The Jewish Studies Program is co-sponsoring a spring school, "Religion and the Culture of Democracy," in partnership with the Berlin Center for Intellectual Diaspora.
Exploring the emerging issues of growing civil distrust, political polarization, and decomposition of the public sphere as a place of recognition, the conference seeks to recover the concept of authority in a "post-democratic" world. It does so by engaging with religious communities as a type of microcosm of the current crisis.
“Taking a photograph is like an embrace.” This is how internationally renowned photographer Frédéric Brenner opened a virtual workshop conducted with University of Virginia students in March 2022. In only four sessions, Mr. Brenner guided students—most of whom had no formal experience in photography—through urgent questions of our time and of our local place: How can photography build bridges of intimacy? How can it negotiate strangeness? How can it be attentive to social inequity, violence, and trauma without voyeurism?
When Savta (Hebrew for Grandma) agreed to have a biographer help her write her life story in 2015 she did so because she recognized the importance of passing on her memories to future generations. This was not the first time she did something like this, having submitted testimony pages - twice, once in 1957, and again in 1999 - to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center. Each page documented how one of 26 members of her family were killed during the Shoah. Out of the 26 painful stories, 25 remained consistent from 1957 to 2015. But one was different.
This conference took the centenary of the death of the Austrian Jewish social philosopher Popper-Lynkeus as a starting point to re-examine the powers and responsibilities of the modern state. Popper-Lynkeus’s writings on the state’s obligation to provide a minimum of food, housing, welfare, and health care became the center of great attention only in his later years and after the collapse of empires. Among his admirers and interlocutors were prominent figures such as Albert Einstein, Bertha Pauli, Sigmund Freud, Franz Oppenheimer, and Rosa Luxemburg.
Professor Erika Meitner of Virginia Tech, nationally recognized and award-winning poet, joined UVA graduate students and Rachel Winer Manin Fellows Gahl Pratt Pardes and Raisa Tolchinsky for a collective reading and discussion of their work, mapping the connections between creative writing, poetry, and Jewish Studies. Professor Caroline Rody moderated.
Peter Ochs, Edgar Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies at UVA, is retiring this spring. The Jewish Studies Program and the Virginia Center for the Study of Religion co-sponsored an afternoon textual study and an evening panel, "Reasoning for Repair: Peter Ochs as a Practical Philosopher," to honor Professor Ochs' illustrious career. This event was organized by Professor Shankar Nair and Jewish Studies Professor Asher Biemann.
In a lunchtime conversation with Jewish Studies faculty member Professor Caroline Kahlenberg, Dr. Shay Hazkani spoke about his book, Dear Palestine: A Social History of the 1948 War (2021). Dr. Hazkani's book offers a new history of the 1948 war through the examination of hundreds of personal letters by Jewish, Palestinian, and Arab volunteers who fought in the war, or became its victims. It also examines previously unexplored propaganda, disseminated by Israel and Arab states during the war.
Private event for Rachel Winer Manin Fellows of the Jewish Studies Program.
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Laura Arnold Leibman, Professor of English and Humanities at Reed College, gave the 2022 Paul and Dorothy Grob Memorial Lecture on American Jewish Life, "Once We Were Slaves: A Multiracial Jewish Family in Early America," on February 17.
Between 1918 and 1921, over a hundred thousand Jews were murdered in Ukraine by peasants, townsmen, and soldiers who blamed the Jews for the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. In hundreds of separate incidents, ordinary people robbed their Jewish neighbors with impunity, burned down their houses, ripped apart their Torah scrolls, sexually assaulted them, and killed them. Largely forgotten today, these pogroms―ethnic riots―dominated headlines and international affairs in their time. Aid workers warned that six million Jews were in danger of complete extermination.
Before the “Light the Lawn” ceremony at UVA and the celebration of Hanukkah, Lifetime Learning and a panel of UVA Jewish leaders discussed Hanukkah, UVA’s Jewish Studies department, and Jewish life at the university today.
Esther Dischereit – German Jewish poet, artist, essayist, political commentator, and teacher – gave a lecture, "Voices of Survivors," at UVA. The lecture was followed by a roundtable discussion later in the day, which included Jewish Studies Program faculty members Jeffrey Grossman, Jennifer Geddes, Asher Biemann, and Manuela Achilles. The roundtable, with Dischereit participating, discussed the German Department's 1700 Years of Jewish Life in German Speaking Lands exhibit.
The film screening was in conjunction with the opening of an exhibition on Sophie Scholl and the White Rose resistance movement in the “Darden Lounge” on the third floor of Nau-Gibson Hall.
Hosted by the Department of German and the Center for German Studies with the support of the German Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Winner of numerous Best Short Film awards (Boston Jewish Film Festival, Filmfest Bremen, Budapest Film Awards) and other prizes, MASEL TOV COCKTAIL (2020, 30 min.) is an energetic and provocative picture of Jewish life in contemporary Germany. The screening and conversation included co-directors Arkadij Khaet and Mickey Paatzsch, who appeared virtually.
UVA professors, including Jewish Studies Program Director James Loeffler, discussed the case Sines v. Kessler, a federal lawsuit against white supremacists involved in the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville during Aug. 11-12, 2017.
The panel was sponsored by the UVA Jewish Studies Program and the Karsh Center for Law and Democracy.
This was a live event; to view the video recording on YouTube, click here.
Around the beginning of the twentieth century, Jewish writers and artists across Europe began depicting fellow Jews as savages or "primitive" tribesmen. What led figures as diverse as Franz Kafka, Isaac Leybush Peretz, and Else Lasker-Schüler to imagine European Jews in terms identical to colonized non-Western peoples? Dr. Samuel Spinner discussed his revelatory new book about Jewish cultural modernism with UVA Jewish Studies faculty member Jeffrey Grossman.
It may seem obvious that the history of Israel/Palestine matters, first and foremost to the people of this contested political space. The seemingly intractable century-long conflict also often stands at the forefront of American foreign policy. But what broader lessons can we draw from the history of this tiny strip of land along the Mediterranean? And how might we bridge academic and public histories of the region?
In the first event of the 2021-2022 academic year, we returned to our popular online book conversations series.
Dr. Sarit Kattan Gribetz, Associate Professor of Classical Judaism in the Theology Department at Fordham University, discussed her award-winning book, Time and Difference in Rabbinic Literature (Princeton University Press), recipient of a National Jewish Book Award, with UVA Jewish Studies faculty member Elizabeth Shanks Alexander.
UVA Music and Jewish Studies Professor Joel Rubin hosted renowned artists Svetlana Kundish and Patrick Farrell in a concert of new Yiddish songs as part of a collaboration with the UVA Klezmer Music Ensemble. The results of this residency can now be viewed here.
International Jewish Humanitarianism in the Age of the Great War: A Book Conversation with Dr. Jaclyn Granick (Cardiff University)
Dr. Jaclyn Granick, Lecturer in Modern Jewish History at Cardiff University, Wales, presents her new book, International Jewish Humanitarianism in the Age of the Great War (Cambridge, 2021), in conversation with Professor James Loeffler.
Distinguished legal scholar Professor Martha Minow, the 300th Anniversary University Professor and former Dean of the Harvard Law School, presented the annual Paul and Dorothy Grob Memorial Lecture on American Jewish Life. The event was held in the form of a conversation with Professor James Loeffler about global and comparative justice, history, memory, and law, drawing on Professor Minow's recent book, When Should Law Forgive?
Is there a Jewish religious tradition of environmentalism? How does the field of Jewish Studies intersect with the environmental turn in the humanities?
UVA Jewish Studies alum Rachel B. Gross, Assistant Professor and John & Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University, presents her acclaimed new book, Beyond the Synagogue: Jewish Nostalgia as Religious Practice (NYU Press, 2021), in conversation with Professor Vanessa Ochs.