JBuzz News August 25, 2012: Jews: A religious group, people or race?

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Jews: A religious group, people or race?

Source: Jerusalem Post, 8-25-12

Now, Prof. Harry Ostrer has produced a 264-page, English-language volume melding together science, history and biography to better understand the complex subject….READ MORE

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JBuzz Profiles August 21, 2012: Hillel Fradkin: Why Bernard Lewis remains the greatest Middle East historian

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Why Bernard Lewis remains the greatest Middle East historian

Source: Jewish Ideas Daily, 8-21-12

Hillel Fradkin is director of the Center on Islam, Democracy, and the Future of the Muslim World at the Hudson Institute.

Bernard Lewis has published many books and still more articles on the history of the Middle East and Islam.  On these subjects he is, simply, the pre-eminent authority.  At 96, he has now published yet another book, a memoir titled Notes on a Century: Reflections of a Middle East Historian.  It provides a fascinating account of the varied, extraordinary, unexpected life he has led; it also points beyond the personal to questions of history and the vocation of the historian.

As those familiar with Lewis’s work know, he is a master of the telling anecdote, story, or citation—telling because with these devices, he immediately illuminates subjects that he also discusses in more typical scholarly fashion.  The same is true of his memoir, which recounts not just his scholarship but his vast travels in the Muslim world and experiences with his many Muslim friends and acquaintances, all facilitated by his extraordinary command of many languages.  He is, he says, a man who “relishes” language; but his command of his native English is especially complete and gives this book the graceful charm characteristic of his writings.

The theme of the historian’s responsibility is in part expressed, with Lewis’s characteristic modesty, by the book’s subtitle, Reflections of a Middle East Historian—but only in part, because Lewis is not “a” Middle East historian: He was one of the very first modern, professional European historians of the Middle East in the contemporary sense….READ MORE

JBuzz News August 16, 2012: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, and the Weizmann Institute of Science: Three Israeli Universities Rank in Top 100

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Three Israeli Universities Rank in Top 100

Source: The Jewish Press, 8-16-12

View of the Hebrew University campus at "Mount Scopus." Hebrew U. was ranked 53rd in the world.
View of the Hebrew University campus at “Mount Scopus.” Hebrew U. was ranked 53rd in the world.
Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/FLASh90

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, and the Weizmann Institute of Science were ranked in the top 100 universities in Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s authoritative 2012 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).

The Hebrew University achieved the highest rank – 53rd, with the Technion in 78th place, and the Weizmann Institute coming in at 93rd. Significantly, this is the first time that more than one Israeli university made the top 100….READ MORE

JBuzz News August 15, 2012: Jewish studies flourish in China

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Jewish studies flourish in China

Source: The Jewish Journal of Greater L.A., 8-15-12

Yes, there is a burgeoning Jewish studies presence in the most populous country in the world. The most established program in the country is based at Nanjing University, and it is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year….READ MORE

JBuzz News August 14, 2012: Hillel’s new plan: Programming for and by students not so involved in Hillel

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Hillel’s new plan: Programming for and by students not so involved in Hillel

Source: JTA, 8-14-12

Hillel leaders used a recent conference in St. Louis to roll out the organization’s recently approved strategic plan, which pushes the organization even further from relying solely on the traditional model of improving programming inside the walls of campus Hillels for Jewishly engaged students….READ MORE

JBuzz News August 8, 2012: Study at Hebrew University – without the Hebrew

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Study at Hebrew U. – without the Hebrew

Source: Haaretz, 8-8-12

Study at Hebrew U. – without the Hebrew. Israeli universities offer an ever-expanding selection of English-language higher education programs that cater to Jews and non-Jews alike….READ MORE

JBuzz News August 2, 2012: With poetry and scholarship, Daf Yomi Talmud study grows beyond Orthodox

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With poetry and scholarship, Daf Yomi Talmud study grows beyond Orthodox

Source: JTA, 8-2-12

More than 90,000 people packed MetLife Stadium in New Jersey for the Siyum HaShas, celebrating the completion of the Daf Yomi page-a-day Talmud study cycle, Aug. 1, 2012. (Yisroel Golding/Siyumphotos)

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More than 90,000 people packed MetLife Stadium in New Jersey for the Siyum HaShas, celebrating the completion of the Daf Yomi page-a-day Talmud study cycle, Aug. 1, 2012. (Yisroel Golding/Siyumphotos)

As a light drizzle tapered off over MetLife Stadium, more than 90,000 Jews packed into the home of the NFL’s Jets and Giants for an event quite unlike any the popular sports and concert venue had ever seen.

They came dressed in black and white, but not for any sports team. Instead of a raucous kickoff, there was a hushed mincha prayer. And in place of hot dogs, cheesesteaks and beer there was babka, danish and mineral water from a company based in Lakewood, N.J., a center of yeshiva study.

But as at the football games and rock concerts, there was exhilaration at the stadium Wednesday night for the Siyum HaShas – the completion of the 2,711-page Shas, or Talmud, in the page-a-day study cycle known as the Daf Yomi, literally “Daily Page.”…READ MORE

JBuzz News August 2, 2012: 90,000-plus crowd in New Jersey cheers Siyum HaShas

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90,000-plus crowd in N.J. cheers Siyum HaShas

Source: JTA, 8-2-12

Some 90,000 people packed MetLife Stadium to celebrate the completion of the page-a-day Talmud cycle in the largest-ever Siyum HaShas….READ MORE

JBuzz News August 2, 2012: Eugene R. Sheppard, Samuel Moyn & Sylvia Fuks Fried: New Brandeis Book Series Bringing US, Mideast into Jewish Canon

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Book series bringing US, Mideast into Jewish canon

Project is opening doors to a new generation of scholars

Source: Brandeis Now, 8-2-12

Photo/Charles A. Radin

Eugene Sheppard, associate professor of modern Jewish history and thought, and Sylvia Fuks Fried, executive director of the Tauber Institute.

From the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and LifeSection of a painting by Moritz Daniel Oppenheim of an imagined meeting of Moses Mendelssohn (seated left), Gotthold Ephraim Lessing and Swiss theologian Johann Kaspar Lavater at Mendelssohn’s Berlin residence.

With remarkably little fanfare, the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry and Brandeis University Press have launched a new book series that promises to alter profoundly the canon of modern Jewish thought.

Two volumes – one featuring the writings of Moses Mendelssohn, the other recapturing Jewish thinking on race – have already been published. Two more volumes, dealing with diaspora nationalism and Middle Eastern Jewish thought, are due out in the coming academic year. A half dozen more are in the pipeline. And this may be just the beginning for the Brandeis Library of Modern Jewish Thought.

“The idea was born out of frustration,” says Eugene R. Sheppard, associate professor of modern Jewish history and thought, who is co-editing the library with Samuel Moyn, a Columbia University professor of history. “Sam and I were working in these areas of intellectual history in which we could have conversations about texts, but we could only introduce them to our students in a second-hand way” because of a lack of translations.

The two editors collaborated with Sylvia Fuks Fried, executive director of the Tauber Institute and associate editor  of the Tauber Institute Series with Brandeis University Press, to conceive an ambitious set of goals for the project –  introducing new elements to the canon with volumes such as “Modern Middle Eastern Jewish Thought” and “Jews and Race,” reintroducing canonical figures, like Mendelssohn with new texts and perspectives, and opening participation in the library to a new generation of scholars in the field….READ MORE