Mediterranean Studies

The Viterbi Family Program in Mediterranean Jewish Studies

The Viterbi Family Program in Mediterranean Jewish Studies is the first of its kind at a university.  Endowed by Erna and Andrew Viterbi and their children, the program builds on a trend in historical studies to look beyond traditional political boundaries in order to understand transnational commercial and intellectual connections between different groups of people.  The Viterbi program brings an emerging or a distinguished scholar to campus for one or more quarters of instruction.  The endowment also funds quarterly seminars on Jewish communities in Italy, France, Spain, the Balkans, North Africa, Egypt or Israel. We are grateful to the Viterbi family for their vision in establishing The Viterbi Family Program in Mediterranean Jewish Studies and are deeply honored that they chose the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies as the Program’s home.


Viterbi Visiting Professors:

2013-2014 Guri Schwarz

History M181: The Integration of the Jews in Italy from Napoleon to Mussolini

History 191L-2: The Politics of Memory in Post-War Europe

2011-2012 Andrew Berns

History 191L/201-$: Jews of the Italian Renaissance

History 191L/201R: The Past in Medieval Jewish Thought

2009-2010 Sergio DellaPergola

Sociology 159: A Global Overview of Contemporary Jewry: Diaspora and Israel

Sociology 180A: Italy and the Jews: History, Politics and Identity

2008-2009 Federica Francesconi

History M181/Jewish Studies M181, Lec. 2 History of Jews in Italy

History 191L Jewish Women: A Historical Perspective 

2007-2008 Robert Bonfil

History M181: Jewish Life in Renaissance Italy

History 191L/201R: Jewish historical writing in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance

2006-2007 Fabrizio Lelli

Italian 191: Intellectual Exchanges Between Jews and Christians in Renaissance Italy

Italian 298: Jewish intellectual activities in 15th century Italy


Daily Bruin article .
Jewish Journal article here.


Viterbi Seminars

May 11, 2010 - Seth Schwartz (Columbia University)

"Were the Jews a Mediterranean Society? Reciprocity and Solidarity in Ancient Judaism"

March 10, 2010 - Sergio DellaPergola (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
"The Jews of Italy's Response to Challenge: Past, Present and Future"

May 21, 2009 - Federica Francesconi

"Moisè Formiggini and His New Jewish Society:

An Italian Path toward Emancipation from the Ghetto to the Napoleonic Age"

April 22, 2009 - Moshe Idel (Hebrew University)

"Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov: New Perspectives on the Founder of Hasidism"

October 27, 2008 - Brian Copenhaver (UCLA)

"Jews Masons and Cabalists: The Renaissance as Ideology and the Italian Rosorgimento"

March 3, 2008 - Daniel Stein Kokin (Harvard University) and Deanna Aronoff (Graduate Theological Union)

"In Pursuit of the Holy tongue: Jewish and Christian Studies of Hebrew in the Italian Renaissance"

Nov. 5, 2007 - Ariella Lang (Barnard College)

"Pius XII, Mussolini and the Jews: Towards a Culture of Exclusion"

April 24, 2007 - Robert Bonfil (Hebrew University)

"The Historian's Craft in Renaissance Italy-The Case of Josef ha-Kohen"

Nov. 14-16, 2006 - Giovanni Contini (UCLA Regents' Lecturer)

"The Collective Memory of WWII and of the Civil War in Italy (1940-1945)"

May 10, 2006 - Crofton Black (Author)

"Allegory and an Early Christian Cabalist: the Isagoge of Paulus Ricius (1509-1540)"

May 2, 2006 - Lili Gruber (Journalist and Member of European Parliament)
Feb. 14, 2006 - Moshe Idel (Hebrew University)

"Italy as a Gate and Center of Jewish Mysticism: 850-1300"

Dec. 8, 2005 - Joanna Weinberg (Cambridge University)

"Azariah de' Rossi (1511-1577): An Exceptional Italian Jew of the Renaissance"


Viterbi Symposia

May 18, 2008 - "Remembrance of Things Past"

This symposium, cosponsored by the UCLA Department of Italian, focused on the ways in which Jews and Christians remembered and wrote about the past in medieval and early modern times. It featured three leading scholars of European and Jewish history. Podcasts of their lectures are available here:

Gabrielle Spiegel (Johns Hopkins University)

Robert Bonfil (Hebrew University)

Bernard Cooperman
(University of Maryland)

May 13, 2007 - "Intellectual Relations between Jewish and Christian Scholars in Renaissance Italy"

Francesca Bregoli (University of Pennsylvania)
Brian Copenhaver (UCLA)
Fabrizio Lelli (Lecce/UCLA)

May 7, 2006 - "The Italian Jewish Kitchen: A Gastronomic and Historical Tour"

Luigi Ballerini (UCLA)
Gino Angelini (Master Chef, Angelini Osteria)

March 5, 2006 - "Di Razza Ebraica: Jewish Intellectuals, Fascism, and Anti-Semitism in 20th-Century Italy"

Simon Levis Sullam (Italian Academy, Columbia University)
Michele Sarfatti (Fondazione Centro di Documentazione Ebraica contemporanea CDEC)
Guri Schwarz (University of Pisa)