New Media Jews: “Transparent,” Podcasting, and the Place of Jews in 21st-Century American Culture

How can we explain the prominence of Jews and Jewishness in 21st-century American media? At a moment when companies like Amazon and Netflix were making billion-dollar gambits to reach massive audiences with their own original content, it turned out to be Jill Soloway’s Transparent that proved that a website could beat out the cable and […]

In the Birch Grove and The Forgotten Jew in the City of Youth

Screening of two 30-min. research films that adopt a contemporary perspective to exploring Auschwitz-Birkenau (In the Birch Grove, 2012) and Landsberg-am-Lech (The Forgotten Jew in the City of Youth, 2016). The films pose questions about the discomforting mismatch of beauty and trauma, the banal and the sacred, and contrasting testimonies involving an unlikely perpetrator and […]

Preservation and Innovation: The Tracks of the Master Scribe

When we encounter a text, whether ancient or modern, we typically start at the beginning and work our way toward the end. For biblical and Mesopotamian literature, however, this habit can lead to misinterpretation. In the ancient Near East, “master scribes”—those who held the authority to produce and revise texts—regularly introduced changes in the course […]

Hélène Berr, A Stolen Life (Cosponsored Event)

This exhibition is based on the journal written by Hélène Berr, a young Jewish French woman, whose promising future was brutally cut short by the Vichy Government’s laws and the extermination plan of the Nazis. Studying English Literature at Sorbonne University, Berr was 21 years old when she began her journal. We follow her steps […]

What Does the Word Lesbian Mean in Palestine in 1923?

This seminar is based on an unpublished MS of a novel, written in 1923 by Sara Rappeport (1890-1980) member of kibbutz Beit Alpha, entitled: “The Wives of Sheikh Husseini.” This exceptional novel describes a love affair between a kibbutz member and an Arab Sheikh that ends in marriage, a baby boy named Ishamel, and membership […]

Women, Weddings, and Reversals: Hebrew Comedies of the Renaissance and Baroque Dramatic Readings with Commentary – Cosponsored Event

In anticipation of Purim, this program offers an examination and celebration of the Hebrew dramas of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italy, including Leone de’ Sommi’s talmudic Comedy of Betrothal, originally written as entertainment for this carnivalesque Jewish festival. ARIANE HELOU (UCLA) ERITH JAFFE-BERG (UC Riverside) and DANIEL STEIN KOKIN (UCLA & Universität Greifswald) Sponsored by the […]

Why Study Jewish History?

This event will focus on two recently published books: the first, Jewish History: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2017), offers a concise account of the entire course of Jewish history in 100 pages; the second, The Stakes of History: On the Use and Abuse of Jewish History (Yale, 2018), is an argument for the study […]

Did Adam Fall, Stumble, or Stub His Toe in the Garden of Eden? A New Look at an Ancient Story

This seminar will examine a few salient features of the Garden of Eden story after reconsidering its vocabulary and grammar. The examination yields new insights into the story’s plot that have broad implications for correcting contemporary notions about what it meant and its significance in the context of ancient Israel’s civilization. ZIONY ZEVIT (American Jewish […]