JBuzz Reviews May 31, 2013: New York Times Reviews Ruth R. Wisse: No Joke: Making Jewish Humor

JBUZZ: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

JBuzz_banner

JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

‘No Joke,’ by Ruth R. Wisse

Source: NYT, 5-31-13

No Joke: Making Jewish Humor
Ruth R. Wisse

Princeton University Press

Reviews | Table of Contents | Introduction [PDF]

https://i1.wp.com/press.princeton.edu/images/k9942.gif

“No Joke,” a subtle and provocative new book by Ruth R. Wisse, who teaches Yiddish literature at Harvard, recounts the long history of Jewish humor and brings it up to date. She includes the effects of the Holocaust and Stalin on Jewish storytelling; she discusses American humorists from the borscht belt stand-ups of the 1940s to Larry David, and novels from Philip Roth’s “Portnoy’s Complaint” to Howard Jacobson’s “Fink­ler Question,” which won the Man Booker Prize in 2010. And she reviews the lively state of humor in Israel today….READ MORE

Advertisements

JBuzz News May 7, 2013: Ted Merwin: Judaic studies speaker examines ‘non-Jews’ involvement in Jewish life

JBUZZ: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

JBuzz_banner

JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

Judaic studies speaker examines ‘non-Jews’ involvement in Jewish life

Source: Scranton Times-Tribune, 5-7-13

The University of Scranton Weinberg Judaic Studies Institute hosted a lecture by Ted Merwin, Ph. D., entitled “You Don’t Have to Be Jewish: Non-Jews’ Growing Investment in Jewish Life” in Brennan Hall’s Pearn Auditorium….READ MORE

JBuzz News May 1, 2013: No White House party? What’s a Jew to do during Jewish American Heritage Month

JBUZZ: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

JBuzz_banner

JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

No White House party? What’s a Jew to do during Jewish American Heritage Month

Source: Jewish Telegraphic Agency (blog), 5-1-13

May is Jewish American Heritage Month, a commemoration first recognized by President George W. Bush in 2006. Since then, hundreds of programs have taken place nationwide annually to honor the rich contributions of Jews to American culture and society….READ MORE

JBuzz News March 31, 2013: Historic Jobar Synagogue in Damascus was looted and burned

JBUZZ: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

JBuzz_banner

JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

Historic Damascus synagogue looted and burned

Source: JTA, 3-31-13

The 2,000-year-old Jobar Synagogue in the Syrian capital of Damascus was looted and burned to the ground. ….READ MORE

JBuzz News March 23, 2013: 101 Years of the Maxwell House Haggadah

JBUZZ: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

JBuzz_banner

JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

101 Years of the Maxwell House Haggadah

Source: Forward, 3-23-13

If you’ve been to a Seder in the United States some time in the last 80 years, you’ve probably come across the Maxwell House Haggadah.

The iconic blue cover and dual-column Hebrew and English translations have arguably become almost as emblematic of the holiday as the Seder plate and Elijah’s cup among Jews of the Diaspora. It has appeared in the suitcases of Soviet immigrants bound for Israel, been carried onto every battlefield the US military has fought on since 1933, and been the guest of honor at the Obamas’ White House Seder….READ MORE

JBuzz News March 23, 2013: Passover and the tradition of sharing a Seder meal and a Haggadah story

JBUZZ: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

JBuzz_banner

JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

Passover and the tradition of sharing a Seder meal and a Haggadah story

Source: Toledo Blade, 3-23-13

Detail from  "The Four Questions" as depicted in Arthur Szyk's "The Szyk Haggadah".  Leonard Baskin's "A Passover Haggadah", Ben Shahn's "A Haggadah for Passover", and Arthur Szyk's "The Szyk Haggadah"  all owned by the Toledo Museum of Art. Detail from “The Four Questions” as depicted in Arthur Szyk’s “The Szyk Haggadah”. Leonard Baskin’s “A Passover Haggadah”, Ben Shahn’s “A Haggadah for Passover”, and Arthur Szyk’s “The Szyk Haggadah” all owned by the Toledo Museum of Art. THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER Enlarge | Buy This Photo
Many Jews and other religious people mark Passover with the tradition of sharing a Seder meal and a Haggadah story, which tells about the Hebrew people during the scriptural time of their captivity in Egypt and their exodus to freedom. It is a time for family, including children, and friends.

Seder meals are often served the first two nights of Passover; Hasidic and other Orthodox Jews might have a third meal on the last day, for the messiah who has not yet come. Passover, or Pesach, begins at sundown Monday and the holiday lasts eight days, ending when daylight is over April 2….READ MORE 

JBuzz News December 6, 2012: Rabbi Elijah Schochet: Humility vs. humiliation

JBUZZ: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

JBuzz_banner

JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

Humility vs. humiliation

Source: The Jewish Journal of Greater L.A., 12-6-12

“Humility is a quality that Judaism emphasizes to an extraordinary degree,” said Schochet, a professor of Talmud at the Academy of Jewish Religion, California (AJRCA), speaking during the panel discussion “Humility and Humiliation,” at AJRCA on Nov. 26….READ MORE

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

JBUZZ: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

JBuzz_banner

JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

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

JBuzz News July 15, 2012: Devin Naar: Rushing to Preserve Ladino Legacies with First Digitized Library

JBUZZ: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

JBuzz_banner

JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

Rushing to preserve Ladino legacies

Source: JTA, 7-15, 12

Devin Naar, a University of Washington assistant professor in Jewish studies, is creating the first digitized library of Ladino source materials….READ MORE

JBuzz News April 30, 2012: Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization: A Ten-Volume Look at Jewish Culture

JBUZZ: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

JBuzz_banner

JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

A Ten-Volume Look at Jewish Culture

Source: NYT, 4-30-12

Yale University Press and the Posen Foundation are embarking on a 10-volume anthology that covers more than 3,000 years of Jewish cultural artifacts, texts and paintings. “This monumental project includes the best of Jewish culture in its historical and global entirety,” the editor in chief, James E. Young, a professor of English and Judaic Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said in a news release. “It will provide future generations with a working legacy by which to recover and comprehend Jewish culture and civilization.”

The series, called the Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization, is starting at the end, with Volume 10, a collection of works that date from 1973 through 2005 and include cultural figures like the writers Saul Bellow and Judy Blume, the architect Frank Gehry, the sculptor Louise Nevelson, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Harvard law professor Alan M Dershowitz. (Volume 1 will begin in the second millennium B.C.) More than 120 scholars are expected to work on the project, according to John Donatich, director of Yale University Press.

Volume 10 is scheduled for publication in November, as is a companion book titled “Jews and Words” by the Israeli author Amos Oz and his daughter, Fania Oz-Salzberger, a history professor.

JBuzz News April 3, 2012: Elon University: New Jewish studies minor unites courses into comprehensive study of culture

JBUZZ: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

JBuzz_banner

JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

Elon University: New Jewish studies minor unites courses into comprehensive study of culture

Source: Elon Pendulum, 4-3-12

It was during his first semester on campus that sophomore Mason Sklut discovered his interest in Jewish history and culture. Now, with the addition of a new program in Jewish studies, Sklut will graduate with a minor in the topic he loves.

Professor Geoffrey Claussen has been instrumental in the creation of the Jewish Studies Program. File photo by Julia Sayers.

“My first semester, I took Jewish Traditions with Michael Pregill, where I learned about how Judaism has become what it is today,” Sklut said. “Going back thousands of years in this class and discovering the ancient roots of my religion was an incredible experience for me.”

Sklut has taken multiple additional courses about Judaism and said he is fascinated with the diversity of the religion. The new program offers students an interdisciplinary minor tracing the culture and history of the religion.

“In many courses, it’s seeing how the community, generally throughout history, functioning as a minority group, related to other surrounding communities,” said Geoffrey Claussen, assistant professor of religious studies. “Being able to trace the very diverse experiences of the community through very different times and places is what the minor seeks to encourage.”

Claussen, who arrived at the university in the fall and has been instrumental in the formation of the program, said it seeks to unite a range of courses — including religious studies, foreign language, philosophy and sociology, among others — to illustrate the complexity and diversity of the Jewish communities.

Students interested in obtaining the minor must complete 20 credit hours, four in Jewish Traditions and the others from a selection of more than 35 course offerings.

Claussen said he has already spoken to some students who have fulfilled some of the requirements for the minor.

It is important for all students at Elon to have the opportunity to be exposed to religious diversity, and to explore further into traditions that they may be unfamiliar with.
– Junior Diana Abrahams

“Some students have had in mind over the last year that this was probably coming up, and they have planned ahead to some degree,” he said. “Or, just because of their own academic interests, some students have ended up taking many of the required courses.”

Junior Diana Abrahams will have completed all 20 credits by the end of the spring based on courses she was already enrolled in. Abrahams, who is Jewish, said she enjoys engaging in conversation about her religion.

“It is important for all students at Elon to have the opportunity to be exposed to religious diversity, and to explore further into traditions that they may be unfamiliar with,” she said.

Academic interest in Jewish studies has increased in North America in recent years, Claussen said, and the creation of such a program at Elon is beneficial to the university.

“Jewish families considering Elon have asked in recent years about whether there will be a Jewish studies program, and this program helps to make Elon attractive to that whole group of students,” Claussen said. “And this includes students who may not necessarily choose to minor in Jewish studies, but who want to know that the college supports taking the Jewish experience seriously as part of the liberal arts education.”

JBuzz News February 7, 2012: Jenna Weissman Joselit: Jewish Culture Gets A ‘Master’ Class at George Washington University

JBUZZ: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

JBuzz_banner

JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

Jewish Culture Gets A ‘Master’ Class

Jenna Weissman Joselit.

Jenna Weissman Joselit.

New G.W. graduate program to develop next generation of arts administrators for cultural institutions.

In the last decade, study after study has shown that Jewish culture — films, music, books — rather than traditional institutions like synagogues or day schools, has become an increasingly important part of American Jewish identity.

As if to drive home that point, a glittering array of newly built cultural institutions — from the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, which opened in 2005, to the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, unveiled in 2010 — have become landmarks for all American Jews.

All this has thrilled Jenna Weissman Joselit, a leading historian of Jewish culture and a professor at George Washington University. But what worried her was that there was no clear training for the future leaders of these institutions.

Many heads of new and older Jewish cultural venues, like JCCs, tended to have rabbinical training or success in the corporate world, she said. “But not all of them were all that clued in to Jewish history and Jewish culture.”

Conversely, she added, leaders who had come from the arts world — theater directors, say, or museum curators — didn’t necessarily have the business sense.

But the new master’s program she has created in Jewish Cultural Arts at George Washington University, announced last month, hopes to rectify that.

“The distinctiveness of the G.W. program is that it combines both the arts education and the administrative training,” she said, adding that both are necessary to run a cultural institution.

Elise Bernhardt, the president and chief executive officer of the Foundation for Jewish Culture, applauded the program’s arrival as well. “There are many such programs in the secular world,” she said. “But given that there’s a focus on Jewish culture that didn’t exist in the world before, [this program] makes sense.”…READ MORE