JBuzz News April 14, 2014: Sylvia Barack Fishman earns national Jewish studies honor




Fishman earns national Jewish studies honor

Source: Brandeis University, 4-14-14

Sylvia Barack Fishman, the chair of the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies Department, the Joseph and Esther Foster Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life, and co-director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University, is 2014 recipient of the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry’s Marshall Sklare Award….READ MORE

JBuzz News February 13, 2014: Jennifer Hoyer: Professor Recognized for Work Establishing Jewish Studies Program




Professor Recognized for Work Establishing Jewish Studies Program

Source: The Arkanas Traveller, 2-13-14

A UA German professor was recognized by the Jewish Federation of Arkansas for outstanding contributions to the Jewish community. Jennifer Hoyer, an associate German professor and acting head of the UA German department, received the Jane B. Mendel….READ MORE


JBuzz News July 4, 2013: AVI CHAI Foundation awards nearly $2 million to Conservative day schools




Nearly $2 million awarded to Conservative day schools

Source: JTA, 7-4-13

The AVI CHAI Foundation awarded nearly $2 million to support the Conservative movement’s Solomon Schechter network of Jewish day schools….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 21, 2013: Barbra Streisand to receive honorary PhD at Hebrew Universty in Jerusalem




Barbra Streisand to receive honorary PHD in Jerusalem

Source: BBC News, 5-21-13

The award is in recognition for her human rights work and dedication to Israel and the Jewish people. Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson, president of the Hebrew University, said they were “deeply proud” to honour her….READ MORE

JBuzz News April 30, 2013: Alvin Rosenfeld: Jewish Studies Program founder awarded Indiana University Bloomington Provost’s Medal




Jewish Studies Program founder awarded IU Bloomington Provost’s Medal

Source: Indiana University, 4-30-13

Indiana University Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel has presented the Provost’s Medal to Alvin Rosenfeld, a distinguished scholar of literature and Holocaust studies who established the university’s Jewish Studies program and led it for decades.

Robel presented the medal at a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies Program at IU Bloomington. Rosenfeld is the Irving M. Glazer Chair of Jewish Studies and a professor of English and Jewish studies in the College of Arts and Sciences….READ MORE

JBuzz News February 28, 2013: Five authors named Sami Rohr Prize finalists




Five authors named Sami Rohr Prize finalists

Source: JTA, 2-28-13

Five authors from three countries were named the finalists for the 2013 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature.

The Jewish Book Council on Wednesday announced the nominees for their works of Jewish fiction.

The nominees are Shani Boianjiu, for “The People Of Forever Are Not Afraid”; Ben Lerner for “Leaving Atocha Station”; Stuart Nadler for ” The Book of Life”; Asaf Schurr for “Motti,”  translated by Todd Hasak Lowy; and Francesca Segal for “The Innocents.”…READ MORE

JBuzz News January 20, 2013: Deborah Dash Moore: History of Jewish New York takes 2012 National Jewish Book Awards honors




History of Jewish New York takes 2012 National Jewish Book Awards honors

Source: JTA, 1-20-13

A history of New York Jewry took Jewish book of the year honors in the 2012 National Jewish Book Awards.

The three-volume “City of Promises: A History of the Jews of New York,” published by the New York University Press and edited by Deborah Dash Moore, won the Everett Family Foundation Jewish Book of the Year award, the Jewish Book Council announced Jan. 15….READ MORE

JBuzz News December 11, 2012: Christoph Dieckmann: British professor awarded Yad Vashem book prize




British professor awarded Yad Vashem book prize

Source: JTA, 12-11-12

A British university professor was awarded the Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research.

Christoph Dieckmann of Keele University was recognized for his two-volume book “German Occupation Policy in Lithuania 1941-1944.”

The Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research, in memory of Holocaust survivor Abraham Meir Schwarzbaum and his family members murdered in the Holocaust, is awarded for path-breaking scholarly research on the Holocaust….READ MORE

JBuzz News October 23, 2012: Posen Foundation launching new Jewish studies fellowships




Posen Foundation launching new Jewish studies fellowships

Source: The Jewish Journal of Greater L.A., 10-23-12

“This new program underscores our commitment to providing crucial early career support to academics in Jewish Studies and Jewish fiction writers, and building bridges between scholars, writers and the general public around the world,” Jesse Tisch….READ MORE

JBuzz News January 15, 2012: David Shneer: University of Colorado Professor’s Book Finalist for 2011 National Jewish Book Award




Shneer’s Book Finalist for 2011 National Jewish Book Award

Source: Boulder Jewish News, 1-15-12

Professor David Shneer, Singer Chair in Jewish History at CU. (Photo by Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado)

Congratulations to David Shneer, Professor of History and Director of the Program in Jewish Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder as his recent book, “Through Soviet Jewish

Eyes: Photography, War and the Holocaust” was selected as a finalist for the 2011 National Jewish Book Award in the Holocaust category.

As the longest-running North American awards program of its kind in the field of Jewish literature, the National Jewish Book Awards is designed to recognize outstanding books of

Jewish interest. Awards were given out for 2011 in fourteen categories. A complete list of the 2011 National Jewish Book Award winners and finalists is available at www.JewishBookCouncil.org.

Joseph Cedar, Yehezkel Dror: Israeli film director & Hebrew U. professor awarded for promoting Jewish unity




Cedar, Hebrew U. professor awarded for promoting Jewish unity

Source: JTA, 10-26-11

Award-winning Israeli film director Joseph Cedar and Hebrew University professor Yehezkel Dror were recognized for their work in promoting global Jewish unity.

Cedar, whose film “Beaufort” was nominated for best foreign film at the 2008 Oscars, and Dror, professor emeritus of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and one of the world’s leading analysts in policy planning and management, were awarded the 2011 NADAV Jewish Peoplehood Award at a ceremony Oct. 23 in Jaffa.

The award, presented by businessman and philanthropist Leonid Nevzlin, founder of the NADAV Foundation, was given to Cedar for his “enhancing Jewish pride and strengthening Jewish identity, particularly within the young generation,” and to Dror for his “life’s work to promote Jewish leadership in Israel and around the world.”

The NADAV Foundation works to support initiatives that advance an understanding of Jewish peoplehood, build Jewish collective identity and create lasting connections among the world’s Jews.

Last year the recipients of the NADAV award were Angelica Berrie, president of the Russell Berrie Foundation and chairman of the Hartman Institute in North America, for her contribution in raising new and pluralistic voices within the Jewish tradition and promoting dialogue among Jews of different backgrounds, and the Latma Group for the video “We Con The World” following the 2010 flotilla incident. The video garnered more than 2 million views on YouTube.

Gershon Hundert: Royal Society of Canada honours nine McGill researchers from Medicine, Law and Arts




Source: McGill Reporter, 9-13-11

Royal Society of CanadaBy Tamarah Feder

The Royal Society of Canada (RSC) announced 78 new Fellows this week, including nine McGill researchers and scholars from the faculties of Medicine, Law and Arts. They join the over 100 current McGill-affiliated Fellows.

Established in 1882, the RSC is the senior national body of distinguished Canadian scholars, artists and scientists. The RSC consists of nearly 2,000 Fellows selected by their peers for outstanding contributions to the natural and social sciences, arts and humanities. As Canada’s national academy, the RSC not only recognizes academic excellence, but it also advises governments and organizations, and promotes Canadian culture.

“This new group of outstanding McGill-based researchers follows a long history of McGill’s presence at this prestigious national academy,” said Professor Heather Munroe-Blum, McGill’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “Their contributions to scholarly excellence benefit not only Canadians, but the international community as well.”

This year’s Fellows from McGill reflect a range of research expertise in the areas of Canadian history, sociology, Jewish history, epilepsy treatment, neuropsychology, cancer epidemiology and pediatrics….

Allan Greer (Department of History) is the leading English-language scholar of early Canada and Quebec. His work has led the way in opening up Canadian history to international currents and has brought a ‘Northern’ perspective to the study of colonial America. “I’m gratified to be honoured in this way and I’m grateful for the way McGill has supported my work.”

Gershon Hundert (Department of Jewish Studies) is an internationally recognized leader in the study of Jewish history, particularly in East Central Europe. His groundbreaking scholarship has fundamentally revised historical narrative by its emphasis on the Polish-Lithuanian-Ukrainian context in which Jews lived. “I am heartened particularly by the fact that this honour comes as a result of the initiative of my colleagues at McGill.”

Yudit Kornberg Greenberg: Rollins professor receives Fulbright grant




Source: Heritage Florida, 8-15-11

Yudit Kornberg GreenbergYudit Kornberg Greenberg

Professor Yudit Kornberg Greenberg, George D. and Harriet W. Cornell Endowed Professor of Religious Studies and director of the Jewish Studies Program at Rollins College, recently received a Fulbright Scholar grant. Dr. Greenberg will be teaching and conducting research during the upcoming fall semester at the University of Bucharest in Romania.

This September, Greenberg will travel to Romania to teach courses in Jewish studies and religious studies. As an expert in these disciplines, she will have the opportunity to share the knowledge and passion she has amassed in her accomplished teaching career. “My scholarship and teaching, my role as the director of the Jewish Studies Program at Rollins College, my leadership roles at the American Academy of Religion, and my international teaching and lecturing have well prepared me for this undertaking,” says Greenberg.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide. Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

“Immersion in foreign cultures has been a high priority in my professional and personal life. I consider travel both a privilege and an educational necessity,” Greenberg says. “Given my Eastern European family origins, I am interested in participating in Romanian multiculturalism, and in contributing to its academic life. I have followed with great interest the development of the field of Jewish studies in Eastern and Central Europe in the last decade and believe that my areas of expertise suit its goals.”

Greenberg is also particularly excited about expanding her knowledge of Romanian multiculturalism, religious traditions, history, and academic life. “This experience will forge academic associations with my home institution, and contribute to Rollins College’s internationalization and its commitment to global citizenship of its students and faculty.”

For more than 60 years, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has funded and supported programs that seek to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is administered by the Institute of International Education.

Reuven Feuerstein: Israeli’s Nobel Prize nod gains momentum



Intellectuals worldwide aim to see renowned psychologist Prof. Reuven Feuerstein win Nobel Peace Prize

Source: Ynet News, 6-12-11

What do a Muslim sheikh from Hebron, a world renowned Venetian intellectual and dozens of professors from the world over have in common with a Jewish educator? They all want the latter to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Several dozen prominent intellectuals will convene in Jerusalem Monday, with the intention of devising a plan meant to see Prof. Reuven Feuerstein become a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

The Nobel Prize Committee has already received a recommendation on Feuerstein’s behalf, for which he said he was honored.

Feuerstein, 90, is a world-renowned clinical, developmental and cognitive psychologist. His lifelong work in developing applied theories in the fields of structural cognitive modifiability, mediated learning experience, deficient cognitive functions, dynamic assessment of learning propensity and shaping modifying environments, to name a few, has been recognized worldwide, and he is considered to be at the top of his field.   In 1992, Feuerstein was awarded the Israel Prize for Social Sciences.

“Since they don’t give a Nobel Prize for education, dad was recommended for the Peace Prize,” Rabbi Raffi Feuerstein, the professor’s son, explained.

“His supporters say that his work saves lives, so he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize, especially when there are precedents for people receiving Nobels outside their discipline.”

Prof. Feuerstein’s methods have found their way to the Amazonas, Rwanda and even the Eskimos, and are now prevalent in Hebron as well: “We visited Hebron and saw the children’s needs there. We are now developing special programs for them,” he said.

According to Yedioth Ahronoth, the learning center in Hebron is one of the reasons one of the most enthused advocates for Feuerstein’s Nobel candidacy is Sheikh Jabbari Farid Khider – one of the city’s most prominent religious figures.

“We also have Gaza in mind,” the professor said. “We want them to send teachers to us and we will train them on how to teach children suffering from genetic disorders.”

Northwestern Professor Kenneth Seeskin wins National Jewish Book Award

Source: JUF, 5-11-11

Kenneth Seeskin, the Philip M. and Ethel Klutznick Professor of Jewish Civilization and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Northwestern University, has been honored with a 2010 National Jewish Book Award from the Jewish Book Council. The Cambridge Guide to Jewish History, Religion, and Culture (Cambridge University Press), co-edited by Seeskin and Judith R. Baskin, of the University of Oregon, received first place in anthologies and collections.

The guide—chosen as the best written, most comprehensive, and most engaging book in its category—offers 21 essays by leading scholars examining an overview of Jewish life from its origins in the ancient Near East to its impact on contemporary pop culture today.

Seeskin, who joined the Northwestern University faculty in 1972, is best known for his interpretation and defense of the rationalist tradition in Jewish philosophy. He has also edited The Cambridge Companion to Maimonides, and authored the award-winning books Maimonides on the Origin of the World and Searching for a Distant God: The Legacy of Maimonides. He accepted the award at the 60th annual National Jewish Book Awards ceremony on March 9 at the Center for Jewish History in New York City.

In an interview with JUF News Seeskin spoke about his award-winning anthology, the rise of Jewish studies programs at academic institutions, and the one thing that unifies all Jews in history….READ MORE

Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize Shortlist 2011

Source: Book Trade, 4-4-11

The Jewish story of exile and displacement is more current and resonant than ever before, as shown by this year’s winning titles for the Booker and Costa Biography Award.

The shortlist for the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize 2011 maps the Jewish story across time and borders, from Baghdad to the Palais Ephrussi, and from the lush Galilee to a desolate post-war German village through the dark shadow of Christian anti-Semitism.

The shortlist is as follows:

· To the End of the Land by David Grossman (Jonathan Cape)

· The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson (Bloomsbury)

· Hare with the Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal (Chatto)

· The Dove Flyer by Eli Amir (Halban)

· Trials of the Diaspora by Anthony Julius (OUP)

· Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck (Portobello)

Chair of the Judging panel Lisa Appignanesi commented “It must be a reflection of the excellence of the books to hand that our short-list judging meeting proved so exhilarating I wanted the discussion to go on and on. But all good voyages have their terminus. The list we arrived at with great consensual enthusiasm is a truly remarkable one: four superb novels, each one extraordinary in its own way; a scintillating memoir, and an argumentative extravaganza that attacks its dark subject with zest.”

The winner will be announced at a ceremony in London on June 6th. Previous winners include Amos Oz, David Grossman, Zadie Smith, Imre Kertesz, Oliver Sacks, WG Sebald…READ MORE

David Biale: Teaching prize awarded to historian of Jewish culture

Source: UC Davis News, 3-8-11

Photo: David Biale portrait next to Roman sculpture posterTeaching prize winner David Biale says: “In history, we take our students on time travel to faraway times and lands, and that is an exciting opportunity for young minds and their intellectual development and imaginations.” (Karin Higgins/UC Davis photo)

UC Davis historian David Biale, a leading expert on Jewish intellectual and cultural history, is the winner of the 2011 UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement.

Established in 1986, the $40,000 prize is believed to be the largest of its kind in the country; it is funded through philanthropic gifts managed by the UC Davis Foundation.

On March 8, UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi interrupted Biale’s History of Modern Israel undergraduate class to announce that he had been selected as the 24th recipient of the honor.

“It is a privilege to award the 2011 UC Davis Teaching Prize to a scholar and educator of David’s caliber,” said Katehi. “His students describe him as engaging and inspiring, and his colleagues describe him as a brilliant scholar and source of pride for his department. The UC Davis prize recognizes, in particular, David’s ability to help his students create the intellectual tools to be successful thinkers in a global community.”

Biale, the holder of the Emanuel Ringelbaum Chair in Jewish History, has been a prolific and dynamic thinker and leader since arriving on campus in 1999.

He founded the Jewish studies program and is now the chair of the history department. The author and editor of 10 books and 74 articles over his 33-year career, he is a three-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award and has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biale will receive the 2011 UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement on Thursday, May 12, at a gala dinner in his honor at the Conference Center Ballroom.

“I am deeply grateful to the donors at the UC Davis Foundation who established this prize and to all of my students and colleagues for making this possible,” said Biale. “Teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels provides its own rewards when working with young minds. I’m humbled and incredibly honored by this award.”

Biale said he looks forward to using the award money to strengthen student opportunities in the history department, particularly in the areas of graduate education and the Jewish studies program.

‘Pivotal’ professor

According to Ron Mangun, dean of the Division of Social Sciences, Biale embodies the attributes of the ideal scholar-teacher envisioned by the donors who created this award. Biale has also twice won the Associated Students of UC Davis Award for Excellence in Teaching.

“Professor Biale’s leadership has been pivotal in creating the highly esteemed program in Jewish studies, a favorite of students and faculty alike,” Mangun wrote in a letter nominating Biale for the prize.

Jamie Forrest, a third-year student double majoring in history and political science, said that Biale teaches history as a “discipline concerned with the human experience rather than as a list of dates and events. He has allowed me to form an emotional and intellectual connection to the historical material he covers in class.”

Alan Taylor, history professor and recipient of the 2002 UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement, described Biale as both a demanding and thought-provoking instructor.

“Even in the largest classes,” Taylor said, “David invites students to explore the most profound questions about human nature and the interplay of despair and hope, of violence and peace, and of oppression and resistance. He expects much from his students, but they rise to his challenge because they recognize the great insight, care and energy that David invests in helping them.”

Biale describes his teaching approach as “old-fashioned” and participatory. His love for Jewish history, traditions and culture comes from the heart, he says.

“I mostly lecture without notes,” he said, “and even in large classes of more than 200 students I try to get them involved. For me, my personal experience with the subject is the greatest help.”

In the past two years, Biale has taught courses on the history of the Holocaust, the memory of the Holocaust, comparative genocide, secular Jewish thinkers and the history of the end of the world.

“Students are very excited by ideas and books. In history, we take our students on time travel to faraway times and lands, and that is an exciting opportunity for young minds and their intellectual development and imaginations,” he said.

Biale earned both his undergraduate and master’s degrees in history at UC Berkeley, and his doctorate at UCLA.

As a young student, Biale was greatly influenced by Jewish thinkers like Baruch Spinoza, a 17th century rationalist who laid the groundwork for the Enlightenment; Gershom Scholem, the preeminent modern scholar of Jewish mysticism; and Jacob Katz; a leading historian of the Jewish people.

The most formative influence was Amos Funkenstein, a Jewish historian under whom Biale wrote his doctoral dissertation.

“He was truly a Renaissance man in terms of intellectual range,” Biale said of Funkenstein. “He was probably the only genius I’ve ever met.”

Biale, who describes himself as a secular Jew, wrote his dissertation on Scholem. He is the author of “Not in the Heavens: The Tradition of Jewish Secular Thought” (Princeton University Press, 2010); “Blood and Belief: The Circulation of a Symbol between Jews and Christians” (University of California Press, 2008); and “Cultures of the Jews” (Schocken, 2006)….READ MORE

Hebrew U. Professor Robert Wistrich Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

Source: Right Side News, 2-27-11

Wistrich Named Leading Scholar In The Field Of Anti-Semitism,

His Masterwork A Lethal Obsession Awarded ‘Best Book Of 2010’

The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (SICSA) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem announced today that the Center’s director, Professor Robert S. Wistrich, has been awarded the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism (JSA) ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ in recognition of his lifelong scholarly contributions to the study of anti-Semitism.

Prof._Wistrich_1Because of his commitment to investigating anti-Semitism and fighting it in all its emerging forms, the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism is proud to acknowledge Prof. Wistrich as the leading scholar in the field and present him with this Lifetime Achievement Award,” the publication’s editors, Steven K. Baum, Neal E. Rosenberg, Lesley Klaff and Steven L. Jacobs, said in a written statement.

“We are appreciative of Prof. Wistrich’s scholarly efforts in the ongoing struggle against anti-Semitism and believe such acknowledgment is long overdue.”

Prof. Wistrich holds the Neuberger chair for Modern European History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is the author and editor of 24 books, several of which have won international awards.  These include Socialism and the Jews, The Jews of Vienna in the Age of Franz Joseph (winner of the Austrian State Prize for Danubian History and Antisemitism), and The Longest Hatred (recipient of the H.H. Wingate Prize for non-fiction in the U.K.).

“His numerous books and articles and invaluable contributions to landmark film projects set the standard for other scholars and have paved the way for graduate students to continue his work in the study of anti-Semitism,” the statement concludes.

The JSA also named Prof. Wistrich’s magnum opus, A Lethal Obsession: Antisemitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad (Random House, 2010), the ‘Best Book of 2010’ on the topic of anti-Semitism.

A Lethal Obsession, an encyclopedic work spanning over 2,000 years of world history, provides a definitive look at the various streams of anti-Semitism through the ages, and explores the connections between the resurgence of global anti-Semitism and contemporary social and political issues….READ MORE

2010 National Jewish Book Awards Announced

The Jewish Book Council crowned Gal Beckerman’s “When They Come For Us, We’ll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry” the Jewish Book of the Year today, as it also named winners in 15 other categories for the 2010 National Jewish Book Awards.

A gala award ceremony will be held on March 9 at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan to honor this year’s winners. Masters of ceremony for the event are Ari. L. Goldman, author and professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and Alana Newhouse, editor-in-chief of Tablet Magazine.

The complete list of award winners is as follows:

Everett Family Foundation
Jewish Book of the Year Award

When They Come For Us, We’ll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Gal Beckerman

Jewish Book Council

Harold Grinspoon

Jewish Book Council
Lifetime Achievement Award

Cynthia Ozick

American Jewish Studies
Celebrate 350 Award

The Rebbe: The Life and Afterlife of Menachem Mendel Schneerson (Princeton University Press)
Samuel Heilman and Menachem Friedman


Jewish Bialystok and Its Diaspora (Indiana University Press)
Rebecca Kobrin

Anthologies and Collections

The Cambridge Guide to Jewish History, Religion, and Culture (Cambridge University Press)
Judith R. Baskin and Kenneth Seeskin, eds.


Promised Lands: New Jewish American Fiction on Longing and Belonging (Brandeis University Press/UPNE)
Derek Rubin, ed.

Jewish Cultural Studies, Volume 2, Jews at Home: The Domestication of Identity (The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization)
Simon J. Bronner, ed.

Howard Johnson: Booker Prize Winner’s Jewish Question “The Finkler Que

Booker Prize Winner’s Jewish Question

Source: NYT, 10-18-10

A funny thing happened when Howard Jacobson won the Man Booker Prize last Tuesday. Instead of the traditional audience reaction — euphoria from the winner’s entourage, anemic clapping underpinned by envy and bitterness from everyone else — the announcement, over dinner at the Guildhall here, was greeted by loud, sustained applause. A smattering of people who were not even related to Mr. Jacobson stood and cheered.


Andrew Testa for The New York Times

Howard Jacobson, winner of the 2010 Man Booker Prize and shown here at his home in central London, says he would prefer to be “the Jewish Jane Austen.”

“I think it’s that I’m someone who’s been around for a long time,” Mr. Jacobson, exhausted but excited, said in an interview two days after. “There was also the feeling that, ‘Thank God an old man’s won it.’ ” (He is 68).

The winning book, “The Finkler Question,” is Mr. Jacobson’s 11th novel; it was published in the United States as a paperback original by Bloomsbury on the same day that the prize was announced. It is an unusual Booker choice, both because it delves into the heart of the British Jewish experience, something that few contemporary British novels try to do, and because it is, on its surface at least, so ebulliently comic. It tells the story of three friends, two Jewish and one, Julian Treslove, who longs to be…..READ MORE

A version of this article appeared in print on October 19, 2010, on page C1 of the New York edition.

Sol Goldberg: U of T fellow pleased to be part of Jewish studies program

Source: The Jewish Tribune, 8-11-09

The Centre for Jewish Studies at University of Toronto (U of T), which began more than 40 years ago as a modest undergraduate program, has become a unique and valuable contribution to this city’s intellectual Jewish life, according to Dr. Sol Goldberg, recipient of the Centre’s new Senator Jerahmiel S. and Carole S. Grafstein Fellowship for advanced research in Jewish thought.

Although relatively young, Franks is a brilliant philosopher whose work also deals with Jewish and general philosophies, especially in the German tradition, Goldberg said. Franks had studied at Oxford and Harvard with some of the great American philosophers of the second half of the 20th century and held posts at top universities.

“What this year means to me is I will be directly mentored by him – a sort of finishing school for philosophers,” Goldberg enthused.

He expects that U of T’s Jewish Studies centre will attract the best minds internationally

Goldberg was the late, famous philosophy professor Emil Fackenheim’s last teaching assistant and one of his last research assistants.

On a personal level, Goldberg – who grew up in Thornhill, graduated in Jewish Studies at McGill University (focusing on Jewish thought and philosophy) and holds a Master’s degree and a doctorate in philosophy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem – is pleased to be back in Toronto, “a great city.”  But what he finds most exciting is the opportunity to study under the mentorship of Professor Paul Franks, Grafstein chair of Jewish philosophy.

“There’s a lot of overlap between Jewish philosophy and general philosophy,” explained Goldberg, whose Ph.D. dissertation was on education and the idea of truth in Plato and Heidegger.

Stephen Levine: Jewish professor receives New Zealand Order of Merit

Source: Jerusalem Post, 6-10-09

Queen Elizabeth II has appointed Victoria University political science professor Stephen Levine an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his “services to education and the Jewish community” of New Zealand.

Prof. Stephen Levine.

Prof. Stephen Levine.
Photo: Courtesy

Levine, who is originally from the United States, moved to New Zealand in 1972, accepting an invitation to teach at the university. His work has been crucial to maintaining the history and life of the country’s Jewish community. “I was just amazed, kind of thrilled really,” Levine said on Wednesday, describing his initial reaction to receiving his award. “Who would have expected that a nice Jewish person from Brooklyn would come to be awarded by the queen?” He also discussed what the appointment meant for the Jewish community as a whole. “The fact that I am honored for servicing the Jewish community means that the community itself has been regarded as having made an important contribution to the development of the country,” Levine said.

Levine has written about the New Zealand Jewish community for the Encyclopedia Judaica, the Encyclopedia of the Jewish Diaspora and the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. His two works – A Standard for the People, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Wellington Hebrew Congregation, and his monumental study, The New Zealand Jewish Community – are an essential source of information for all those trying to understand Jewish communities, especially in the Diaspora. The professor has also written extensively about New Zealand’s politics and international relations. Though he has served as chairman of the New Zealand Jewish Council, as well as other notable leadership positions, Levine maintains that his greatest contribution to the country’s Jewish community has been his recording of its history. “By preserving its history, I have added and preserved its identity,” he said. “If a people forget their history, it will have a hard time surviving in the future.”

Today, according to the Jewish Virtual Library, the Jewish population of New Zealand is estimated at around 10,000, making up 0.23 percent of the total population of 4.2 million. The story of New Zealand’s Jews “is like the story of the Jewish people, trying to survive with limited number… It’s such a small community. Its survival always seems to be somewhat tenuous,” according to Levine Dealing with the problem of “acculturation,” the Jews of New Zealand continue to hold on to their Jewish tradition. “They see an observant Jew, who doesn’t hide the fact that he’s Jewish, who comes to synagogue; a man who comes to Yom Ha’atzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim,” and this inspires others to hold on to their Jewish identities, Levine said.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key expressed his appreciation of the professor as having “made an outstanding contribution” to New Zealand. The honor bestowed upon Levine allowed “the New Zealand public the opportunity” to recognize the Jewish leader’s “hard work, dedication and achievements,” Key said. The honor will be presented to Levine in a ceremony in September.

Jeffrey Veidlinger and Dov-Ber Kerler: Awarded preserving Yiddish memory from before World War II NEH grant

Source: Indiana University, 5-5-09

Preserving Yiddish memory from before World War II NEH grant will enable IU professors to share oral histories collected in Eastern Europe:

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded two Indiana University faculty members $267,000 to preserve and annotate oral histories they collected from Yiddish-speaking residents of Eastern Europe and make the material available to scholars, educators and the public. Professors Jeffrey Veidlinger and Dov-Ber Kerler were awarded the grant through the NEH Preservation and Access program. Their project, which also received a 2005 NEH grant, is called Archives of Historical and Ethnographic Yiddish Memories, or AHEYM — aheym is the Yiddish word for homeward…..

“Many of these people we interviewed hadn’t spoken Yiddish for 20 or 30 years. But the minute you turned it on, they were completely fluent,” said Kerler, the Dr. Alice Field Cohn Chair in Yiddish Studies, professor of Jewish studies and Germanic studies at IU Bloomington. Veidlinger is the Alvin H. Rosenfeld Chair in Jewish Studies and associate professor of Jewish studies and history at IU Bloomington….