Maimonides and the Merchants

The advent of Islam in the seventh century brought profound economic changes to the Middle East and to the Jews living there. The Talmud, written in and for an agrarian society, was in many ways ill-equipped for the new economy. In the early Islamic period, the Babylonian Geonim made accommodations through their responsa, through occasional taqqanot, […]

Colonial Tunisia from the Gutter Up: ‘Ninette of Sin Street.’ Jews, Translation, and Franco-Tunisian Literature

Book launch of the first English-language translation of Vitalis Danon’s Ninette of Sin Street. Originally published in Tunis in 1938, this novella is Danon’s best-known work, and one of the first Tunisian fictions written in French. Ninette is an unlikely protagonist, compelled by poverty to work as a prostitute, she dreams of a better life […]

Primo Levi for the Public

This half-day symposium brings together an array of international scholars and writers engaged with the history, literature, and impact of Primo Levi, a chemist, writer, and humanist who survived Auschwitz and, through his writing, provided generations of students and scholars with the philosophical language to understand the Shoah—and the modern condition. The symposium celebrates the […]

Is the Wandering Jew in Contemporary Israeli Literature a Paradox?

Various ideologies of the early 20th century foresaw an end for the journey of the Wandering Jew in the near future: Communists suggested that he would disappear with the dissolution of nations, Zionists believed that he would return home and no longer be a wanderer. The Wandering Jew has not disappeared from contemporary literature, among […]

Trauma, Privilege, and Adventure in Transit: German Jewish Refugees in Iran and India

This lecture examines the intensely ambivalent and paradoxical experiences of bourgeois Jews who found refuge in the “Orient” of India and Iran after 1933. On the margins of their collapsing and devastated Jewish European world, they lived as hybrids, themselves on the margins, expat, emigré, enemy alien, and refugee, caught uneasily, more or less comfortably, […]

The Essence of Jewish Music from a Composer’s Perspective

From whichever viewpoint we wish to examine Jewish music, we always come back to its role in transforming the mundane into the spiritual. In this lecture, Ben Amots will share his adventures and experiences from the time he served as Artistic Director of the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity through the many years of […]