sun'. In the literary tradition of the modern West this has been taken as the motto of a book that is universal in scope, Greek in its patterns of thought, and floating free from the particularism and historical concerns of the rest of the Bible. But while Qohelet says nothing about the great founding events of Israel's story, the book is haunted by the decline and fall of the nation and the Babylonian exile, as the trauma of the loss of the kingdom of Solomon persists through a spectrum of intertextual relationships; Ecclesiastes is not simply a piece of marketplace philosophy, but a learned essay in processing a community's memory.


Deeana Klepper

Department of Religion, Boston University

"Language Matters: Christian Engagement with Hebrew Language and Jewish Biblical Interpretation in the Middle Ages"

Thursday, March 14, 2013, 4:00PM, Herter 301

Medieval Christians viewed the Hebrew Bible as an "Old Testament" preface to a fulfilled "New Testament." For many centuries, Christians were largely interested in the way that the Hebrew Bible prefigured the New Testament, and they were content with ancient Latin or Greek translations of the text. But the twelfth century saw the development of new ways of reading the Bible, including a new emphasis on the plain sense of the text. From that point on, a small but influential number of Christians mastered Hebrew, convinced that the Hebrew text and Jewish interpretation of it could and should be used in Christian Bible study. Christian Hebraism continued through the Reformation and became a critical component of early modern European intellectual culture. The story of this tradition provides an important counterpoint to the very real hostility that Christians often showed to Jews during this same period.


Jeffrey Shoulson

Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, UConn Storrs

"Translating the Bible and Homer in Early Modern England"

Thursday, April 18, 2013, 2:30PM, Herter 301

Though it was by no means the first English translation of the Bible, the publication of the King James (or Authorized) Bible in 1611 marked a watershed moment in the history of Bible translations and now, some 400 years later, it remains the single most influential English version of scripture. Its appearance is exactly coincident with the first full translation of Homer's two epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, both of which were produced by the poet and playwright, George Chapman. This talk will take the contemporaneous appearance of these seminal acts of cultural and literary translation as an occasion to consider the particular challenges posed by names, especially names that are as overdetermined as those that appear in the Bible and Homer.


All lectures in this series, sponsored by the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, are free and open to the public.  All venues are on campus and wheel-chair accessible.


For further information email or call 413-545-2550.


History of the Jewish Graphic Novel

Spring Lecture Series



Author and Literary Critic Ilan Stavans to Speak on His New Graphic Novel, El Iluminado

Ilan Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor of Latin American and Latino Culture and Five-College Fortieth Anniversary Professor at Amherst College, will appear at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to talk about his new graphic novel, El Iluminado, at the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide and Memory Studies, 758 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, at 5:00 PM on Monday, March 4, 2013.

EL ILUMINADO: A Graphic Novel (Basic Books; November 13, 2012), the extraordinary collaboration between esteemed literary critic Ilan Stavans and National Book Award-finalist graphic artist Steve Sheinkin, offers a lesser-known religious history of the American Southwest in the form of a whodunit thriller about crypto-Jews in New Mexico. In 1492, under an edict enforced by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella during the Spanish Inquisition, all Jews were forced to either convert to Catholicism or leave the country.  Those who converted were deemed “New Christians” or “conversos.”  Some of those conversos decided to outwardly portray themselves as Christians while still practicing Judaism in the privacy of their homes, passing down the Jewish traditions to their children, and living a secret life as crypto-Jews.  Many of these crypto-Jews traveled to Mexico and then onto the American Southwest, where they still live today.  Luis de Carvajal the Younger, also known as El Iluminado, was a crypto-Jew who lived in Mexico in the sixteenth century and was ultimately killed for not relinquishing his Jewish roots. 

Combining history with imagination, Stavans and Sheinkin develop a story around the fictional Rolando Perez, who grew up as a Catholic in Santa Fe.  As he begins to investigate unusual family traditions, such as lighting candles on Friday nights, Perez also questions why his mother never served pork products, leading him to believe that his family descended from conversos and he is actually of Jewish blood.  As Rolando tries to uncover his own family’s history, he comes across the story of Luis de Carvajal and becomes fascinated with Carvajal’s hidden Jewish life and troubling death.  Does Rolando’s obsession with Carvajal lead to his own demise?  In EL ILUMINADO, readers play the detective—picking up clues and unraveling the mystery behind Rolando’s horrific death and the mysterious documents that everyone seems to want to get their hands on.

Professor Stavans becomes a character in the novel as well.  Having traveled to Santa Fe to give a lecture on New Mexico’s buried Jewish history, he becomes wrapped up in this murder mystery when Irina Rodriguez, Rolando’s cousin, seeks his help in learning more about crypto-Jews.  Professor Stavans also has a run-in with his arch-rival Professor Contreras and many other characters surface as the mystery unravels.  As the case develops and the search for clues continues, so do the eerie parallels between Rolando’s and Carvajal’s lives.  

Mixing Yiddish and Spanglish, EL ILUMINADO deftly blends humor, history and mystery to reveal America’s secret religious and cultural past.

Ilan Stavans is the author of Latino USA: A Cartoon History and editor of The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature. His work has been translated into a dozen languages and adapted into theater and film. Recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and of many international prizes and honors, he lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Stavans’s appearance at 5:00 PM on Monday, March 4th will be followed by a book signing and reception.

This event, sponsored by the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Posen Foundation for the Study of Jewish Secularism, is free, open to the public, and wheelchair accessible.  For more information, email or call 413-545-2550.



Author, Artist and Publisher Denis Kitchen to Speak on His New Biography of Al Capp, creator of the Lil Abner Comic Strip.


Denis Kitchen, renowned comics historian and author of The Art of Harvey Kurtzman, The Mad Genius of Comics, will appear at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to talk about his new book, Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary, in Room 601 Herter Hall at 5:00 PM on Monday, April 1st, 2013. Al Capp was the writer and artist of the comic strip Li’l Abner, which appeared in newspapers from 1934 to 1974. Al Capp (1909-1979), born Alfred Gerald Caplin, lived and worked in Boston. His Li’l Abner comic strip was lauded in its day for its wild humor and scathing and intelligent political satire, a forerunner of Doonesbury and Bloom County.

Denis Kitchen is a pioneering underground cartoonist and publisher who founded one of the most respected American comic art publishing companies, Kitchen Sink Press. For thirty years (1969-1999), Kitchen Sink published works by outstanding and innovative comic artists and graphic novelists, including the graphic novels of Will Eisner, “The Father of the Graphic Novel,” comics by Robert Crumb, Mark Schultz (Xenozoic Tales/Cadillacs & Dinosaurs), Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell (From Hell), and reprints of classic American comic strips from R. F. Outcault’s The Yellow Kid to Capp’s Li’l Abner. Kitchen Sink Press publications won numerous Eisner and Harvey awards for outstanding contributions to comic art.  

Although better known as a publisher, Kitchen has been called “a gifted and exceptional artist” by Robert Crumb. He began his career as an artist and pioneering self-publisher with his 1968 comic book Mom’s Homemade Comics, and has continued to draw comics, recently collected in The Oddly Compelling Art of Denis Kitchen (Dark Horse 2010). Kitchen has also been an advocate for creative freedom and artists’ rights, and founded and served for over a decade as president of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a nonprofit organization devoted to defending the First Amendment. 

Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary is the first biography of the controversial comic strip creator whom John Steinbeck called “the best writer in the world.” Capp was the comic artist who became a true public intellectual, quoted by reporters and political columnists on the issues of the day, widely interviewed, and the author of a syndicated column and host of a radio talk show. Li’l Abner was a rural Candide, a comic strip about a country boy whose innocence exposes the corruption of the world. Capp’s imagination populated his cartoon world with fantastic creatures like the Shmoos, who would do anything for humanity, and invented a still-popular holiday, Sadie Hawkins Day, when girls can ask boys to dance, or get married.

Kitchen’s biography of Capp, written with Michael Schumacher, author of Will Eisner: A Dreamer’s Life in Comics, “offers an insider's perspective on the clannish but competitive world of comic strip and book artists,” and is “an engrossing look into the life of an American luminary as well as the evolution of an art form,” according to Publisher’s Weekly. Capp turned sharply to the right in the 1960s, and Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary shows “both the light and dark sides of the man who made the country both laugh and gag” according to Kirkus Reviews.

The biography has been praised by The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and the Boston Globe, which noted that “novelist John Updike, at one time an aspiring cartoonist himself, said Capp had created a comic strip that had ‘fire in its belly and a brain in its head’. The biography captures that dialectic in the strip and in the man.” The Globe described Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary as “fast-paced, fascinating, rich in Boston-based history” and said “it will satisfy the appetites of comic fans and political junkies alike.”

Al Capp was America's most prominent and successful Jewish comic strip creator. In his book The Comic Stripped American (1973), popular culture analyst Arthur Asa Berger (UMass Amherst, BA 1954) has linked Li'l Abner's combination of social consciousness and fantasy to Yiddish folk tale and theatrical traditions.

Kitchen’s appearance at 5:00 PM on Monday, April 1st will be followed by a book signing of Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary and Kitchen’s other books.

This event, sponsored by the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Posen Foundation for the Study of Jewish Secularism, is free, open to the public, and wheelchair accessible.  For more information, email or call 413-545-2550.



"Will Eisner, The Spirit, and the Other"

N. C. Christopher Couch, visiting Posen professor in the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies and author of Jerry Robinson, Ambassador of Comics, will appear at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to talk about the work of Will Eisner, who is often called the Father of the Graphic Novel, in Room 601 Herter Hall at 5:00 PM on Monday, April 22nd, 2013. Will Eisner was one of the creators of the comic book medium in the 1930s and 1940s, creating The Spirit and many other heroes in the Golden Age of Comics, and pioneering the modern graphic novel with the publication of A Contract with God in 1978. Will Eisner was honored at the University of Massachusetts Amherst with an international conference in 1998, the twentieth anniversary of Contract, and gave his last major public lecture here in 2004, when he publicly announced for the first time the topic of his final graphic novel, The Plot: The Secret History of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (2005).


Professor Couch’s topic will be “Will Eisner, The Spirit, and the Other.” Eisner has been recognized as the comics pioneer who first recognized that comic books could be an adult literary and artistic medium. Alan Moore, writer of renowned works like Watchmen, said Eisner’s The Spirit “gave comics its brains.” The Spirit (1940-1952) was a comic book series that featured private detective Denny Colt who adopts a secret identity after he apparently dies. As the Spirit, Colt investigated crimes, but Eisner used the series to explore the life and people of New York City, and literary genres from humor to horror to science fiction. Eisner left comics for twenty-five years, returning in the 1970s to begin a series of graphic novels that explored the life of Jewish immigrants in New York and changed the field forever. Eisner also wrote a series of books on creating comics starting with Comics & Sequential Art that profoundly influenced artist throughout the world. The field’s most prestigious awards, presented every year at ComiCon International in San Diego, are named for Eisner.


Professor Couch’s talk will explore the evolution in Eisner’s work with regard to the social and racial other. The Spirit included unfortunate comic characters of African Americans. Eisner made major changes in his comics after his service in World War II, later explaining that he had seen prejudice in the Army and wanted to expunge it from his work. In his graphic novels, he explored racial understanding in New York in fictional works, and then sought to understand and oppose anti-Semitism, particularly in his retelling of Oliver Twist entitled Fagin the Jew and in The Plot, which exposes as a forgery one the most famous and pernicious anti-Semitic books, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a pillar of Nazi propaganda.


N. C. Christopher Couch holds a Ph.D. in art history from Columbia University, and is the author of numerous books and articles on comic art, graphic novels, and Latin American art. His most recent book, Jerry Robinson: Ambassador of Comics (Abrams 2010), on the artist and humanitarian famed for his Expressionist Batman and creation of the Joker, was a Harvey Award finalist and was featured in a New York Times profile of Robinson. As senior editor at Kitchen Sink Press, he worked with Will Eisner, about whom he has published two co-authored volumes, including The Will Eisner Companion (2005, with Stephen Weiner). He has held fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study, Dumbarton Oaks of Harvard University, and the Newberry Library among others. He teaches at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and has curated exhibitions at the American Museum of Natural History and other art and science museums.


This event, sponsored by the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Posen Foundation for the Study of Jewish Secularism, is free, open to the public, and wheelchair accessible.  For more information, email or call 413-545-2550.


previous guest lecturers and events :

Fall 2012

""Is there room for a room of one's own?  On politics and writing in Israel"

Gail Hareven

Sapir Prize for Literature Winner

Sunday, October 15th, 2012 - Yiddish Book Center


Spring 2012

"Education after Auschwitz:

Levinas, Humanism, and the Promise of Jewish Education”

 Claire Katz

Professor of Philosophy and Women's and Gender Studies

Texas A&M University

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012 - Herter Hall Room 301


"The Binding of Abraham:

Revisiting Mt. Moriah with Rembrandt and Kierkegaard”

 Daniel Conway

Professor of Philosophy and Humanities

Texas A&M University

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 - Herter Hall Room 301


"Will Eisner's Graphic Novels and Secular Jewish Life in New York"

N.C. Christopher Couch

Comparative Literature and Judaic and Near Eastern Studies

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Thursday, March 1st, 2012 - SOM Room 133


"The Legacy of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg: A Family Perspective"

filmmaker Ivy Meeropol and author Michael Meeropol

Monday, March 5th, 2012 - Thompson Hall Room 106


"Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist"

Film Introduced by Denis Kitchen

Award-winning cartoonist and founder of Kitchen Sink Press

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 - Herter Hall Room 227


"Is Superman (Still) Jewish?  Superheroes as Secular Saviors"

Danny Fingeroth

Comics industry veteran and author of

Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics and the Creation of the Superhero

Thursday, April 5th, 2012 - Herter Hall Room 231


Julius Menn, Holocaust Survivor

Monday, April 16th, 2012 - Hillel House


Special Screening of "The Cantor's Son"

with introduction by Dr. Rachel Rubinstein

Associate Professor of American Literature and

Jewish Studies at Hampshire College

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012 - SOM Room 137


Department End-of-Year Reception

Wednesday, May 2nd - 7th Floor Lobby, Herter Hall


"Carbon Democracy:  Political Power in the Age of Oil"

Timothy Mitchell

Professor of Middle Eastern, South Asian and

African Studies, Columbia University

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012, 3:30PM - Cape Cod Lounge, Campus Center



Fall 2011

“The Roots and Development of the Israeli Song: 

from the Pre-state Stage to the Present”

 Dani Orstav

Producer and host of the classical music

programs of The Voice of Israel

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011 - Herter Hall Room 301


previous academic years' guest lectures and events:

Spring 2011

“Russian-Israeli Art”

 David Stromberg

Jerusalem-based writer and translator

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011 - Herter Hall Room 205


“ Holocaust Legacy: Empty Spaces, Fading First-Hand Memories, Bold New Jewish Realities ”

 Ruth Ellen Gruber

Haddasah Brandeis Institute Scholar-In-Residence

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 - Herter Hall Room 601


"A Film Unfinished” - Screenings and Director's Reception

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

 Film Screening at 4:00 PM

Institute for Holocaust, Genocide and Memory Studies

Reception with Director:  6:00 PM

Institute for Holocaust, Genocide and Memory Studies

Film Screening at 7:30 PM

Flavin Auditorium, School of Management Building



Wednesday, March 30th,2011 Thompson Hall, Room 106



Documentary Film screening by Director Dan Makara

Thursday, March 31st - Herter Hall, Room 301


“Language and Identity Formation in the Middle East:

The Case of Arabic”

Franck Salameh

Tuesday, April 5th - Herter Hall, Room 301


“ Hanucomikahs:  A talk mostly about being a cartoonist and some about being a Jew

Hilary Price

Thursday, April 7th - Boyden Gym, Room 249


"The Arts of Counter-Memory"

Horst Hoheisel

Thursday, April 14th - Institute for Holocaust, Genocide and Memory Studies


"A Conversation with Alissa Rosenberg Torres"

Creator of the 9/11 graphic novel

An American Widow

Thursday, April 21st - Herter Hall, Room 301


"The Holocaust in Translation: Ruth Franklin and Peter Filkins Discuss H.G. Adler, Holocaust Literature and Memory"

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011 - Institute for Holocaust, Genocide and Memory Studies


Fall 2010

“Flavius Josephus:

the Man and His Contribution to History”

 Dr. Mireille Hadas-Lebel

Professor of Ancient History & Religious Studies at the Sorbonne

 Tuesday, November 30th - Herter Hall Room 601


“Arab/Jew/Arab Jew: Sephardi youth

and the racialization of Jewishness in France”

Dr. Kimberly Arkin

Department of Anthropology, Boston University 

Wednesday, December 8th - Herter Hall Room 301


Spring 2010

 "Will Eisner's Ideals:

A Panel Discussion on Comics & Society"

with Howard Cruse, Gary Hallgren and Sophia Wiedeman

Tuesday , March 2nd, 4:00 PM - Herter Hall Room 227

Artist-in-Residence Program - Caryl Phillips

April 5th-9th 2010

"Jewish Women Writers in France:

A Sephardic Perspective"

Nina Lichtenstein

Tuesday, April 20th, 4:00 PM - Herter Hall Room 601

"Islam, Secularism & the State Symposium"

Iza Hussin, Banu Subramaniam, Rahsann Maxwell

Wednesday, April 21st, 3:30 PM

Herter Hall Room 301

Film Screening of American Splendor

Film introduced by N. C. Christopher Couch

Tuesday, April 27th, 6:30PM

SOM 137 (Flavin Auditorium)

"The Sexual Transformation of Ashkenaz"

Naomi Seidman

Wednesday, April 28th, 5:00 PM

Herter Hall Room 301

"A Conversation with Harvey Pekar about

'The Jewish Graphic Novel'"

Naomi Seidman and Harvey Pekar

Thursday, April 29th, 5:00 PM

SOM 137 (Flavin Auditorium)


Fall 2009


Suleiman Mourad - Thursday, October 15th, 4:00PM

Bartlett Hall, Room 316

David Biale - Wednesday, October 21st, 4:00PM

Herter Hall, Room 301


Daniel Boyarin - Monday, November 2nd, 3:30PM

Herter Hall, Room 301

Tamar Mayer - Thursday, November 5th, 4:00PM

Herter Hall, Room 301

Donald Weber - Wednesday, November 12th, 4:00PM

Herter Hall, Room 601

 Udi Aloni - Wednesday, November 18th, 7:00PM

Herter Hall, Room 601


Willi Goetschel - Thursday, November 19th, 11:30AM

Brown-Bag luncheon with Judaic/German students

Herter Hall, Room 601


Willi Goetschel - Thursday, November 19th, 4:00PM

Herter Hall, Room 601

Jacquelyn Southern - Wednesday, December 2nd, 4:30PM

Herter Hall, Room 601


Psoy Korolenko - Thursday, December 3rd, 7:00PM

at the National Yiddish Book Center

(on the campus of Hampshire College)



The Robert and Pamela Jacobs
Distinguished Lecture in Jewish Life & Culture:

Yehuda Bauer

Holocaust / Genocide / Today

Monday, April 27, 2009 at 4:30PM in Memorial Hall

Daniel Libeskind
Breaking Ground
Tuesday, May 9, 2006 at 4:30PM in Bowker Auditorium

Naomi Chazan
Israeli Peace Options: Thinking Outside the Box
Tuesday, April 27, 2004 at 4:00PM in Memorial Hall

Dennis Ross (Ambassador)
Missing Peace in the Middle East
Wednesday, May 7, 2003 at 4:30PM in Bowker Auditorium

Other Department Lectures and Visitors

October 18, 2007
The Felix Posen Distinguished Lecture in Secular Judaism Fall 2007
Alanna Cooper, Cultural Anthropologist
Culture, Diaspora, Gender: Whither Jewish Studies

April 5, 2007
Rebecca Stein, Duke University
Tourism, Israeli Identity, and Cultural Terms of the Oslo Process

March 13, 2007
Idith Zertal, University of Basel, Switzerland
Israel's Memory of the Holocaust and the Israeli-Arab Conflict

February 15, 2007
Larissa Remennick, Bar-Ilan University
The Gender Perspective in Immigration Research: The Case of Former Soviet Jews in Israel and in the West

February 6, 2007
Adolfo Roitman, Israel Museum, Jerusalem and Schecter Institute of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem
From Biblical Land to Secular Country

November 13, 2006
John Davis, University of Connecticut
The Jews of San Nicandro: An unlikely tale of collective conversion in 20th century Italy

November 7, 2006
Dorit Naam, Queen's University, Canada

November 2, 2006
James E. Young, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Out of Egypt by Andre Aciman (book discussion)

September 12, 2006
Chaim Cohen, Ben Gurion University, Israel
The Ancient Critical Misunderstanding of Exodus 21:22-25 and Its Implications for the Current Debate on Abortion

May 3, 2006
The Felix Posen Distinguished Lecture in Secular Judaism Spring 2006
at 5:00PM, in 601 Herter Hall, UMass
Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi (Duke University) and Bernard Avishai (Duke University)
Jerusalem, Politics, and Poetry

April 18, 2006
Matthew Bogdanos (Author)
Thieves of Baghdad: The Journey to Recover the World's Greatest Stole Treasure

April 4, 2006
Jay Berkovitz (Judaic Studies), Tayeb El-Hibri (Middle Eastern Studies) and David Mednicoff (Legal Studies)
Recent developments in Israel and Palestine

March 7, 2006
Jay Berkovitz (UMass Amherst) and Alanna Cooper (UMass Amherst)
The Forgotten Refugees, film screening and discussion

February 2, 2006
Adolofo Roitman (Scholar and Curator of the Dead Sea Scroll Collection at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and senior lecturer at Schecter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem
The Significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls For Judaism and Christianity

October 19, 2005
Esther Dischereit (Poet, novelist, essayist, stage and radio dramatist)
reading and discussion of her recent work

September 21, 2005
Murray Baumgarten (University of California, Santa Cruz)
American Midrash: Urban Jewish Writing and the Reclaiming of Judaism

April 19, 2005
Julian Weiss (King's College in London)
The Clerics and the Jews: Narratives of Tolerance and Persecution in Thirteenth-Century Spain

February 16, 2005
Menachem Wiesenberg (Jerusalem Academy of Music)
A Composer’s Responsibility to a Society in a Pressure Cooker

February 10, 2005 The Felix Posen Distinguished Lecture in Secular Judaism Spring 2005
Rachel Elior (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Judaism and Democracy

November 17, 2004
Wolfgang Kohlhaase (Screenwriter)
The Naked Man on the Athletic Field

November 15, 2004
Wolfgang Kohlhaase (Screenwriter)
The Gleiwitz Case

November 15, 2004
Renata Stih and Frieder Schnocl (Artists)
Public Art and Social Sculpture

November 9, 2004
Avaraham Burg (Former Speaker of the Israeli Knesset and Geneva Accord Negotiator)
Struggling Towards Peace in Time of Terror

November 7, 2004
Daniel Goldhagen (Harvard University)
What is New About the New Anti-Semitism?

November 1, 2004
Marcie Herschman (Tufts University)
What is a Jewish American Writer?

October 26, 2004
Hanno Loewy (University of Konstanz, Germany)
Shadows and Innocence: Bela Balazs Methaphoric Childhood after the War and the Holocaust

October 21, 2004
The Felix Posen Distinguished Lecture in Secular Judaism Fall 2004
David Biale (University of California Davis)
God’s Language and the Making of Secular Jewish Culture

May 3, 2004
Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg (University of London)
Seduced into Eden: the Beginning of Desire

April 27, 2004 The Robert and Pamela Jacobs Distinguished Lecture in Jewish Life & Culture
Naomi Chazan (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Israeli Peace Options: Thinking Outside the Box

March 25, 2004
Jyl Lynn Felman (UMass)
The Death of Metaphor in Jewish Women’s Writing

March 30, 2004
Elizabeth Castelli (Columbia University)
Christian Commemorations of Suffering: Ancient and Modern Debates over Spectacles of Violence

March 23, 2004
Kenneth Stowe (Haifa University)
The Bread, the Children, and the Dogs: Continuity in the Jewish-Catholic Relationship

March 10, 2004
Olga Gershenson (Bridgewater State College)
Gesher: Russian Theatre in Israel; the Rhetoric of Cultural Colonization

March 9, 2004
Marjorie Agosin (Author and Poet)
The Angel of Memory/El Angel De La Memoria

November 13, 2003
Laura Levitt (Temple University)
Peering Out from under a Long Shadow: Remembering Ordinary Jewish Loss

November 10, 2003
Daniel Boyarin (University of California)
Thinking Hybridity in Language: The Semantics of Orthodoxy

November 4, 2003
Chaim Cohen (Ben Gurion University)
The New Yehoash Inscription in Biblical Hebrew: Fact or Fiction?

October 23, 2003
Alanna Cooper (UMass)
“If we are not Sephardi Jews then who are we?” Diaspora, Reunion and Bukharan Jewish Identity

May 7, 2003 The Robert and Pamela Jacobs Distinguished Lecture in Jewish Life & Culture
Dennis Ross (Ambassador)
Missing Peace in the Middle East

April 23, 2003
Horst Hoheisel (Renowned German Artist)
The Art of the Counter-monument

April 15, 2003
Mario Kessler (Center for Contemporary Historical Research in Potsdam, Germany)
Zionism and the International Labor Movement

April 14, 2003
Hanno Loewy (University of Konstanz in Germany)
The Mother of All Holocaust Films? Wanda Jakubowska' Auschwitz-Trilogy
Lecture followed by a screening of Jakubowska's The Last Stage

December 11, 2002
Tal Ilan (Harvard University)
Cooks/Poisoners, Healers/Killers, Religion/Witchcraft: Jewish Women's Religion in Greco-Roman Antiquity

November 19, 2002
Ruth Ellen Gruber (Author and Journalist)
Virtually Jewish: Reinventing Jewish Culture in Europe

November 13, 2002
John Felstiner (Stanford University)
"Still Songs to Sing": Holocaust Art, Music, and the Translating of Poetry

November 7, 2002
Laurence Thomas (Syracuse University)
Blacks and Jews: The Question of Group Autonomy and Narrative Identity

October 2, 2002
Hanno Loewy (University of Konstanz)
Survivor as Villain: Auschwitz Fantasies and Revenge in Popular Films

September 24, 2002
Frank Stern (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)
Vienna as the Cradle of Jewish Film: Freud meets Lot's Wife and Moses Crosses the Danube

May 7, 2002
Catherine Portuges (UMass)
Jewish Assimilation & European Identity in Szabo's film "Sunshine"

May 7, 2002
Larry Goldbaum (Office of Jewish Affairs, UMass)
The Challenges of Inter-Ethnic Collaboration at UMass

April 23, 2002
James E. Young (UMass)
Looking into the Mirrors of Evil: Reflections on the Recent Jewish Museum Exhibition

April 18, 2002
Philip Graubart (National Yiddish Book Center)
Trends in Contemporary Jewish Narrative

April 11, 2002
Deborah Lipstadt (Author)
Holocaust on Trial

April 9, 2002
Susan Shapiro (UMass)
Gender and Judaism

March 14, 2002
Maurianne Adams (UMass) and John Bracey (UMass)
Neighbors and Strangers: African-Americans and Jews

March 7, 2002
Anita Diamant (Author)
Writing Women's Lives

February 28, 2002
Federick Busi (UMass)
Gougenot des Mousseaux and his Impact on French and German Antisemitism

February 21, 2002
Emanuel Rubin (UMass)
Music in Israel Today: National, Ethnic, and Religious Forms

February 14, 2002
Jay R. Berkovitz (UMass) and Tayeb El-Hibri (UMass)
The Role of Religion in the Middle East Conflict

December 5, 2001
Candelario Saenz
The Secret Jews of Spain, Portugal, and the U.S.

December 4, 2001
Ralph Melnick (Williston Academy)
Doing Jewish Biography

November 29, 2001
Julius Lester (UMass)
Ashkenazi/Non-Jewish Latino Relations in the U.S.

November 8, 2001
Harley Erdman (UMass)
Ashkenazim and Sephardim in Cuba

October 18, 2001
Ilan Stavans (Amherst College)
Ashkenazi/Sephardi and Non-Jewish Latino Relations in Mexico

October 15, 2001
Peter Stansky (Stanford University)
The Sassoons and John Singer Sargent: An Anglo-Jewish Collection?

May 10, 2001
Arnold Dashefsky (UConn)
Where is American Jewry Headed? A Sociological Analysis

May 1, 2001
Larry Goldbaum (UMass)
The Challenges of Inter-Ethnic Collaboration at UMass

April 24, 2001
Robert Rothstein (UMass)
Speaking Jewish: Jewish Languages and Jewish Identity

April 17, 2001
Judith Plaskow (Manhattan College)
Judaism and the Feminist Challenge

April 13, 2001
Eugene Pogany (B.U. School of Medicine)
A Lot to Think About: Jewish/Christian Relations; Family Relationships; the Holocaust

April 3, 2001
Aviva Ben-Ur (UMass)
The Jews of Suriname: Sephardic-Ashkenazic Rift

April 3, 2001
Linda Gradstein (NPR)
Israel Currently

March 27, 2001
James Young (UMass)
The Holocaust, Memory and Jewish Identity

March 7, 2001
Margalit Matitiahu (Bar-Ilan University)
Ladino Poetry and Writing after Auschwitz

February 27, 2001
Kenneth Stow (Haifa University)
The Church, the Pope, and the Holocaust

February 13, 2001
Daniel Sinclair (Law School of the College of Management)
Separating Conjoined Twins: Jewish Bio-Ethical Perspectives

November 14, 2000
Sandy Warren (Solomon Schechter Day School)
A Jewish Day School Grows in Northampton

October 24, 2000
Jay R. Berkovitz (UMass)
Teaching Jewish History: Toward What Educational Aims?

October 11, 2000
Rona Sheramy (Bard College)
Defining Lessons: The Holocaust in American Jewish Education, 1945 to Present



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