"This week, as we mark the 25th anniversary of the greatest single loss of Jewish lives outside Israel since the Holocaust, it is imperative that we grapple with anti-Semitism as a global issue. An ideology that combines racism and right-wing politics, anti-Semitism has long pervaded Europe and the United States - and South America." Read more in the Washington Post op-ed by Prof. Rebecca Kobrin and Prof. Federico Finchelstein (The New School).
Prof. Beth Berkowitz’s essay “The Slipperiness of Animal Suffering: Revisiting the Talmud’s Classic Treatment” was published in Jewish Veganism and Vegetarianism.
Solomon Wiener (Undergraduate Israel Fellow '18, CC '19) writes about the history of the Institute in The Current, a student journal of contemporary politics, culture, and Jewish affairs at Columbia University.
We are delighted to announce that the winners of the Baron New Voices in Jewish Studies Award are Elazar Ben Lulu (Ph.D., Ben Gurion University) and Alon Tam (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania). Elazar Ben Lulu works on issues of gender and ritual in Israeli Reform congregations; his research lies at the intersection of social sciences and Jewish Studies. Alon Tam’s work investigates the urban, social, and political history of Cairo’s coffeehouses, from the mid-19th to the early 20th century. Both recipients demonstrate the impressive vibrancy of scholarship being done by the next generation of Jewish Studies scholars. We will be welcoming them to our campuses in the coming academic year.
Columbia University’s Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies and Fordham University’s Center for Jewish Studies are delighted to announce that the joint post-doctoral fellowship in Jewish Studies for the 2019-2020 academic year will be held by Ayelet Brinn (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2019), whose dissertation on gender and the press examines the role "women's content" in American Yiddish press played in the history of the press, design, and format, and the Americanization of immigrant Jews. Her presence will add new dimensions to the teaching of modern Jewish history across a broad spectrum of interests. We look forward to welcoming her to our growing joint community of scholars.
This fellowship has been made possible by the Stanley A. and Barbara B. Rabin Postdoctoral Fellowship Fund at Columbia University and the Eugene Shvidler Gift Fund at Fordham University.
The Institute welcomed Jonathan D. Sarna to share his research on Cora Wilburn, the first Jewish novelist in America. The sold-out event included students, faculty, and members of the public. The lecture was presented in partnership with the Naomi Foundation, whose work is to advance the teaching and learning of Yiddish, particularly in academic and scholarly settings.
Rebecca Kobrin's essay, "A Jewish American Success Story" was featured in the playbill of The Lehman Trilogy now playing at the Park Avenue Armory.
On March 28, Rebecca Kobrin briefed Mayor Bloomberg on the current rise in global anti-Semitism at Bloomberg News and on April 10, she was invited to participate in a small, high-level consultation with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief about the trajectory of antisemitism in the United States at the American Jewish Committee.
Rebecca Kobrin spoke about Jewish migration to the United States at The Global Forum of the National Library of Israel (held March 17-19 in Jerusalem).
The Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies is thrilled to offer an array of courses devoted to Israel and Jewish Studies. Classes include Music in New York, Israeli Law v. Jewish Law, and Trauma in Yiddish Lit. Click here for a full list of classes.
On Thursday, March 28, the Institute and Columbia Journalism School hosted a panel discussion entitled Don’t Panic, Don’t Ignore: How to Report on Hate, curated by Gershom Gorenberg, Knapp Adjunct Senior Research Scholar and Adjunct Professor of Journalism. It brought together Adam Serwer, staff writer at The Atlantic, Laurie Goodstein, Deputy International Editor for The New York Times, Jane Eisner, former editor-in-chief of The Forward, Rachel Glickhouse, Partner Manager for the Documenting Hate project at ProPublica in conversation with Columbia Journalism School professor Samuel G. Freedman. The panel discussion was very well attended and included members of the press and public, and a mix of students from the Journalism School and IIJS. This event, the third that has been produced in partnership with the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism was a seamless collaboration, with many thanks to the Knapp Family Foundation.
On Monday, February 25, Tina Fruhauf, shared highlights from Experiencing Jewish Music in America: A Listener’s Companion. Participants had the pleasure of hearing cantorial music from Yossele Rosenblatt and versions of Vay Mir Bist Du Schoen by Molly Picon and the Barry Sisters.
Dr. Fruhauf will be teaching an undergraduate class in the Fall entitled “Jewish Music in New York.”
Prof. Rebecca Kobrin weighs in on anti-Semitism in Newsweek.
Prof. Yinon Cohen, along with Tel Aviv University's Prof. Noah Levin Epstein and Prof. Amit Lazarus, examine the gaps between third generation Mizrachi and Ashkenazi Jews in Israel. Read more.
Prof. Rebecca Kobrin participated in a panel discussion on the rise of global anti-Semitism. Keep reading for the full transcript and video.
On February 21, over 215 people joined us for a conversation on Polish-Jewish relations during WWII. This lecture was part of series of four events, jointly organized by the Jewish Studies Program at Fordham University, the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies at Columbia University, and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, meant to explore the complex history of Poland, with its shifting borders, focusing in on a shared, but much misunderstood, past of Polish Jews and Christians. The fourth and final event will take place on Sunday, May 5 at YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. More details here.
On Monday, February 18, the Institute hosted author Moshe Sakal as part of our Israeli Author Series. Sakal discussed his latest book, The Diamond Setter, with a sold-out crowd. He described how he wanted to tell a story “of the Middle East, not the story of the Middle East” and explored various boundaries and borders, both physical and psychological, within this book. Sakal described the feeling of having multiple homelands and the idea of “carrying [his] diaspora in [his] suitcase.”
Before the lecture, 11 students from Naama Harel’s Readings in Hebrew Texts class discussed various themes from the book in Hebrew.
This past Wednesday, the Institute welcomed members of the public and current students to engage in conversations ranging from Heidegger and the Jews and identity politics in Israel and America.
During our sold-out lunchtime public lecture, Daniel Herskowitz (Rabin-Shvidler Postdoctoral Fellow), shared his research on Heidegger and his relationship with Jewish philosophers, and how Jewish philosophers later reflected on his actions and work. The result was a stimulating conversation on the curious case of Heidegger that slowly reveals itself over time.
In the evening, 25 Undergraduate Israel Fellows kicked off a conversation series for Fellows with Gershom Gorenberg (Knapp Adjunct Senior Research Scholar and Adjunct Professor of Journalism.) Students discussed how Jews are perceived and perceive themselves in Israel and America and on whether Jews are an ethnicity, religion, race, culture…
And the conversation continues. Join us at future public events, and learn more about the Undergraduate Israel Fellowship.
We kicked off our Spring events series with Prince of the Press by Joshua Teplitsky. Highlights include heartless chickens, cows in the margins, and chief rabbi of Prague's, David Oppenheim (1664–1736), monumental book collection.
The story of one of the largest collections of Jewish books, and the man who used his collection to cultivate power, prestige, and political influence.
David Oppenheim (1664–1736), chief rabbi of Prague in the early eighteenth century, built an unparalleled collection of Jewish books, all of which have survived and are housed in the Bodleian Library of Oxford. His remarkable collection testifies to the myriad connections Jews maintained with each other across political borders. Oppenheim’s world reached the great courts of European nobility, and his family ties brought him into networks of power, prestige, and opportunity that extended from Amsterdam to the Ottoman Empire. His impressive library functioned as a unique source of personal authority that gained him fame throughout Jewish society and beyond. His story brings together culture, commerce, and politics, all filtered through this extraordinary collection. Based on the careful reconstruction of an archive that is still visited by scholars today, Joshua Teplitsky’s book offers a window into the social life of books in early modern Europe.
Hear from Joshua Teplitsky on what has been described as "an intellectual feast for historians and an indispensable treasure for book lovers of all kinds."
Supported by the generosity of the Kaye Family
Joshua Teplitsky is assistant professor of history at Stony Brook University. He specializes in the history of the Jews in Europe in the early modern period and in the study of books and media. He lives in New York City.