SCJS Annual Newsletter 2023

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Center for Jewish Studies

Jewish Arts have been a prominent emphasis at the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies since the time of its founding director, Dr. Robert Abzug. In 2022–23, we have continued this emphasis through a diverse range of teaching, research, and public programming. This year’s Annual focuses on Jewish Arts, both its production and the study of it by affliates of the Schusterman Center.

In this issue, you will fnd a Q & A with Dr. Rebecca Rossen, a Dance Historian and faculty affliate, about her work and current research on dance performances that commemorate the Holocaust, for which she was awarded a prestigious grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. On the cover of this issue is a drawing by Yuliya Lanina, a multi-media artist and faculty affliate, who teaches studio classes in the School of Design and Creative Technologies. The image comes from her animation work Geflte Fish. Later in the issue, Rossen introduces us to Lanina’s work along with another image from Geflte Fish. Also in the feature section are a poem by undergraduate student Mateo Rivera Osuna, a comic that showcases the Biblical Studies research of Jewish Studies major Mia Hay, and a Q & A with Jewish Studies minor Lila Katz about her recently published young adult novel. Finally, the theme section includes faculty affliate Suzanne Seriff’s report about her research trip to Israel/Palestine last summer to chronicle the impact of participation in the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Yemenite, Ethiopian, Bedouin and Palestinian traditional artisans who have participated in this festival. These pieces highlight the diverse ways in which affliates of the center are engaged in rigorous research about Jewish art and stunning and provocative artistic production themselves.

2022–23 marked a vigorous return to in-person programing at the Schusterman Center with the Schusterman Center organizing or co-sponsoring over forty events. Highlights included our Gale Lectures, with Dr. Oded Lipshits (Tel Aviv University) in the fall and Dr. Susannah Heschel (Dartmouth College) in the spring. In January, in commemoration of

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we hosted an online showing of the Holocaust Opera, Eva and the Angel of Death. In March, Dr. Samantha Pickette organized a screening with the Austin Jewish Film Festival of the recent German documentary Jud Süß 2.0, which chronicles the recycling of antisemitic images and stereotypes in new media. The event also included a panel discussion about the movie with several center affliates moderated by Dr. Pickette. Also, in March, we partnered with our sister Schusterman Center at the University of Oklahoma to host our second annual joint Jewish Studies lecture. This year the lecture featured UC Boulder scholar of American Jewish History Samira Mehta. In April, as a part of the Tarbut: Israeli Arts & Culture series, we hosted a conversation between Israeli “Poet of the Working Class” Yudit Shahar and her Translator Aviya Kushner. Many of our events have been recorded and are available for viewing on our webpage or at our YouTube channel.

This year we also welcomed several new faculty affliates to the Schusterman Center and concluded a faculty search in collaboration with the Department of Germanic Studies for a new permanent faculty member to teach Yiddish and courses in Jewish culture at UT Austin. I am delighted to report that Dr. Adrien Smith, who holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University, will be joining us in fall 2023 as Assistant Professor of Instruction in Yiddish. In addition to our intensive, two-semester survey in Yiddish, Dr. Smith will also be teaching courses on Jewish Folklore and Eastern European Jews. Read more about Dr. Smith and her interests in the Q & A found on page 24.

Thank you for reading and for your support of the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies at UT Austin. I look forward to meeting you online or on campus in the fall.

With all good wishes,

Cover image: Yuliya Lanina, 2021, Geflte Fish, Animaton stll. Music by Sam Lipman. Sponsored by Fulbright Austria, MQ21 Artst Residency, Tricky Women Tricky Realites festval.


What was your journey to becoming a Dance Historian?

My journey to becoming a dance historian began well before I had an interest in dance history. I had danced throughout childhood, high school, and college. When I graduated from Wesleyan University with a B.A. in 1990, I returned to my hometown of Chicago and decided to see if I could make a career in dance. And I did—I danced for many dance artists in Chicago, choreographed my own work, founded and curated a Fringe Dance Festival (called the Movable Beast), and taught dance classes at studios and colleges throughout the city. I loved teaching but was frustrated with how little these jobs paid so I decided to apply to graduate school. I chose a doctoral program at Northwestern University so I could work with Dr. Susan Manning, a terrifc dance historian. Dance studies was new to me, and the more I learned, the more I loved it. Dance history showed me the social, political, cultural, and artistic signifcance of what dance and dancemakers do in the world, and solidifed my desire to be a professor.

What brought you to work with the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies?

When I arrived at UT to teach in the Department of Theatre and Dance, the head of my program introduced me to Professor Robert Abzug, who was then the Director of the Schusterman Center. Dr. Abzug has a deep interest


What do you enjoy teaching at UT?

I love teaching at UT so much. The undergraduate and graduate students are amazing, and I enjoy working with students who come from all areas of the University. Many of the courses I teach are open to non-majors—you don’t need any experience with dance or performance to take them. I teach a signature course called “Dancing America” and undergraduate courses such as “Gender and Sexuality in Performance,” “Narrative in Physical Performance,” and “Jewish Identity in American Performance.” I plan to develop a course on “Holocaust and Performance,” which I’ll likely offer in Spring 2025. Please look out for it!

Your research next year will be funded by a grant from the Natonal

Endowment for the Humanites. What is this book project about?

My book is about representations of the Holocaust in contemporary dance. It will actually be the frst book published on this topic. I’m looking at a number of very moving site-specifc performances set in memorial spaces in Austria, Belarus, Germany, and Poland; dances created by the children and grandchildren of survivors; as well as several dances that tell the stories of particular survivors. One of my favorites is a duet for a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor from Budapest named Eva Fahidi and a younger dancer. Eva performed this dance ninety times throughout Europe— one for every year of her life. She is an amazing woman. In addition to the NEH, my research is supported by a Rapoport Fellowship from the Schusterman Center, for which I am very thankful.

Dr. Rebecca Rossen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theater and Dance. Rebecca Rossen. Credit: Julie Lemberger.


Vice President of Jewish student association publishes debut novel

Lila Katz is a Junior who recently transferred from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is majoring in Humanities Honors with a contract in Jewish Storytelling and Self-Representation in the Arts, and is minoring in Jewish Studies. She is Vice President of Outreach for the Jewish Studies

Undergraduate Students Association (JSUSA). Her debut novel, Starborne, was published by TouchPoint Press earlier this spring under the pseudonym Aleph Katz.

Tell us a little about your new novel, Starborne—what inspired you to write this story? What do you hope readers get from it?

Starborne is a female-driven novel about a teen girl named Charlie facing her past and working towards her future. She serves a criminal sentence at a police precinct and is assigned to help develop the EASY program—a government project that scrubs the minds of witnesses and victims to solve cases. When tragedy strikes, Charlie sees no option but to steal the EASY program, her heart set on solving the crime. She faces old enemies and betrayal as she fights her way to an answer. I wrote Starborne when I was 14 and 15 after facing life trials,

making enemies out of close friends, and becoming isolated in high school. While writing the novel, I found a fun, research-based way to escape, creating a relatable, strong character with better days ahead. I hope that young readers can find the same safe space in Starborne that I did. I may not need Charlie anymore, but others might.

What draws you to sci-fi as a genre, and to young adult fiction in particular?

Science Fiction became a love of mine after reading and watching many, many books and films in the genre. Social commentary, new ideas, and complex characters all came in a neatly-wrapped 200-page-or-so package. However, I have an even greater love for YA fiction, as a young adult [myself]. Young Adult fiction and children’s fiction hold a special quality that allows a young person to better understand complex emotions and situations through escapist and fantastical elements.

How does your work as a fiction writer tie into the kinds of projects, activities, and courses you participate in here at the SCJS and at UT?

At the SCJS and within UT, my degree focus is largely based in Jewish Storytelling and Self-Representation in the Arts. My writing experience drew me to the Schusterman Center, and my experience in the Jewish Studies program led me to explore Jewish storytelling within my own works.

What do you consider “Jewish storytelling”? How do you incorporate Jewish themes into your work, and what sources of inspiration do you find yourself drawing from?

While Starborne and my earliest works do not include any explicitly Jewish characters, as I continue research on Jewish storytelling, I am working to incorporate Jewishness into my writing. I believe that any kind of literature that deals with Jewish themes can belong in the canon of Jewish storytelling. Whether it is biblical, cultural, religious, philosophical, or Israeli. Or if it is a secular story but the characters are Jewish, and they are trying to negotiate their Jewish identity in a non-Jewish world. As I work on Jewish storytelling in my work, I draw my inspiration from the literature and films and religious experiences and Israel experiences that I have been fortunate to have.

Can you share any details about new projects you’re currently working on?

I am currently developing a musical titled Inferno with composer and project lead Ethan Lao. The first draft of the musical was produced at the Cohen New Works Festival at UT and explores social justice themes while reimagining Dante’s Inferno in a modern context. I am also working on publishing a Contemporary Fantasy series called Arazathef, which carries a lot of Jewish storytelling elements and has a Jewish woman lead. The series explores religious, cultural, and philosophical aspects of Jewry in a plot based in the afterlife. I hope, through my research in the Jewish Studies and Humanities programs at UT, that I will grow as a Jewish writer and begin to incorporate the work from my undergraduate thesis into my future works.

Student and author Lila Katz. Credit: Christy Parrott Photography.


In a Journey from a Narrow Place

Mateo Rivera Osuna

In a journey from a narrow place, “see the other as a brother.”

To understand the travels of the other, we are taught – narrow the space, to bridge the gap between the Others -- and Us.

In a journey from a narrow place, past suffering may bring compassion. Yet, beware of seeing your refection. Afterall, it’s your brother – do not erase, when bridging the gap between Others -- and Us.

In a journey from a narrow place, sembrando el camino de: Fértil semilla, sowing the path of: Fertle seed, hasta llegar sonriendo, con dolor en la mejilla. untl I arrive, smiling, my cheeks hurtng.

I must beware of refections – do not replace, when bridging the gap between Others -- and I.

Writen for Dr. Suzanne Serif’s Jewish Studies

Internship course and includes language from the poetry of the author’s grandmother.


Mia Hay, an artst, poet, and undergraduate student in Jewish Studies at UT Austn, refects on two comics she created that revisit biblical “clobber passages” in the light of their own identty—Queer, young, Texan—and how they believe these comics provide important viewpoints for other young people.

These comics aim to reinterpret clobber passages in a way that is accessible to adolescents. Clobber passages are verses from the Hebrew Bible and New Testament that are commonly used to victimize and attack

LGBTQ+ people. While a vast amount of scholarship has been done on these verses, academic work rarely exists in a format that is accessible to young people. My idea for this project, which I pursued while in the Gilda Slifka Internship Program at the HadassahBrandeis Institute in summer 2022, originated in my own experiences as a young, Queer person growing up in rural East Texas. I intended to create a guide for Queer kids who fnd themselves defending their identities against a conservative religious offense, much like I did when I was younger. From there, I remembered how

important graphic novels were to me at that age, and my goal with this project evolved into what we see today—a compilation of biblical interpretation and historiography into two comics focused on two distinct themes. In the time that I had, I introduced, discussed, and offered interpretive options for the Sodom and Gomorrah narrative and Biblical Law using traditional academic research methods. The comic on the opposite page focuses on Biblical Law.



About a year ago, not long after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, I visited Yuliya Lanina’s home studio. The walls of the small space were covered foor to ceiling with pen and ink drawings that depicted scenes from the war. Ultimately, she would make hundreds of these drawings, which now comprise My Wailing Wall, an ever-expanding series through which she bears witness to the destruction this war has wrought.

Lanina, a multimedia artist of JewishRussian-Ukranian descent, was born in Moscow and immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1990s to escape antisemitic persecution. She is known for creating fanciful paintings of humanoid animals and plants, whimsical and creepy

animatronic sculptures, and music boxes based on Russian folklore. She frequently transforms this work into surreal animations, installations, and performances that set her creations into motion.

Over the past couple of years, she has delved more deeply into her Jewish heritage, as well as issues related to body image, migration, and transgenerational trauma. In 1941, Lanina’s grandmother, father, and uncle miraculously survived the slaughter of all the Jews in their shtetl, Chudnov, which is about halfway between Kyiv and Lviv. The “Holocaust by bullets,” as it has come to be known, was the frst phase of the Final Solution. Lanina relays this history in a moving stop-

motion, animated flm titled Geflte Fish (2021), in which she depicts herself as an emaciated young woman who morphs into a fsh and a bat while discussing the role of silence and silencing in her family.

She continues to add drawings to her series on Ukraine, which she recently transformed into an installation at San Antonio’s Artspace International titled Mother/Land. Lanina is the recipient of a Fulbright, and has shown her work globally. At UT, she teaches courses in drawing, moving image, humor, and storytelling in the School of Design and Creative Technologies

Yuliya Lanina, 2021, Geflte Fish, Animaton stll. Music by Sam Lipman. Sponsored by Fulbright Austria.




Glantz, renowned Mexican Jewish writer, addresses students and faculty

On November 3, the University of Texas at Austin enjoyed the honor of hosting the writer and critic Margo Glantz, the foremost figure in Jewish Latin American literature and a cultural celebrity in Mexico. Her visit was the result of the combined efforts of the Gale Collaborative on Jewish Life in the Americas of the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies and the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS), with cosponsorship from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Her public event in the Benson Latin American Collection attracted an audience of over fifty people, including faculty, students, community members, writers, and translators.

Born in Mexico City in 1930, Margo Glantz is the daughter of the Yiddish poet Yaakov Glantz, known in Mexico as Jacobo Glantz. Her best-known work is Las genealogías (available in English as The Family Tree), first published in 1981. This text, based on Glantz’s interviews with her parents, presents her elegant mother from Odessa and her father from rural Ukraine, their origins and meeting, and their arrival in Mexico in the mid-1920s. It is also a collective portrait of the Ashkenazi community of Mexico City in its formative years. The Family Tree has been through numerous reprintings and translations. Recently the Mexican Secretaría de Educación Pública issued a special commemorative edition of the iconic work that may only be distributed as a gift.

During her one-day visit, Glantz viewed the archive of the seventeenth-century nun and poet Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, one of the most prized holdings of the Benson Latin American Collection. She was then interviewed before an audience by LLILAS Director Adela Pineda Franco and Naomi Lindstrom, Director of the Gale Collaborative on Jewish Life in the Americas. At the prompting of these two UT faculty members, Glantz held forth on a wide variety of topics ranging from Sor Juana to the Jewish allusions in the nineteenth-century novel María to the latest scandals and turmoil on Twitter, a forum in which she has been an enthusiastic participant. The audience members listened attentively and afterward many of them were thrilled to be able to exchange a few words and pose for photographs with our celebrated visitor.

A recording of the public event, which was conducted in Spanish, is available at: https:// watch?v=ZSC qpib8VaQ.

Margo Glantz speaking at LLILAS-Benson. Credit: Paloma Díaz.


A month-long summer research trip to Israel/Palestine combined professional networking at the World Congress of Jewish Studies with original oral historical feldwork with traditional artisans from Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank. The trip was generously funded by a Faculty Summer Research Stipend in Israel Studies, and travel grants from the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies and my home department of Anthropology.

The 18th World Congress of Jewish Studies took place on Hebrew University’s Mt. Scopus campus in Jerusalem, August 8-12, and hosted 1,700 worldwide scholars.

My paper, “Holocaust War Toys: Playing with Genocide,” was part of a folklore panel titled “Trauma and Revival: Contemporary Culture.” It serendipitously included two colleagues with close ties to UT faculty: Israeli folklorist Dani Schrire and Canadian ethnomusicologist Judith Cohen. In addition to the Jewish folklore panels, I spent two fascinating days soaking up the brilliant research in Jewish art and museum studies of colleagues from Europe, Israel, South America, and the United States. Several panels exploring the future of Jewish museums and the nature of “Jewish art” will feed directly into my SCJS undergraduate course, “American Jewish Museums and Material Culture.” Although the Congress was rich with research and presentations on many aspects of Jewish history, culture, philosophy, religion, and art from around the world, it was particularly jarring to me, at the same time, to be together in Israel without a single panel or presentation on Jewish-Palestinian issues or relations either past, present, or future.

During the remainder of my time, I traveled from the Galilee to the Negev, and the West Bank to the Mediterranean Sea, doing ethnographic feldwork with Yemenite, Ethiopian, Bedouin, and Palestinian traditional artisans who share a single experience— they have each won a coveted position over the past decade to participate

in the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the largest folk art market in the world.

This research, “Folk Art in the Global Marketplace: An Israeli / Palestinian Pilot Study,” was designed to explore the fnancial, artistic, and social impact of this international entrepreneurial market on the artists and their workshops once they return to their home communities in Israel and Palestine. In the 15 years of the Market’s existence, there have only been a handful of Israeli/Palestinian artists, and I was able to track down almost every one—either for in-person or virtual interviews. They included a 9th generation Yemenite Jewish jeweler in Tel Aviv’s Jaffa District, a Bedouin women’s rug weaving coop in the Negev, a Palestinian women’s embroidery workshop in Gaza City, a Palestinian glass blowing family workshop in Hebron, and a Jewish Ethiopian basket maker near Pardes Hanna-Karkur. I was interested in learning more about how the Market had impacted their business, artistic, or social justice initiatives in this confictridden region. Indeed, the three-day escalation of Israeli-Palestinian hostilities and deadly violence in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel in early August was a powerful reminder of the complicated political and personal realities at the heart of these artisans’ lives and work.

Although my sample was relatively small, this pilot study provided hours of important ethnographic documentation and insights on the role of the International Folk Art Market in many artisans’ careers. It ranged from those who came to the Market only once and found it to be the wrong

Serif with Khadra Elsana, Founding Director of Sidreh, Bedouin Women’s Weaving and Self-Help Cooperatve, in Lakiya, Israel. Credit: Robert Cullick, August 2022.

venue for their work, to those who have returned to Santa Fe almost every year for over a decade, bringing home tens of thousands of dollars in revenue each summer, and, gaining access to financial and marketing resources both in their home communities and abroad. Also included in the study was one women’s embroidery cooperative in Gaza City that continues to sell their products at the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, even while their members are no longer able to physically join other Market artists because of political strife in their home regions which prevents them from receiving the necessary travel visas for the trip to the U.S.

Yet no matter what their experience in Santa Fe, the International Folk Art Market experience seemed to have positive effects on their artisan business for most of the artists upon their return. The founder of the Bedouin women’s weaving cooperative parlayed the publicity around her position at the Market in only one summer (2009) into an invitation to speak at the UN, host Jill Biden in the Negev, gain funds from the Israeli government for literacy and economic development training for Bedouin women, and shift on a dime during Covid from in-person sales to major wholesale contracts with interior arts designers in Scandinavia and throughout Europe. The 39-year-old manager of his family’s glass blowing business in Hebron commented that he felt he had “grown up at the Market” and in the dozen years since he began going to Santa Fe, has seen his family’s small local workshop catapult into an international best seller, even partnering with the famous Dale Chihuly (poster child for the post WWII studio crafts movement) on a joint artisan innovation.

What was most powerful for me was to bear witness to the many concrete ways in which the ongoing conflicts in the region continue to impact the relationships and lives of the artists I interviewed. Although it was perhaps expected that the Palestinian artists (geographically divided in the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel) would form close professional and personal

bonds with each other through their introductions at the Market, it was also true that some Palestinian/ Jewish friendships and networks were profitably maintained once the artists returned to their home communities. One example of this was the Palestinian glass blowers from Hebron and the Yemenite Jewish jeweler in Jaffa who formed what they referred to as a lasting family and collegial friendship through the years—a friendship that is logistically complicated today by the current walls, policies, and check points that prevent them from traveling to each other’s homes. My husband and I were acutely aware of these geopolitical realities (albeit under the security of American passports) when we happened to get on the wrong bus from Jerusalem to Hebron for my appointment with the artists, and were let off in the Israeli military-controlled “ghost town” neighborhood of what was once a thriving Palestinian business center, having to make our way on foot through an un-manned turnstile back into the West Bank, Palestiniancontrolled area of Hebron.

And while the Market afforded both opportunities, resources, and personal connections to the artists in this conflict-ridden region, my interviews also pointed out the sometimes painful ways in which the Market’s marketing strategies sometimes seemed to naively capitalize on a constructed narrative of “cross-cultural peace through art” that eschewed the real life

dangers and realities in this region of the Middle East. One artist relayed the story of how Market staff continually “played up” the coming together of Palestinian and Jewish artists under one folk art Market tent for “photo and interview ops,” without recognizing the potentially dangerous consequences of these visual media portrayals back home. Another Palestinian (Bedouin) artist living in Israel admitted that she was uncomfortable with the Market’s opening night “parade” in which artists are asked to dress in their ‘native dress” and march through town under their national flags—in her case, the national flag of Israel, to which she does not primarily express allegiance.

While I look forward to further processing and analyzing these oral history interviews in the coming months, I know already that this summer’s research has provided me a more nuanced understanding of the complicated ways in which the global art marketplace—and the business of heritage making and marketing more generally—intersects with real world geopolitics to impact the lives, the arts, and the communities of those living in active conflict-ridden regions such as Israel/Palestine.

Glass blowing in Hebron. Credit: Dr. Suzanne Seriff.

GALE COLLABORATIVE On Jewish Life in the Americas

During the 2022–23 academic year, the Gale Collaborative continued to host activities at the University of Texas at Austin and to participate in an international collaboration whose other partners are the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, the University of British Columbia, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Early in Fall Semester 2022, a committee was formed to plan the activities of the Gale Collaborative. It includes Naomi Lindstrom, Dr. Suzanne Seriff of Anthropology and the Schusterman Center, Dr. Samantha Pickette, the Assistant Director of the Schusterman Center, and Dr. Julia Mickenberg of American Studies. The members identify speakers for the series and brainstorm about how it can best serve UT students and faculty while also drawing community members.

We have been hosting two speakers per semester, one on a Latin American and the other on a U.S. or Canadian theme. In the fall, we enjoyed the opportunity to cosponsor an additional very special event: the visit of the Mexican Jewish writer Margo Glantz (see page 8).

Our frst fall speaker was Dr. Laura Levitt of Temple University. She visited Professor Seriff’s social justice internship course and gave two talks: “Objects Brushed by Violence: What Kinds of Stories Might They Tell” and “American Jewish Loss after the Holocaust: An Object Lesson.”

Dr. Amy Kaminsky of the University of Minnesota spoke later in the fall

semester on “Race, Gender, and the Myth of the Jewish Gaucho.” This event enjoyed support from several new partners. The Program in Race, Indigeneity and Migration cosponsored and the Offce of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in UT’s College of Liberal Arts provided a generous grant to support Dr. Kaminsky’s

active since publishing the 2022 multi-authored compilation Jews in the Americas: Transnatonal Perspectves. The group subsequently held two webinars based on this volume. Our session at the 2022 conference of the Association for Jewish Studies in December was designed to explore further research possibilities that will lead to a second compilation.

The frst Latin American event of the spring was the lecture “Cain and Abel and Enforced Disappearances: Refections from an Argentine Jewish Human Rights Lawyer” by Ariel Dulitzky, Director of the Human Rights Clinic at the UT School of Law. He discussed how, in mid-career, he had recognized the importance of Jewish thought to his human rights work.

On the North American side, Professor Henry Bial of the University of Kansas offered “Stop Calling It Jewface: When Gentile Actors Play Jewish Roles.” This discussion of casting non-Jews in Jewish roles sparked lively debate. The event was co-sponsored with the Department of Theatre and Dance and attracted audience members from performance studies as well as our regulars.

visit. These collaborations are part of our efforts to create links between Jewish Studies at UT and programs and offces that promote cultural diversity.

The international group of researchers affliated with the Gale Collaborative has remained

For Fall 2024, we have scheduled a talk by Professor Golan Moskowitz about the illustrator and author Maurice Sendak and another by Professor Stephanie Pridgeon on Jewish themes in Latin American cinema. In the works is a special event in collaboration with LLILAS celebrating contemporary Ladino-language literature and Sephardic culture.

Image: Cover of José Hernandez’s 1894 epic poem El Gaucho Martin Fierro, a source text for Kaminsky’s lecture.


New summer institute expands Hebrew opportunities

To bring the study of Israel into conversation with other national and regional experiences, Israel Studies at UT Austin has continued to seek connections with other programs, centers, and departments through virtual and in-person events. This year, we hosted talks about a breathtaking array of topics: the collective memory of Arabs in Israel (Dr. Arik Rudnitzky, Tel Aviv University); sexual violence in Hebrew literature (Dr. Ilana Szobel, Brandeis University); archives and knowledge production in Israel/ Palestine (Dr. Gil Hochberg, Columbia University); Hebrew and Yiddish literary intersections (Dr. Adi Mahalel, University of Maryland); Israel/U.S. relations (Walter Russell Mead, Hudson Institute and Bard College); Israel’s new government (UT’s Dr. Ahmad Agbraia and Dr. Andrew Lee Butters); historiographic debates in Israel (Dr. Danny Orbach, Hebrew University); Iranian/Israeli crosscultural artistic collaboration (Keren Farago and Ashkan Roayaee, artists); Jewish-Swedish photographer Anna Riwkin-Brick’s children’s photographic picture books (Dvorit Shargal, documentary film producer); and Hebrew poetry and the translation process (Yudit Shahar, Israeli poet; and Aviya Kushner, her translator to English). In April, as part of the annual Children of Abraham/Ibrahim film series, the Austin Film Society screened the Israeli film Cinema Sabaya (Orit Fouks Rotem, 2021), introduced by the UT film and Judaica librarian, Uri Kolodney. Our events this year were co-sponsored or organized by diverse units, including Middle Eastern Studies; History; LGBTQ Studies; Women’s and Gender Studies; Germanic Studies; Comparative Literature; Journalism;

the Plan II Honors Program; Theater and Dance; the Department of Arts and Entertainment Technologies at the School of Design and Creative Technologies; and the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Last fall, we were delighted to welcome a new Israel Institute Teaching Fellow, Dr. Ahmad Agbaria (History/ Middle Eastern Studies) from Tel Aviv University. Dr. Agbaria taught three Israel-focused courses this year: “The History of Israel,” “Arab Citizens of Israel,” and “Israel/Palestine Conflict.” Alongside these offerings in Israeli history, our Hebrew language program continues to thrive under the leadership of Dr. Esther Raizen and Anat Maimon.

The Hebrew program will expand this summer with the launch of the new Hebrew Summer Institute (HSI) at UT, which will allow students at UT and beyond to pursue intensive Hebrew study over the summer and prepare for intermediate Hebrew.

Through a variety of fellowships for students and faculty, we continue to support excellence in scholarship on Israel. In the fall, Hannah Salmon (Ph.D. student, Ethnomusicology) was awarded a travel grant to conduct research in Israel on Palestinian storytelling traditions. Daniella Harari (M.A. student, LBJ School of Public Affairs) was awarded the Dual Language Fellowship for the study of Hebrew and Arabic. Atalia IsraeliNevo (Ph.D. student, Anthropology), who completed her second year as the holder of the prestigious Israel Studies Graduate Fellowship, was awarded an Israel Studies Travel

Fellowship to conduct research for her project on utopia, animal labor, and queer fantasies in Israel and in Berlin this summer. Another Israel Studies Travel Fellowship was awarded to Erin Brantmayer (Ph.D. student, Classics), who will participate in the excavation of Birsama, the largest unexcavated Roman fort in the Negev Desert. Marco Bunge (Ph.D. student, Middle Eastern Studies) was awarded the Israel Studies Supplementary Fellowship to allow him to undertake summer study of Hebrew at UT’s new Hebrew Summer Institute (HSI) and to travel to Israel to begin his fieldwork in Arabic dialectology. Additionally, two faculty members were awarded Faculty Summer Stipends for Research on Israel: Dr. Samantha Pickette for her project “The Sabra Within the Schlemiel: Diverging Modes of American Jewish and Israeli Masculinity in Jewish American Literature,” which she will present at the Association for Israel Studies conference this June; and Dr. Ahmad Agbaria, for his article-in-progress titled “The Dawn of Mideast Peace.”

These student and faculty fellowships in Israel Studies make an invaluable contribution to the study of Israel, past and present. They benefit our students, our faculty, and our community beyond campus, and speak to our investment in fostering a nuanced understanding of the Hebrew language and of Israeli culture, history, and politics.


Students combine art and social justice

The intersection of arts and social justice was the focus of much that was new in this year’s internship program—from frst-time guest speakers to student internship projects, to the original poems, videos, lesson plans, and artworks of the students’ fnal refections. This arts and social justice focus drew students enrolled in a museum studies concentration through The University’s Bridging Disciplines Program (a program that allows undergraduates to develop a secondary area of specialization that complements their major), as well as those from diverse colleges such as Business, Social Work, Liberal Arts, and STEM felds.

Students in the social justice internship program meet each week for a twohour seminar-style class in which they have the opportunity to hear directly from community members who have committed their lives to making the world better. Guest speakers typically include Jewish social justice lawyers, health professionals, union offcials, and immigration advocates. With the additional focus on arts, we welcomed artists, art scholars, and museum professionals to our weekly line-up. Each of them spoke to the importance of art as a way to address issues of war, injustice, and horror in our world. Perhaps coincidentally, several also situated their work within their own

personal and historical contexts as frst-generation children of Holocaust survivors. Questions of memory, history, and trauma were woven through the stories of dancer, dance historian, and performance scholar, Rebecca Rossen; Russian and Ukrainian multimedia artist, Yuliya Lanina; Blanton Museum Director, Simone Wicha; and material culture scholar, Laura Levitt. The students reported being nothing less than “star struck” by these up close and personal conversations with world-renowned artists and art-world fgures, taking to heart their advice, as Simone Wicha said, “To imagine yourself in the space you want to be, and take the steps, one at a time, to get there.”

Many of the host organizations chosen by the students for their 10 hour a week internship experiences this year refected their passion for exploring this intersection of art and social justice. These included the Blanton Museum of Art, the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, Texas Folklife, and Art from the Streets. Even an internship at a local hospice for Alzheimer patients provided an opportunity for one student to highlight art as a window into memory and meaning. The intern published a series of newsletter profles on each resident focused on objects of signifcance in their lives: a ring, a stuffed animal, a remembered song. For one social work student, an internship at Art from the Streets, an organization that offers a safe, creative space for those experiencing homelessness to make and sell their art,

provided important ethical lessons for how to effectively engage and assist populations in need. In her words,

As a soon-to-be social worker, I went in wantng to fx, wantng to fnd solutons to the complex, and systemic problem of homelessness. I quickly learned that while these are important and key aspects of helping people escape the deathly grasp of homelessness, that wasn't my role. Instead, I found the power of connecton that the studio provided the artsts to be the core of the organizaton.

Finally, I wanted to share the power of art as a way to express some of the important “lessons of our ancestors” that the students have gained from our Jewish text study throughout the semester. In a fnal “Passover Freedom” event this spring, during which the students were asked to read a personal refection on the Passover themes of freedom and liberation, two of the students chose to create original poems for the occasion. I end with the frst stanza of one of the poems, titled: “In a Journey from a Narrow Place,” which gives you a taste of the power of art for these internship students as a window into issues of conscience in our lives and our times (the full poem appears on page 5):

In a journey from a narrow place, “See the other as a brother.” To understand the travels of the other, we are taught - narrow the space, to bridge the gap between the Others -- and Us. —Mateo Osuna

Senior Belle Walston presents a fnal power point highlightng her internship in the educaton department of the Blanton Museum of Art.

Jewish studies students start organization focused on Jewish academic and social aspects

Published in The Daily Texan, by Ali Juell, February 7, 2023

The Jewish Studies Undergraduate Students’ Association is kicking off its first full semester as an organization— its focus is to fill an unmet need organizers say they noticed on campus.

The organization is for students both inside and outside the Jewish studies program who are interested in learning and discussing Jewish studies with other students. The group aims to showcase and discuss the diversity present within Jewish history and experiences through an academic lens.

JSUSA president Simon Gerst said he was surprised there were no Jewish studies focused clubs on campus. He said he started the group to help students within the major find common ground.

“There wasn’t really any sort of Jewish studies committee (in the past),” said Gerst, a German studies, Jewish studies, and Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian studies senior. “I want the club to expose people to what it means to be Jewish and what it means to be Jewish in Texas.”

Samantha Pickette, faculty adviser to the group and Jewish studies professor, said the organization is a great way for students to get involved in an academic way that differs from other Jewish student groups like Texas Hillel and Chabad.

“It’s very heartening to see Jewish studies students and students interested in Jewish studies coming together on their own volition just because they want to be there,” said Pickette, assistant director of the Schusterman Center for Jewish studies.

Gerst said the group plans to host a number of events that foster academic and social relationships, including movie nights, talks with professors and socials.

JSUSA event coordinator Elijah Kahlenberg said the group is open to and includes people from different Jewish and non-Jewish backgrounds.

“Many are coming from their own unique Jewish community, and it’s really hard to branch out of that,” said Kahlenberg, a government, Middle East studies and Jewish studies sophomore. “We’re not just focusing on, say, one aspect of Jewish history; we’re focusing on anything and everything.”

Mia Hay, social media chair and fellow founding member, said the group’s programming is built around members’ varying interests, which range from topics like female Jewish poetry to Jewish storytelling and playwriting.

“Every time someone new joins, we have another interest to explore,” said Hay, a gender studies and Jewish studies junior. “It’s really exciting to see how it’s going to branch out”

As the group looks forward, Hay said they hope to include service opportunities and to offer more programming in specific areas of Jewish study.

Gerst said he is excited for the group to continue expanding and providing a learning space for even more students.

“I think we make each other better just because we get to be more well-rounded, better informed people,” Gerst said. “It’s a way to have community but then also to expand your horizons.”

The group meets every other Thursday at the Schusterman Center in Patton Hall at 5 p.m. and has ongoing membership.

“Everybody’s from a different discipline, different major, different area of study, and so nobody knows about everything.” Pickette said. “You don’t have to come prepared. You just really have to come open-minded and wanting to learn something, wanting to communicate and build connections with the people around you.”

Article reproduced with permission from The Daily Texan. Image at top: Student officers of JSUSA.



Mia Hay and Elijah Kahlenberg were both awarded the Todd and Dawn Aaron Endowed Presidential Scholarship. Mia and Elijah will both be name “Aaron Scholars” at the Schusterman Center during the 2023–24 academic year.

Elijah Kahlenberg is a rising junior, triple majoring in Jewish Studies, Middle East Studies, and Government. His academic and research interests include late Ottoman history, pre-1929 Arab-Jewish relations, Romaniote/ Sephardi/Musta’arabim Jewish history in the Eastern Mediterranean, and contemporary geopolitical analysis of Israel-Palestine. Elijah has undertaken multiple initiatives pertaining to his

working as a volunteer and intern for the Roots (Judur/Shorashim) Movement. Furthermore, Elijah has worked as an intern for the Diarna initiative, where he recorded the histories of over 15 Sephardi/Mizrahi cultural heritage sites and conducted feld research on histories of the Old Yishuv in Jerusalem and Hebron.

Mia Hay is a rising senior, majoring in Jewish Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. In their time with SCJS, Mia has participated in interview panels, helped to found the Jewish Studies Undergraduate Students’ Association, interned at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University, and presented at the 2023 Texas Jewish Historical Society convention, all while striving for academic excellence. After UT, Mia hopes to attend graduate school for a Master’s in Religious Studies, then continue on to a Ph.D. They are endlessly grateful to the Schusterman Center for the incredible opportunities and constant support it offers all its students and to the people who keep the center running.


Israel Studies Fellowship

Atalia Israeli-Nevo

Israel Studies Supplementary Fellowship

Erin Brantmayer, Scot Spicer

Israel Studies Travel Fellowship

Erin Brantmayer, Atalia Israeli-Nevo, Michael Lef, Hannah Salmon

Jewish Studies Supplementary Graduate Fellowship

Isabelle Headrick, Michael Lef

Appleman Graduate Fellowship

Nina O. Gary, Isabelle Headrick, John Mellison, Tyler Moser


Jewish Studies Minor Scholarship from the David M. Rosenberg Scholarship Fund

Lila Katz

Henry Weiss Scholarship for Jewish Studies Majors

Mia Hay

academic areas, including being the founder and president of Atidna International: the frst and only campus-based, joint Jewish/Israeli and Arab/Palestinian peace initiative pursuing a dialogue of anything and everything pertaining to Israel/ Palestine. Elijah has also pursued onthe-ground Israeli-Palestinian peace work in Gush Etzion (West Bank) by

Jewish Studies Internship Program Scholarship from the Aaron Excellence Endowment

Daniel Chayet, Mia Hay, Maggie Huggins, Mateo A. Rivera Osuna, Yash Purohit, Audrey Ratlif, Belle Walston, Madeline Young

Undergraduate student Mia Hay


Graduate Students explore topics ranging from archival photos of Harry Houdini to medical practices in Iran

Michal Calo (English) organized a graduate workshop on the Harry Ransom Center’s Jewish collections, which was led by Instructional Services Coordinator Julia O’Keefe. Graduate students with a wide range of research interests attended to observe and examine a wonderfully versatile assemblage of materials, from Brian Walton’s Biblia sacra polyglotta, to photos of Harry Houdini; from setdesigns to portraits; from the Harlem Renaissance to The Fiddler on the Roof; from Einstein to Fannie Hurst. A testament to the breadth and depth of Jewish Studies as a field, the workshop offered an opportunity for graduate students to come together, exchange ideas, and explore archival materials.

Isabelle S. Headrick (History) presented “Iranian Conditions: Health Problems and Medical Practices in the Voices of the Staff of the Alliance Israélite Universelle, 1900-1940” at the annual conference of the Association for Jewish Studies in Boston in December. This paper is now a forthcoming article in Iranian Studies She will be presenting “The Merchant of Frenchness: Networks of Learning in the Alliance Israélite Universelle in Iran” in June 2023 at a workshop in Mainz, Germany called “European History Across Boundaries.”

Michael Leff (Middle Eastern Studies) has been awarded an Israel Studies Travel Fellowship for summer 2024. He will use this opportunity to participate in the excavation of Tel Shimron, which was once a major international trading hub of the southern Levant. Leff aims to enrich his understanding of material culture and develop a more holistic understanding of the southern Levant’s development during the Late Bronze and early Iron Ages.

Karine Macarez (French and Italian) received the enrichment activity funds from the Walther Fellowship for a research trip at the Lorraine Beitler Library (UPenn) during spring break. Her research focuses on popular imagery during the Dreyfus affair, looking at postcards and trading cards. She also received the 2023 Walther excellence award in French Studies from the French and Italian department.

Tyler Moser (Middle Eastern Studies) presented two papers at November’s Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting in Denver, CO. Both papers dealt with the study of the Hebrew Bible, with one focusing on the Eden Narrative (Genesis 2–3) and the other analyzing a specific linguistic phenomenon, called Serial Verbs, within historical narrative. He was also awarded the 2023 Gorgias Press Book Grant.

Schusterman Center. His presentation was entitled “Uncovering Nakedness in Leviticus 18 and 20: A Case of Revision through Introduction in Biblical Legal Material.” He also gave papers at the annual meetings of the Southwest Commission on Religious Studies (“Never Gonna Give You Up: Using an Old Script for New Purposes”) and the American Oriental Society (“A Reconstruction of T-stems in ProtoSemitic”).

Undergraduate students spearhead Jewish organizations on campus

Mia Hay was recently named as one of the 2023-2024 Aaron Scholars. They are immensely proud of the community built this year in the Jewish Studies Undergraduate Student Association and look forward to their final year with the Schusterman Center next year.

John Mellison (Middle Eastern Studies) gave a presentation at the Society of Biblical Literature’s annual meeting that was generously supported by an Appleman Fellowship from the

Elijah Demetrios Kahlenberg, a Jewish Studies major pursuing the Israel studies route, completed his first full year leading Atidna International, a first-of-its-kind grassroots, campusbased peace organization uniting Jews/ Israelis and Arab/Palestinians to pursue a dialogue on anything/everything pertaining to Israel and Palestine. He likewise authored multiple publications this year on the subject of IsraeliPalestinian peace building, which were published in The Times of Israel, Israel Policy Forum, and International Policy Digest. He also founded the university’s first-ever Sephardic Student Association to explore Sephardi culture and history.

Tyler Moser presents a paper at Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting. Credit: Jonathan Kaplan.

Can the Poetic Imagination Save Jerusalem from Itself?

Dr. Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi

Based on her recently-published volume, Figuring Jerusalem: Politcs and Poetcs in the Sacred Center, Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi will talk about how a more “literal,” and literary, reading of the Hebrew Bible can save Jerusalem from war and Abraham’s sons from mutual slaughter.

November 5, 2023

5:00-6:00 pm

Texas Union Theater

Child of Two Genocides: From Holocaust to Reservation in my Parents’ Two Americas Dr. David Treuer

Bestselling author David Treuer is Ojibwe from Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, two Minnesota Book Awards, and fellowships from the NEH, Bush Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. His most recent book The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Natve America from 1890 to the Present was a New York Times bestseller, a National Book Award fnalist, a Minnesota Book Prize winner, a California Book Prize winner, shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, and a Los Angeles Times Book Prize fnalist. He divides his time between his home on the Leech Lake Reservation and Los Angeles, where he is a Professor of English at USC. The son of Robert Treuer, an Austrian Jew and Holocaust survivor, and Margaret Seelye Treuer, a tribal court judge, David Treuer grew up on Leech Lake Reservation.

February 25, 2024

5:00-6:00 pm

Location TBD

/ 2023-2024


The 2023–24 Rapoport Fellows at the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Texas at Austin have been announced. The names of the fellows and their projects are:

Dr. Tony Keddie

Department of Religious Studies, College of Liberal Arts

“Ancient Jewish Perspectives on Religion at Work"

Dr. Tatjana Lichtenstein

Department of History, College of Liberal Arts

“Contesting Racial Status during the Holocaust: A Survival Strategy?”

Dr. Rebecca Rossen

Department of Theater and Dance, College of Fine Arts

"Moving Memories: Representations of the Holocaust in Contemporary Dance"

The Rapoport Fellows Program is intended to support a wide variety of scholarship in the field of Jewish Studies. Faculty at the University of Texas at Austin appointed as Rapoport Fellows are awarded up to two course releases, spread across two long semesters in a given academic year (reduction to a 1-1 teaching load), during which they conduct research on a topic related to Jewish Studies. All Rapoport Fellows will present some aspect of their work during the year in which they hold the fellowship at an event sponsored by the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies.

Congratulations to the 2023-24 Rapoport Fellows!

Rudolph, Ilona, and Ota Heller in their first family portrait immediately after the end of World War II in Prague in May 1945. Ilona Heller contested her Jewish paternity in court from 1942-1945, thereby saving herself and her son Ota from deportation. Thanks to Charles Ota Heller for permission to use the photograph and image text. USHMM Collections, Heller Family Papers.

Capital Campaign to Support the Yiddish Language and Culture Program

“Yiddish is the wise and humble language of us all, the idiom of a frightened and hopeful humanity.”

Thank YOU for honoring Bob Abzug!


on the campaign to create The Robert H. Abzug Scholarship in Jewish Studies

The Schusterman Center’s campaign to establish a scholarship endowment in honor of Dr. Robert H. Abzug, Audre and Bernard Rapoport Regents Chair of Jewish Studies, Professor Emeritus of History and American Studies, and Founding Director of the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies is in its fnal phase pending approval by the Board of Regents.

A commitee of friends and colleagues worked hard to honor Bob and support our students by raising $50,000 to endow this scholarship. Together we met this goal! Mickey Klein has generously agreed to match this amount, enabling us to establish the scholarship at $100,000.

The Robert H. Abzug Scholarship in Jewish Studies will provide scholarship support for undergraduate students, with a preference towards students pursuing a thesis, research project,

or artistic endeavor on any topic in Jewish Studies at UT Austin. The scholarship may support students meeting the above criteria from any college, school, or major.

To give online:

To ensure the future of Yiddish at the University of Texas at Austin, the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies and the Department of Germanic Studies have begun a campaign to create an endowment for UT Austin’s Yiddish Language and Culture Program. The Yiddish Language and Culture program has been part of the Department of Germanic Studies at UT Austin since the late 1970s. Since that time, it has trained undergraduate and graduate students who have gone on to be signifcant Yiddish and Jewish academic and cultural fgures. A solid fnancial basis will allow the program to recruit and retain the very best scholars in the feld and to strengthen UT Austin’s reputation as a center for excellence in research and teaching of Yiddish language and culture.

To give online:

To give by mail:

Make checks out to The University of Texas at Austin and include “Abzug Scholarship in Jewish Studies” in the memo line.

Mail to the address below:

University of Texas Development

P.O. Box 7458

Austin, TX 78713-7458

Help spread the word!

Robert H. Abzug Scholarship Campaign Committee: Ian Spechler (Chair), Chris Aguero, Samuel Baker, Stacy D. Clark, Steve Finkelman, Jonathan Kaplan, Tatjana Lichtenstein, Margo Sack, and Alexandra F. Taylor.

To give by mail:

Make checks out to The University of Texas at Austin and include “Yiddish Studies” in the memo line. Mail to the address below:

University of Texas Development

P.O. Box 7458

Austin, TX 78713-7458



We are pleased to announce the transformational impact that philanthropists Todd and Dawn Aaron have sustained at the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies and the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin.

The Aarons met at UT, where Dawn was a member of Alpha Episilon Phi sorority and Todd of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, where he is currently Advisor. Their three children—Morgan, Bennett, and Molly—have followed in their footsteps by attending UT. The Aarons are long-time friends and advocates of the College, and Todd Aaron also serves as a valuable member of the Schusterman Center’s advisory board.

The Aarons have generously gifted an additional $250,000 in immediate use to the Todd and Dawn Aaron Undergraduate Innovation Fund to support the needs of the Center, in particular student experiential learning opportunities such as internships and study abroad experiences.

In addition, they have committed up to $250,000 in 1:1 matching funds to inspire giving from others in support of faculty, students, and programmatic needs at the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies.

We are immeasurably grateful for Todd and Dawn’s commitment to building excellence at the Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies and the value the Aarons place on philanthropy.

Photo courtesy of Todd and Dawn Aaron.


Elijah Demetrios Kahlenberg, a sophomore triple majoring in Jewish Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, and Government, recounts his experience last summer in Jerusalem as an intern with Diarna.

During two months over the summer, I had the pleasure to undertake an internship with an organization called Diarna. Diarna is dedicated to capturing the histories of Mizrahi/Sephardi Jews, specifcally the sites, cities, and regions in which Jews resided in across the Middle East, North Africa, and Mediterranean.

I devoted my efforts with Diarna to both research pursuits: covering and documenting a variety of global Sephardi/Mizrahi communities and also on-theground feldwork to showcase Mizrahi/Sephardi communities of the Old Yishuv. One should note, Diarna’s slogan is “a race against time” as they work to document and uncover Mizrahi histories that are in danger of being lost, typically due to local extremist groups targeting Jewish cultural/heritage monuments.

This noton of “a race against tme” defned my basis in choosing which histories to capture and record.

My yearning to undertake this venture, which was recommended to me by Professor Amy Weinreb, comes from

the stories of my maternal Greek Sephardi/Romaniote ancestors. This side of my family, like many Jews in the Ottoman Empire, undertook administrative/fnancial roles for the Ottomans, thus fomenting animosity from their Greek neighbors. During the Greek War of Independence, many in my family were even considered by Greek gentiles to be Ottoman collaborators, causing many to fee or even convert to Orthodox Christianity. This family history pushed me to uncover similar stories from the greater Sephardi world and to thus recount such histories.

For example, one can see this personal history come to fruition through my research initiatives on Yemenite Jewish history, specifcally via my multiple works recounting how differing Yemenite Jewish communities suffered under the Mawza Exile. This exile was a forced decree by Yemen’s Zaydi Islamic ruler to banish all Yemenite Jews to a barren desert region unless they converted to Islam. This genocide was sparked in large part because the local Zaydis viewed Jews as potential Ottoman collaborators who desired Ottoman dominance over Yemen. The basis for Zaydi suspicions was the narrative that Jews wanted to create a single

empire that would grant Jews direct access to Eretz Israel. Other factors, like Jewish messianic fervor and Zaydi Islamic fundamentalism, were likewise extremely important in generating the genocide; however, I could still clearly see parallels to my own family story in such history.

Beyond my research initiatives, I also had the pleasure to undertake feldwork for Diarna. Previously, Diarna had never pursued recording Old Yishuv histories; however, the Diarna intern coordinator, Ruben Shimonov, alongside myself viewed many histories of the Old Yishuv in dire need of documentation. As I was living in both Jerusalem and Gush Etzion, I had easy access to a multitude of Old Yishuv sites. I specifcally focused on documenting Jerusalem’s Old Bukharan Quarter, just northwest of Mea She’arim, and Musta’arabim/ Sephardi sites in Hebron. You can read some of my publications on BukharanJerusalem Jewish sites, like the “Yehudayoff-Hefetz Palace (Armon),” or Hebronite sites, like the “Avraham Avinu Synagogue,” on the Diarna site.

Overall, I went on to publish 15 artcles on sites, cites, and regions which possessed a deep yet relatvely unknown Jewish history for Diarna.

The Jewish spaces such publications dealt with ranged from Greek Island Jewry to Yemenite Jewry to Old Yishuv Bukharian Jewry to Old Yishuv Sephardi/Musta’arabim Jewry. My research demonstrated just how diverse yet interconnected Jewish history truly is.

Kahlenberg’s internship was supported in part by an Israel Studies Travel Fellowship.

Image: Kahlenberg (right) at the Western Wall with Diarna Internship Coordinator, Ruben Shimonov (lef). Used by permission.


Our colleague and friend Avraham Zilkha passed away on September 17, 2022, in Austin

Dr. Avraham Zilkha was born in Baghdad in 1938 and immigrated with his family to Israel from Iraq in 1950. He grew up in Jerusalem, served in the IDF, and studied at the Hebrew University. In 1965 he enrolled in UT’s Ph.D. program in linguistics, and upon graduating began a teaching career with positions at Indiana University (1971–73) and Ohio State University (1973–74). He then returned to UT Austin, where, as a tenured faculty member, he taught a variety of Hebrew

in 2002, its entries including many technical terms, slang, and translations for common idioms. Both dictionaries were published by Yale University Press. Avraham’s exquisite landscape photographs, often exhibiting special light effects enhanced by computer technology, decorated for many years the walls of the department and college offices.

Avraham’s was very proud of his three children, Orly, Gil, and Ron, all of whom crossed paths with our Hebrew program at some point. Gil, who as an undergraduate was a cartoonist for The Daily Texan, provided the illustrations that are included in the Hebrew curriculum at UT Austin, serving our students until this very day.

Dr. Zilkha never got to fulfill his dream of visiting Iraq for archival work that would shed light on the history and culture of Jewish communities there. After his retirement, he spent a couple of years moving between Israel and Austin and finally settled permanently in Austin.

and Middle Eastern Studies courses until his retirement in 2009. His scholarly work in Hebrew linguistics and lexicography culminated in the 1989 publication of his Modern HebrewEnglish Dictionary, which reflected the contemporaneous language of Israel with vocabulary from earlier periods, borrowings, colloquial expressions, and newly coined words. Modern EnglishHebrew Dictionary was published

Upon his retirement, Dr. Zilkha established a scholarship fund that has supported our undergraduate Hebrew students. The fund was kept active with contributions from other faculty, and we will be grateful for additional contributions in his memory.

A memorial service for Dr. Zilkha was held at Congregation Beth Israel, 3901 Shoal Creek Blvd, Austin, TX, on Friday, September 30, 2022.

May his memory be of blessing. .

ורכז יהי



Professor Michael J. Churgin will be retiring from the School of Law faculty at the end of August, having arrived initially in 1975.

During that forty-eight year period, he regularly participated in Jewish programming at UT. From the days of DOALL with Harold Liebowitz and Irving Mandelbaum, to the service of Seth Wolitz as Gale Professor, Michael was a presence at seminars and presentations. He attended the Jewish graduate student/faculty brunches at Hillel and served several terms on the Hillel board as a faculty representative. More recently, he has actively been part of Schusterman Center programming and plans to continue attending events as an emeritus professor.

Professor Davida Charney is retiring after twenty-six years of service in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing. In addition to serving on the Schusterman Center’s Faculty Executive Committee and various other committees, she has taught writing-fag classes in Jewish Studies such as “Persuasion in Biblical Times and Places” and “Ancient Jewish and Greek Roots of Social Justice.”

Students who took the “Persuasion” class analyzed three types of texts from the Hebrew Bible in which people interact with God: psalms, narrative dialogues, and prophecy. All three

illustrate not only that the God of the Hebrew Bible was open to certain types of challenge, but that God might be persuaded to change plans when approached appropriately. Increasingly students entered the class with no religious training whatsoever, but all emerged with a better understanding of scholarly rather than doctrinaire systems for interpreting sacred texts. Charney’s early scholarship focused on written discourse in the academy, especially in STEM disciplines. But about 15 years ago, she began investigating the rhetoric of the biblical psalms. Along with several journal articles on the subject, her book Persuading God (Phoenix Sheffed Press) appeared in 2015. Recently, she has been conducting research on Jewish liturgy and rabbinic sermon writing (homiletics). She plans to continue this work in retirement in the Philadelphia area.

Professor David F. Crew will retire after serving as a faculty member in the Department of History at UT Austin since 1984. Professor Crew, whose research interests include the history of popular culture and consumerism in twentieth-century Germany and Europe, the history and politics of memory, and the visual history of Germany in the twentieth century, has published multiple books on the history of modern Germany and popular culture. During his time at UT he taught dozens of courses on the history of Nazi-era Germany, and since 1993 he has been a faculty member of the Normandy Scholar Program.

In retirement, his main goals are to continue working on his next book, Disturbing Images: Photographing Hitler’s Third Reich, and to travel to parts of Europe he has not yet visited.

Top: Michael J. Churgin. Middle: Davida Charney. Botom: David F. Crew.


Dr. Adrien Smith, new SCJS faculty affiliate, on how literature sparked her interest in Yiddish

How did you become interested in Yiddish?

I became interested in Yiddish while living in Moscow. I came to suspect that Yiddish speech style was the link between three things I held dear: the early 2000s Moscow klezmer scene, Isaac Babel and his cohort of modernist writers from Odessa, and the cult Soviet cartoons I watched in reruns. My curiosity took me to Yiddish classes in Tel Aviv, Vilnius, at Yiddish Farm in New York, and in Moscow, where I worked with Yiddish folklorists, linguists, and translators. In these communities, I found concentrated and complex versions of the kinds of thought, language play, and artistry that had drawn me to Russian literature and Soviet culture in the first place. When I finished graduate school, I had decided to dedicate my career to Yiddish and the community that shares them.

Tell us a little about your research in Yiddish.

My research is about the Yiddish speech culture whose echoes I detected in Moscow in the early 2000s. My dissertation looked at materials ranging from elite plays to children’s poems to analyze how, in the 1960s and 1970s, Soviet artists made strategic use of a certain kind of Yiddish style in Russian. It also explored how a parallel style is detectable in American texts of the same era. It showed how this secular, but identifiably Jewish style contributed to a postwar sensibility that was appealing to Jews and nonJews in both places. I argued that,

in a postwar era when ideologies of monolingualism stimulated the countercultural desire for language that felt forbidden, forgotten, dangerous, or playful, Jews and Jewishness made Yiddish uniquely well suited to fulfilling these desires. In other words, my research attempts to pinpoint why, be it in apartment concerts in Moscow or among listeners of Folkways records in New Jersey, Yiddish was so good at forging creative fellowship, even, or especially, among people who spent most of their time speaking Russian or English.

What is your favorite Yiddish author and why?

My favorite Yiddish writer or, at least, the writer with who is closest to my heart, is the Soviet Yiddish poet Shike Driz. Driz came of age in the modernist days of the late 1920s. Later, despite the liquidation of Soviet Yiddish public culture in the 1940s and 50s and air of the secrecy that surrounded Jewishness thereafter, he adapted prewar Yiddish literary forms to the tastes of postwar audiences with remarkable savvy and success. In the 1960s and 1970s, he achieved renown as a master of lyrical verse among Yiddishists, a counterculture muse among “underground” and avantgarde poets and artists in Moscow, and an entertainer among hundreds of thousands of children who read his poems in Russian translation. One

popular poem from the 1960s, for example, features a kind of anti-hero mouse by the name of Mizl-Mayzl. MizlMayzl’s name recalls a string of prewar Yiddish games, fables, and modernist poems. At the same time, the mouse’s southernness, his good-natured bedraggledness, his outsiderness, and his desire for bushy facial hair all appealed to the sensibilities of readers in Moscow. This was a time when many urbanites were growing beards in the style of Ernest Hemingway and singing Yiddish-inflected Russian outlaw songs. I love Driz for what he could do with Yiddish in this time and place.

What are you looking forward to teaching at UT?

I am greatly looking forward to teaching Yiddish. When all is said and done, my research on Yiddish culture and my teaching are about the same thing: the human connection and creativity that Yiddish makes possible. When I learned to teach Yiddish, I found that making up activities out of literary texts and songs allowed me to build the kind community that I admire from afar in my research. It is this dedication to Yiddish as a collective, inventive enterprise that drew me to UT’s Yiddish program and to Itzik Gottesman’s work. As an instructor at UT, I want to add to this double act of preserving and creating Yiddish culture.

Image: Dr. Smith at the Yiddish Book Center. Credit: Eva Gellman.


Pascale Bos received the Rapaport Fellowship during 2022–23, which allowed her to fnish up two articles: “Sexual Violence and the Holocaust: What can we learn from Holocaust Survivors 75 Years after the Fact?” forthcoming in The Future of Holocaust Testmonies: Preserving, Researching, and Re-Presentng Survivor’s Voices and “Barter, Prostitution, Abuse? Reframing Experiences of Sexual Exchange during the Holocaust,” forthcoming in The Journal of Holocaust Research. She presented at the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the USHMM at the conclusion of her Pearl Resnick Fellowship and gave a presentation of her work at the Rapoport Fellows Colloquium: “Rape, Barter, Prostitution? New Insights on Sex and Sexual Violence during the Holocaust.”

Dennis C. Darling completed, Borrowed Time: Survivors of Nazi Terezín Remember, a book of photos and interviews with survivors of Terezín, forthcoming in early 2024 at UT Press.

ago, of which Eaton, then a student, played a role in organizing. He taught “Civil Society Activities Promoting Coexistence, Shared Society and Peace in Israel/Palestine,” which included a 11-day feld study in Israel. 2023. He manages the Global Career LaunchIsrael Program, which will embed UT Austin undergraduate and graduate students during summer 2023 and 2024 in nonprofts, social enterprises, and philanthropic foundations dealing with issues related to shared society and improving the situation of the Arab-Palestinian population in Israel.

Karen Grumberg published her edited volume, Middle Eastern Gothics: Literature, Spectral Modernites and the Restless Past. She spoke at the Brandeis Scholars Seminar on Israel Studies in the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University, on “Gothic Narratives of Israel/Palestine in Hebrew Novels.” She presented at the Association for Jewish Studies conference on “Queer History-Telling in Alon Hilu’s globalgothic Jaffa.” In non-Gothic news, she managed to coax her fg tree back to life after this year’s ice storm.

Brite Divinity School, at the Nageroni Meeting of the Enoch Seminar, and at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature

Tony Keddie published a co-edited volume with Jaimie Gunderson and Douglas Boin called The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christans: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White, which includes some of the frst publications on UT’s excavations at the ancient synagogue of Ostia, Italy. His own chapter in the book is “The Pliny-Trajan Letters about Christians as Epistolary Fiction.” He published “SecondAmendment Exegesis of Luke 22:3553: How Conservative Evangelical Bible Scholars Protect Christian Gun Culture,” gave an invited lecture on the same topic for the Westar Institute, and organized a panel on “Slavery and Hellenistic Judaism” for the Society of Biblical Literature.

Yuliya Lanina had a number of solo shows including ArtPace (San Antonio), Rabota Room (Milan, Italy), and Xposed Gallery (NYC). Her flm Geflte Fish was screened at Denver Jewish Film Festival, Gula Jewish Film Festival (Israel), Austin Jewish Film Festival, and Trinity University (San Antonio). Lanina was a visiting scholar at Pomona College Media Studies Department on the topic animating silence: trauma, war, and hope.

Heath D. Dewrell published “How Prophecy Gets Written: Hosea, Redactors, and Neo-Assyrian Prophecy” in A Sage in New Haven: Essays on the Prophets, the Writngs, and the Ancient World in Honor of Robert R. Wilson and “Names of God in the Hebrew Bible” with Andrew M. Garbarino in Oxford Bibliographies in Biblical Studies.

David Eaton participated in a conference at Oberlin College honoring the founding of its Hebrew and Jewish Studies programs 50 years

Geraldine Heng published a number of articles last year; gave a number of invited lectures and one named lecture (the Krouse Family Visitor Lecture at the U of Illinois Urbana-Champaign); published an edited volume, Teaching the Global Middle Ages; was appointed Mildred Hayek Vacek and John Roman Vacek Chair; and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Jonathan Kaplan published two journal articles: “Bat Asher and the Disclosure of Special Knowledge, A Second Temple Interpretive Tradition?” in the Jewish Quarterly Review and “The Levitical Jubilee as a Utopian Legal Institution” in Utopian Studies. He also published two essays and a co-edited volume, Covenant and the People of God: Essays in Honor of Mark S. Kinzer. He presented papers at the Torah in Early Jewish and Christian Imaginations conference at

Tatjana Lichtenstein’s article “Mitigating Persecution: Intermarried Families and the Signifcance of Social Networks during the Holocaust in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia” is forthcoming in the Journal of Holocaust and Genocide Studies. This Aug., she is co-organizing the research workshop “Jewish and Romani ‘Mixed’ Families in Nazi Europe” at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. This year she received a Humanities Research Award for 2023–25. In 202324, she is excited to join colleagues at SCJS as a Rapaport Fellow.

Naomi Lindstrom presented a paper on the Argentine Jewish poet Jacobo Fijman at the 28th World Congress of Jewish Studies and spoke at a session on new research on Jews in the Americas at the annual conference of the Association for Jewish Studies. She

published “Ansina by Myriam Moscona: Science, Magic, and Visionary Poetry” in the journal Latin American Jewish Studies. Her article, “The Artist and the Creation: The Vexing Case of Jacobo Fijman,” is in press at Hispanic Journal.

Tracie Matysik published When Spinoza Met Marx: Experiments in Nonhumanist Activity and was promoted to Professor (taking effect in Sept.) She presented the paper entitled “Ursus Sacer: Sovereignty and Bear Life in Heine’s Atta Troll” in Düsseldorf at a workshop on Heinrich Heine and Human Rights.

Samantha Pickette published her first monograph, Peak TV’s Unapologetic Jewish Woman. Since its publication, Pickette has appeared on numerous podcasts and has been invited to speak at Brandeis University, Boston University, and the University of Cincinnati about her work. She recently had an essay entitled “The Sabra within the Schlemiel: Diverging Modes of American Jewish and Israeli Masculinity in Jewish American Literature” published in an edited volume, Imagined Israel(s): Representations of the Jewish State in the Arts. She presented at both the Association for Jewish Studies and Modern Language Association annual meetings this year and has been invited to present at the Association for Israel Studies and American Academy of Religion conferences later in 2023.

Esther Raizen presented the talk

“The Bubatron: Life and Theater as a Journey” at the annual conference of the National Association of Professors of Hebrew. She organized two public events in spring 2023 with Israeli documentary-film producer Dvorit Shargal, who spoke about her journeys following Jewish-Swedish photographer Anna Riwkin-Brick.

Julia Mickenberg (with Ricky Shear) presented a talk at the Modern Language Association on “Valuing the Liberal Arts: Alumni Perceptions and Economic Realities,” based on a survey conducted with UT alumni as part of a Provost Teaching Fellows project. Her article, “’Little Miss Muffet Fights Back’: Mommies at Work and the Radical Roots of Non-sexist Children’s Literature” is being published in the

journal Children’s Literature. The article focuses on a book by Eve Merriam, the focus of Mickenberg’s current book project, The Way We Were: Eve Merriam and the Hidden History of American Feminism, for which she held a Rapoport Fellowship in 2022-23 and on which she gave a presentation at the Rapoport Fellows symposium entitled “Eve Merriam and The Way We Were Jewish.”

Rebecca Rossen is thankful to have won a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and a SCJS Rapoport Fellowship to complete her book manuscript next year, which is about Holocaust representation in contemporary dance. She gave a talk about this work at the Association for Jewish Studies this past fall and will also speak at the Association for Israeli Studies this summer. This spring, she delivered community lectures about dance works that convey survivor testimony on behalf of the UT Tower Fellows Program (at McCombs) and for Ballet Austin (at the JCC), in conjunction with their Light/The Holocaust and Humanity Project.

Jonathan Schofer published “Subject Formation and Subjectivity” in The Encyclopedia of Religious Ethics. Recent presentations include “Eating and Drinking, The World to Come, and the Righteous in This World: Food and Meals in Seder Eliyahu Rabbah, chapter 3-5” at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature and “Comparing Jewish and Muslim Legal Traditions” and “Conversation on the Future of Jewish and Islamic Law” at the Conference on Islamic and Jewish Law in Early 20th Century Egypt.

Steven Seegel published articles for New Fascism Syllabus and Russian Review and had another piece on archiving accepted for East Central Europe. He gave nearly 70 talks and consultations on Russia’s war against Ukraine, including keynote lectures on maps, violence, and genocide. He ranged from Bucharest to UC Berkeley, and Kyiv to Salt Lake City. His February 24th Archive project on Twitter grew to an audience of 17 million people in over 100 countries, as he continues to gather academics, diplomats, journalists, policymakers, war crimes

investigators, NGO activists, and citizens across the world.

Suzanne Seriff was promoted to full Professor of Instruction beginning Fall 2023 and received a Professional Development Award to work on her edited book project, Folk Art in the Time of Covid: Radical Care for Radical Times (co-edited with Marsha MacDowell). She joined the Vice President’s “Commemoration and Contextualization Initiative” in 2022–23 as Project Director of an original archival public history study, “The History of Longhorn Jews: From Exclusion to Activism.”

Geoffrey Smith continued to serve as director of the Institute for the Study of Antiquity and Christian Origins and participated in the Rapoport Fellows program. He co-authored with Brent Landau The Secret Gospel of Mark: A Controversial Scholar, a Scandalous Gospel of Jesus, and the Fierce Debate over Its Authenticity, and published an article in a volume in honor of L. Michael White, entitled “The Archaeology of Two Early Gospels: P.Oxy. 1 and 2 and the Trash Mounds of Oxyrhynchus.” Finally, he helped to acquire for the Harry Ransom Center the Willoughby Papyrus, an early fragment of the Gospel of John.

Bruce Wells presented two papers last fall at the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature: “The Levites in Ezekiel and the Neo-Babylonian Legal-Administrative System” and “How to Find Law in Deuteronomy.” He presented two papers this spring: “Who Wrote the Eden Story? Source Analysis of Genesis 2–3” at a regional meeting in Irving, TX and “The Neo-Babylonian Judicial Oath: Weak or Strong?” at the American Oriental Society meeting.


Ahmad Agbaria, Assistant Professor of Instructon, Jewish Studies

Hina Azam, Associate Professor, Middle Eastern Studies

Samy Ayoub, Assistant Professor, Middle Eastern Studies

Daniel Birkholz, Associate Professor, English

Pascale Bos, Associate Professor, Germanic Studies

Davida H. Charney, Professor, Rhetoric and Writing

Michael Churgin, Raybourne Thompson Centennial Professor, Law School

David Crew, Distnguished Teaching Professor, History

Heather Dewrell, Assistant Professor, Middle Eastern Studies

Ariel Dulitzky, Clinical Professor, Law School

David Eaton, Bess Harris Jones Centennial Professor in Natural Resource Policy Studies, LBJ School of Public Affairs

Karen Grumberg, Arnold S. Chaplik


Professor of Israel and Diaspora Studies, Middle Eastern Studies

Michael P. Harney, Professor, Spanish and Portuguese

Geraldine Heng, Mildred Hajek Vacek and John Roman Vacek Chair, English

John Hoberman, Professor, Germanic Studies

Jonathan Kaplan, Associate Professor, Middle Eastern Studies

Tony Keddie, Associate Professor, Religious Studies

Yuliya Lanina, Assistant Professor of Practce, School of Design and Creative Technologies

Tatjana Lichtenstein, Associate Professor, History

Naomi Lindstrom, Gale Family Foundaton Professor in Jewish Arts and Culture, Spanish and Portuguese

Anat Maimon, Lecturer, Middle Eastern Studies

Tracie M. Matysik, Associate Professor, History

Julia Mickenberg, Professor, American Studies

Mary Neuburger, Professor, History

Martha Newman, Professor, History and Religious Studies

Na’ama Pat-El, Professor, Middle Eastern Studies

Hervé Picherit, Associate Professor, French and Italian

Samantha Pickete, Assistant Professor of Instructon, Jewish Studies

Esther Raizen, Associate Professor, Middle Eastern Studies

Rebecca Rossen, Associate Professor, Theatre and Dance

Jonathan Schofer, Associate Professor, Religious Studies

Steven Seegel, Professor, Slavic and Eurasian Studies

Suzanne Serif, Associate Professor of Instructon, Anthropology

Sara Simons, Associate Professor of Instructon, Theater and Dance

Geofrey Smith, Associate Professor, Religious Studies

Bruce Wells, Associate Professor, Middle Eastern Studies


SCJS EVENTS 2022-2023


September 14

“Archives for the Future: On the Politics of Knowledge Production” Dr. Gil Hochberg, Columbia University

September 15

“Objects Brushed by Violence: What Kinds of Stories Might They Tell?” Dr. Laura Levitt, Temple University

“American Jewish Loss after the Holocaust: An Object Lesson” Dr. Laura Levitt, Temple University

September 20

“The Evil of Banality: On the Life and Death Importance of Liberal Education” Dr. Elizabeth Minnich, Queens University

September 22

Book Talk: The Politics of Arab Authenticity Dr. Ahmad Agbaria, UT Austin


October 3

“Narrating the Past: Reconceptualizing the Collective Memory of the Arabs in Israel” Dr. Arik Rudnitzky, Tel Aviv University

October 13

Kasman Family Lecture in Eastern European Jewish Life and Culture: “The Jews in the Center and on the Periphery: What did the Imperial Authorities know about their Subjects?” Dr. Artem Kharchenko, National Technical University and University of Arts, Kharkiv, Ukraine

October 21

“The Tunnels and Chains in the Hebrew and Yiddish Works of Ayalti” Dr. Adi Mahalel, University of Maryland

October 25

“Wealth and the Origins of Charity in Judaism” Dr. Gregg E. Gardner, University of British Columbia


November 1

“Heroines: Sexual Violence in Hebrew Literature and Israeli Culture” Dr. Ilana Szobel, Brandeis University

November 2

“Contemporary and Historical Perspectives on Sociolinguistic Variation in Yiddish” Dr. Isaac L. Bleaman

November 3

Faculty/Graduate Seminar: “What is so Threatening with the Insincere Convert in 1QS II, 11-18? Bringing the Serekh ha-Yahad into Dialogue with the Theory of Mimetic Desire” Dr. Kamilla Skarström Hinojosa, University of Gothenburg

“Genealogies, Memory, and Writing: An Homage to Margo Glantz / Genealogías, memoria y escritura: homenaje a Margo Glantz”

November 7

“Gender, Race, and the Myth of the Jewish Gaucho” Dr. Amy K. Kaminsky, University of Minnesota

November 9

“The Arc of a Covenant: The United States, Israel, and the Fate of the Jewish People” Dr. Walter Russell Meed, Bard College

November 13

Gale Family Foundation Fall 2022 Lecture: “New Light on the Archaeology of Jerusalem in the 7th Century BCE” Dr. Oded Lipschits, Tel Aviv University

Top: Oded Lipschits, third from left, who delivered the Gale Family Foundation Fall Lecture with SCJS faculty, students, and members of the SCJS advisory board. Bottom: Susannah Heschel delivers the Gale Family Foundation Spring Lecture. Credit: Jonathan Kaplan.

November 14

Faculty/Graduate Seminar: “Jerusalem and Judah in the Babylonian and Persian Periods” Dr. Oded Lipschits, Tel Aviv University

November 29

“Metaphor or Symbol? Temple Imagery and Community Identty in the Serekh ha-Yahad (1QS)” Dr. Kamilla Skarström Hinojosa, University of Gothenburg


January 18

“Memory as Politcs: The Jewish Queston in Contemporary Morocco” Dr. Aomar Boum, University of California, Los Angeles

January 26

“Cain and Abel and Enforced Disappearances: Refectons from an Argentne Jewish Human Rights Lawyer” Ariel E. Dultzky, UT Austn

January 30

Virtual Opera Screening: “Eva and the Angel of Death: Holocaust Remembrance” by Thomas B. Yee and Aiden K. Feltkamp


February 9

Beyond Borders Series: “An IranianIsraeli Collaboraton: The Artsts Keren Farago and Ashkan Roayaee in Conversaton.”

February 13

Annual OU-UT Joint Schusterman Center Lecture: “Jews, Contracepton, and the Culture Wars” Dr. Samira K. Mehta, University of Colorado, Boulder

February 20

“The Sibylline Oracles in Jewish and Christan Transformaton” Dr. Oliva Stewart Lester, Loyola University Chicago

February 22

Book Recepton: Peak TV’s Unapologetc Jewish Woman Dr. Samantha Pickete, UT Austn

February 26

Gale Family Foundaton Spring 2023

Lecture: “White Jesus, Black Jesus, Christan Jesus, Jewish Jesus” Dr. Susannah Heschel, Dartmouth College

February 28

“Israel’s New Far-Right Government and the Middle East Confict” Dr. Ahmad Agbaria and Andrew Lee Buters, UT Austn


March 3

“The Rebirth of Jewish Life in Poland”

Jonathan Ornstein

March 5

Film Screening: “Jud Süß 2.0: Antsemitsm, Misinformaton, and Social Media” followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Tatjana Lichtenstein, Dr. Kiril Avramov, and Ph.D. Candidate Gabrielle Beacken, and moderated by Dr. Samantha Pickete

March 8

“Stop Calling It Jewface: When Gentle Actors Play Jewish Roles” Dr. Henry Bial, University of Kansas

March 21

“In Anna Riwkin-Brick’s Shoes (or: Anna Riwkin-Brick, Children’s Everywhere, and I)” Dvorit Shargal

March 22

“From Decepton to Mass Murder in an Arab Town in Israel” Dr. Danny Orbach, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

March 23

“The Bible as a Book of Memory” Dr. Ron Hendel, University of California, Berkeley

Faculty/Graduate Student Seminar: “Open and Closed Books in the Hebrew Bible and Related Literature” Dr. Ron Hendel, University of California, Berkeley

March 27

“Digital Resources for the Study of Late Antquity” Dr. Daniel L. Schwartz, Texas A&M

“Syriac Prosopography in the Digital Age” Dr. Daniel L. Schwartz, Texas A&M

March 31

“Photography and Memory in Liquid Time: From Barthes to Ernaux” Dr. Marianne Hirsch, Columbia University


April 3

Kasman Family Lecture in Eastern European Jewish Life and Culture: “Jewish Experience during the Holodomor of 1932-1933: Cases from Southern Ukraine” Dr. Yurii Kaparulin, Kherson State University

April 11

“bin’aleyha shel anna rivkin-brik” Dvorit Shargal

April 14

Rapoport Fellows Colloquium

April 17

Conference: “The Ethics of Idolatry: Sun and Cosmos Worship in Judaism and Islam”

April 19

Translatng Hope: Israeli “Poet of the Working Class” Yudit Shahar in Conversaton with her Translator Aviya Kushner. This event was part of the Tarbut: Israeli Arts & Culture series.

April 24

Ice Cream Social

Dvorit Shargal. Credit: Jerry Lantz. Image on opposite page: Margo Glantz speaking at LLILAS-Benson. Credit: Paloma Díaz.

FALL 2022

Jewish American Literature and Culture

Samantha Pickette

Introduction to Jewish Studies

Samantha Pickette

Jewish Civilization: Beginning to 1492

Nathan Leach

The Rise of Christianity

Tony Keddie

Introduction to Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Tatjana Lichtenstein

Introduction to the Old Testament

Heath Dewrell

History of Israel

Ahmad Agbaria

Law and Justice in the Hebrew Bible

Bruce Wells

Civil Society Activities Israel/ Palestine

David Eaton

Holocaust Aftereffects

Pascale Bos

Arab Citizens of Israel

Ahmad Agbaria

Dead Sea Scrolls

Kamilla Skarström Hinojosa


Paul Edgar

Internship in Jewish Studies

Suzanne Seriff


23 We offered 23 courses. 727 We taught 727 students


Jewish Stereotypes in American Literature and Culture

Samantha Pickette

Jewish Civilization, 1492 to the Present

Samantha Pickette

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Nathan Leach

Comparative Religious Ethics

Jonathan Schofer

Divine Persuasion in the Bible

Davida Charney

Biblical Prophecy

Na’ama Pat-El

Arab-Israeli Conflict

Ahmad Agbaria

Introduction to the Holocaust

Tatjana Lichtenstein

Internship in Jewish Studies

Suzanne Seriff

42 We hosted 42 events. 1217+ More than 1217 people attended our events. 36 We had 36 affiliated faculty members.

$76K+ We provided $76,000+ in student support.



The University of Texas at Austin

Patton Hall (RLP) 2.402

305 E 23rd St B3600

Austin, Texas 78712


Dr. Jonathan Kaplan | Director

Dr. Samantha Pickette | Assistant Director

Emily Pietrowski | Administrative Associate

Dr. Karen Grumberg | Faculty Coordinator, Israel Studies

Dr. Naomi Lindstrom | Director, Gale Collaborative on Jewish Life in the Americas

Dr. Suzanne Seriff | Director, Internship Program in Jewish Studies

Michelle D. Escalante | Academic Advisor

Michelle W. Fandrich | Senior Course Scheduler

Uri Kolodney | Hebrew, Jewish, and Israel Studies Liaison Librarian

Dr. Lindsay Alissa King | Annual Editor


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