Center for Jewish Studies Annual Magazine Fall 2020

Page 1


“Transmitting and transforming Jewish scholarship for over 40 years”


FROM THE DIRECTOR It is my privilege to welcome you to the 2020-2021 academic year. This has been an extraordinarily challenging year with the global pandemic and the urgency of addressing the problems of racial injustice and inequities that have become so painfully evident in our communities and in our nation. As educators, scholars, and students in Jewish history and culture, we understand the importance of Jewish Studies for understanding the crisis, and the responsibility that we have in our teaching, scholarship, and engagement with the campus community and public. Those of us who were teaching courses in the spring semester had to transition to online instruction in March within a matter of days. The technical difficulties were great for both teachers and students, but maintaining a sense of community and continuing to make our educational mission relevant to the students under such difficult circumstances presented the greatest challenge. I was co-teaching a course on the “Global History of WWII” this past spring semester. Studying with my students about the greatest global crisis of the twentieth century served as a sobering reminder of what is at stake in the global pandemic that is also affecting the lives of millions of people. I am deeply grateful to our faculty and students who through their perseverance were able to successfully and meaningfully complete the semester. I am grateful to the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota for its continued support of the Center for Jewish Studies amid the ongoing uncertainties produced by COVID-19. I also take the opportunity to express my profound thanks to the staff of the CJS, Associate Director Natan Paradise and Outreach Coordinator Marial Coulter, who worked incredibly hard and creatively adjusted to the circumstances that were changing practically daily. We are particularly grateful to our community partners for your patience and continued support of the Center. Despite having to cancel community lectures and in-person colloquia last spring, the Center for Jewish Studies still had a vibrant year of events. It also marked a year of growth, and we are excited to 1 welcome two new members of the CJS faculty: Sheer Letter From the Director Ganor (Department of History) and Rachel Trocchio 2 (Department of English). I invite you to read this Associate Director’s Report magazine and learn about the activities of the CJS, and 3-4 about the teaching, scholarship and achievements of Undergraduate Student Spotlight our faculty and students. 4 We are excited about the eighteenth annual CJS Scholarship Winners Community Lecture Series, which will be held as virtual Graduate Student Spotlights 5-9 webinars online in the fall. We will keep you informed of other online events planned for the fall. We hope to be Faculty News & Notes 10-13 able to resume in-person events in the spring but have contingency plans for virtual lectures and events should Center for Jewish Studies Donors 14 that be necessary for public safety. I greatly value your engagement and interest Faculty Year in Review 15-18 in the Center for Jewish Studies and look forward to hearing from you. Welcome New Faculty Back Page


With Best Wishes, Daniel J. Schroeter Amos S. Deinard Memorial Chair in Jewish History Professor, Department of History Cover image:The Ten Plagues. From the Offenbacher Haggadah, 1928. The Gross Family Collection, Tel Aviv. Image courtesy of William Gross.


FROM THE ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR & DIRECTOR OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDIES The dominant story for our undergraduate program this past year, as for academia generally, has been the global pandemic. Students and faculty switched in the middle of spring semester, with almost no time to prepare, to remote instruction. And yet our faculty quickly learned to teach using technologies they had never heard of only weeks earlier, and our students were overwhelmingly successful in completing their courses, despite significant personal and financial hardships for some. Summer presented additional challenges to faculty, who had to balance their time between the research and writing they had planned to complete against the time needed to rebuild courses for online instruction in the 2020-2021 academic year, in addition to participating in University-provided training workshops for online teaching. Within our undergraduate program, perhaps the pandemic’s biggest blow has been to student career development. Recent graduates who had gained admission to graduate programs in other countries have had to postpone their plans, unable to cross national borders. Students who worked hard all year to line up post-graduation jobs saw those job offers withdrawn in the face of economic crisis and uncertainty. And students who responded to the College’s push, supported by the CJS, to gain internship experience as an important complement to their academic coursework saw those internships canceled because the sponsoring organizations, themselves struggling to adjust to pandemic conditions, were not positioned to accommodate remote internships. We are hopeful that organizations and businesses in the coming year will be able to host remote internships, and both CLA Career Services and I are available to help develop such opportunities for our students. Despite COVID-19, enrollment in Fall 2020 Jewish Studies courses is comparable to that of previous years. Interestingly, enrollment in our courses by older adults, always strong, is up this fall. Because all of our Fall 2020 courses are being conducted via Zoom or through asynchronous online instruction, it is possible that some people who cannot easily get to campus are finding our curriculum more accessible under pandemic conditions— and probably a welcome engagement in the face of the isolation imposed by pandemic restrictions. Older adults, who enroll through the University’s Senior Citizen Education Program, are valued members of our classroom communities. Some of the history we teach is relatively recent history, and it fundamentally transforms the learning experience for traditionally-aged students, otherwise attached to lectures and textbooks, to have a classmate say, “I was born in a DP camp,” “Here is what I remember about May 14, 1948,” “Let me tell you what it was like trying to find a professional job as a Jew in a very antisemitic Minneapolis,” or “Here’s what happened the first time a woman led services from the pulpit at my synagogue.” If you are interesting in enrolling through the SCEP program, contact OneStop Student Services. Ours is a steadily expanding curriculum. The most recent additions include “The Holocaust in France: Literature, History, Testimony” (Bruno Chaouat), “Jews will not replace us!? Global Antisemitism from its Origins to the Present” (Alejandro Baer), and an Honors Seminar, “Jewish Humor: Seriously Funny from Text to Stage to Screen” (Natan Paradise). These follow on other courses added in recent years such as “Multiculturalism in Modern Israel: How Communities, Ideologies, and Identities Intersect” (Renana Schneller), “Jewish American Literature: Religion, Culture, and the Immigrant Experience” (Natan Paradise), and “Sex, Murder, and Bodily Discharges: Purity and Pollution in the Ancient World” (Patricia Ahearne-Kroll). With two new and junior faculty members recently joining the CJS, we anticipate still more curricular additions in the coming years. Our undergraduate program is strong. With your support, we can make it stronger still. We have significant unmet curricular needs, especially with regard to rabbinic texts and Israel Studies. If you are interested in helping us grow, I invite you to contact me. With gratitude and best wishes, Natan Paradise Associate Director and Director of Undergraduate Studies


UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT SPOTLIGHT Mica Belton: Jewish Studies Champion of Language Learning Senior Mica Belton (Jewish Studies; minors in Hebrew and Arabic) learns languages, it seems, like other people drink water. He will be taking advanced Modern Hebrew in the fall as well as beginning Biblical Hebrew, and he has already completed the Standard Arabic sequence, a course in Jordanian colloquial Arabic, Egyptian colloquial Arabic, advanced Spanish, a course in Portuguese, and intermediate French. He plans to learn Ladino and Judeo-Arabic as well. This constellation of language skills, among other things, gives him access to primary texts in huge swaths of Jewish history and culture. Belton says he began learning languages for mostly practical reasons:

Mica Belton

Hebrew was the first language I started to learn because my niece is Israeli; French because I had plans to go to France for a few days during high school (I somewhat overshot what was expected of me for a three day trip); Spanish because I was going on a mission trip to Puerto Rico and also because many of my coworkers at the time were Spanish speakers; Portuguese because a coworker was from Brazil; and Arabic because I heard a lullaby in Arabic and became absolutely enchanted by the fantastic history of the language and the perplexing constellation of dialects that belonged to it.

He confides, however, a deeper and more motivating reason for his language learning: “I wanted to be someone else. I was a little gay black kid in the middle of the religious white suburbs of Minnesota, so, to say the least, I never fully felt comfortable in my skin no matter where I was. Language was an outlet to find other parts of my personality that I could explore and be comfortable in when the world around me did not seem to want me.” Belton has discovered in the course of his studies, however, that what began as a strategy to escape himself has become an opportunity to introduce himself into contexts that would otherwise seem inaccessible. He observes, “What motivates me today is being able to engage with people around the world that I otherwise, as an American, would never have had contact with. By being able to speak multiple languages, I feel like I’m able to pick myself up and drop myself into entirely new worlds.” His education has thereby become empowering. As he says, “Occasionally, I forget that I have this ability when I’m watching or listening to something in Spanish or any other language, and I go to share it with my family and they give me blank stares. It’s strange how quickly a whole new world can become so familiar that you forget that it’s not as plainly visible to the people around you as it is to you.” Belton did not quite choose to major in Jewish Studies; rather, he says, he “fell into it.” He started out, he says, “in my first year at the U swearing that I would take all the Hebrew courses offered in order to talk to my niece. Then it turned into taking a few more Jewish Studies classes, like Dr. Renana Schneller’s “Multiculturalism in Modern Israel.” One course led to another. Eventually, he says, “I had taken enough classes within the Jewish Studies major that it almost didn’t make sense not to declare the major. I also figured it would give me the most amount of mobility after graduation. I could move on to almost any graduate program that interested me, and if I decided against graduate school, I could go into the work force with my Hebrew skills.” As a senior, Belton is actively thinking about his future direction and his many options. He confesses, “Having these skills translates (pun intended) into so many fields that making a decision to choose just one is somewhat overwhelming.” Not a bad problem to have for a kid who felt he didn’t belong anywhere. Ultimately, though, he would like to be a teacher or professor. And he is motivated in this by a desire to help others see that they belong anywhere they wish to be: I’ve always wanted to be a teacher of some sort, ever since I was very small. One of my strongest memories is that of a particular teacher I had in elementary school who was my first and last black teacher. Ever. Community


college and university included. I also noticed that at the U, the more advanced in my coursework I got (in language studies departments, Classics, Jewish Studies, Linguistics, etc.) the whiter the classes got. So, I want to take up space in places where I don’t normally see people like myself, so that I can be the representation that shows people of color and especially black people that we’re out there, and we can go into any field we want. The Center for Jewish Studies is proud to shine a spotlight on Mica Belton, an exemplary Jewish Studies major with the most impressive portfolio of languages any of us can remember seeing in an undergraduate. And we look forward to seeing his future contributions, wherever he decides he belongs.

JEWISH STUDIES SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS Supporting our excellent cohort of undergraduate and graduate students is central to our mission. Congratulations to our 2020 prize winners! Goldenberg Prize for Outstanding Essays in Jewish Studies Gregory Mello, Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development. Paper title: The Origin, Purpose, and Function of the Beit Alpha Synagogue Zodiac Mosaic Eva Cohen, MA Religions in Antiquity. Paper title: Nineveh at the Nexus of ‘Harlotry’ and ‘Sorcery’: Metaphorical Rebuke of the Assyrian Imperial Oppressor in Nahum 3:4-5 Jonathan Paradise Modern Hebrew Study Prize Mica Belton, Jewish Studies The Leo and Lillian Gross Scholarship in Jewish Studies Leigh Bojan, Jewish Studies Kathryn Huether, PhD candidate in Musicology, in support of her dissertation research and participation in the 2020 German Studies Association and “Lessons and Legacies” conferences, where she will deliver papers on “The End of an Era: Holocaust Ventriloquism, or the Witness Preserved?” The Theresa and Nathan Berman Graduate Fellowship in Jewish Studies Jana Gierden, Ph.D. candidate in Germanic Studies, in support her dissertation research and participation in the 2020 German Studies Association conference, where she will present her paper, “Detangling the Entangled – Yael Bartana’s ...And Europe Will Be Stunned.”

If you would like to contribute to any of these established scholarship funds or create a fund of your own, please contact Peter Rozga in the CLA Office of Institutional Advancement, or 612-6242848.

Tzedakah (charity) box, c. 1920. Unknown artist, Israel. Image courtesy of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Mia). https://


GRADUATE STUDENT SPOTLIGHTS Noam Sienna’s A Rainbow Thread Wins Two Awards Noam Sienna (PhD, History) published his groundbreaking work, A Rainbow Thread: An Anthology of Queer Jewish Texts from the First Century to 1969 (Print-O-Craft Press, 2019), just over a year ago. In that first year, the initial printing sold out. And now his book has won two major awards: The 2020 Judaica Reference Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries, and the 2020 LGBT Anthology Award from the Lambda Literary Foundation. Commenting on the sold-out print run, Sienna notes, “I think it demonstrates what a need there was for this book.” “Before the pandemic,” he reports, “I was able to spend the year traveling to share it with a wide variety of audiences, and I was always amazed by how excited people were about it.” Indeed, the two awards recognize Noam Sienna both the quality and breadth of Sienna’s scholarship as well as speak to the need the anthology fulfills for both an academic and general audience. As Sienna says, “I’m honored to have received these two awards, which represent how warmly the book has been received both in the world of Jewish Studies and in the world of LGBTQ community.” Sienna chose to publish his anthology with a trade press rather than with an academic press because he wanted to have a wider audience than just academics. He is happy with that choice, not only because of the sold-out initial printing, but because he feels Print-O-Craft Press is “doing great work producing creative and beautiful Jewish books, and they gave me a lot of freedom with this book, which I’m grateful for.” He also notes that the press has been able to continue fulfilling orders through print-on-demand services, and a second print run is scheduled for summer 2020. Sienna defended his dissertation (supervised by CJS Director Daniel Schroeter) via Zoom on May 15, 2020. He is currently focused on his academic work on medieval and early modern Sephardi history, including preparing a proposal to publish his dissertation research as a book. He is also devoting attention to a few studies of some of the cases mentioned in his dissertation that he did not have room to fully explore. And finally, focusing on the positives in a pandemic, he says, “I’m also using this time to find new opportunities to teach online, which has meant developing a different pedagogy and learning some new skills, and it’s been very rewarding.”


Jazmine Contreras Illustrates Strategic Selectivity of Holocaust Memory Jazmine Contreras (PhD, History), despite the interruptions and disruptions of the pandemic, completed her dissertation, “We Were All in the Resistance”: Historical Memory of the Holocaust and Second World War in the Netherlands, and conducted her dissertation defense via Zoom on July 17. Working under the direction of Anna Clark (History) and Mary Jo Maynes (History), and with committee members Kirsten Fischer (History), Thomas Wolfe (History), and Alejandro Baer (Sociology, Director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies), Contreras’s research examines contested cultural memories of the Second World War and the Holocaust through an analysis of the monuments, museums, educational programs, and commemoration ceremonies Jazmine Contreras that shape memorial culture in the Netherlands. Contreras conducted interviews in over twenty cities across the Netherlands in support of her research, speaking with members of the Jewish community, with children of resistance members, children of former National Socialist (NSB) members who collaborated with the occupying German forces, museum staff, and educational program directors. She identified interview subjects by enlisting the help of all the major museums, educational organizations, and victim-based organizations related to the Holocaust and Second World War in the Netherlands. In conducting the interviews, she focused on her subjects’ background, whether they ever encountered antisemitism (in the case of Jewish individuals) or discrimination (in the case of children of collaborators), their thoughts about how the Netherlands commemorates the war, and whether or not they think the country has yet to confront its complicity in the Holocaust. Her goal was to identify “how public spaces have enabled the transmission of specific wartime histories and how these groups shape, push back against, or embrace a national narrative of the occupation.” Contreras’s research in the Netherlands was supported by two fellowships at the German Historical Institute in Amsterdam, one in 2017 and one in spring 2020. Contreras concludes that while her dissertation analyzes the tensions inherent to Dutch memorial culture, the project is ultimately a commentary on the complex nature of European Holocaust memory. Despite the large numbers of Jews deported from the Netherlands during the Holocaust, the Dutch are rarely recognized as having collaborated with the Third Reich. This dissertation not only complicates the resistance narrative central to all Western European nations but forces a closer look at the ways in which Western European countries used a narrative of collective victimization in order to rationalize the development of European Union. By highlighting how Holocaust commemoration has become integral to EU values, my dissertation illustrates the strategic selectivity of Holocaust memory within European societies. Contreras was in Amsterdam this spring, in the midst of her writing fellowship, when the pandemic shut everything down and she had to return to Minnesota. This prevented her from conducting final interviews, and she lost access to key secondary sources. Indeed, Contreras reports that monographs published in the Netherlands are nearly impossible to access in the United States, and she ended up emailing some of the authors directly to ask for copies of their work. Because University of Minnesota library services were only available remotely, she was also dependent on the ability of library staff to make books available online. Adequate support coupled with her considerable persistence enabled Contreras to complete her dissertation. The Center for Jewish Studies is proud to count itself among her supporters; Contreras received financial assistance from the Center for Jewish Studies in the form of the Riv-Ellen Prell Award for Research in the Study of Jewish Cultures (2018), and she writes that “the Center has been an incredible source of support these past few years.” This fall Contreras begins a three-year Visiting Assistant Professor position in European History at Goucher College in Baltimore, where she will also begin turning her dissertation into a monograph.


Jeff Cross Invited to Cambridge-Yale Biblical Semantics Workshop Jeff Cross (PhD candidate, Religions in Antiquity), who in 2018 won the Canadian Society for Biblical Studies Joachim Jeremias Prize, was among a select group of twenty graduate students who were invited from an international pool of what the conveners called an “overwhelming number of good applications” to participate in this year’s Cambridge-Yale Biblical Semantics Workshop at Cambridge University. Jeff was invited on the strength of his CV, a letter of application describing his educational background as well as research goals, and a letter of recommendation from CJS faculty member and advisor Bernard Levinson, who praised Jeff’s “linguistic range, comparative perspective, and the strong training he has acquired in both biblical and Second Temple literature.” The workshop, scheduled for five days, represented an opportunity for Jeff to attend sessions by the conveners on aspects of biblical semantics (including lexicography, Jeff Cross cognitive semantics, and the application of semantics in biblical interpretation), as well as a visit to the Cambridge holdings of the Cairo Genizah. The Biblical Semantics Workshop also featured paired study, through which attendees could work on a semantic task over the course of the week with someone from a different institution, presenting their findings at the end to the entire group. In preparation for the workshop, Jeff was asked to read a dozen chapters and articles on biblical semantics and Hebrew lexicography. Unfortunately, shortly after Jeff completed all the assigned preliminary readings, the workshop was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He reports, I had hoped that the workshop would provide me with a working understanding of semantic theories and their application to biblical and Second Temple studies. Since my research concerns processes and practices of interpretation by scribes and learned elites in both biblical and extra-biblical writings--primarily during the Second Temple period--I am interested in the interplay of semantics and hermeneutics. Indeed, motivated by his dissertation research, Jeff has a series of questions he had hoped to engage during the cancelled workshop: “How did scribes and authors creatively (and/or tendentiously) exploit, mold, and reshape the semantic resources of the Hebrew language to support their interpretations of authoritative writings? Is interpretation a driver of semantic change, and, if so, can this be shown persuasively in a methodologically sound way?” In thinking about these questions, Jeff notes, “Lexica of biblical Hebrew often present semantic information in a way that can make the language look like an autonomous entity that develops of its own accord. Or, at the very least, they make it difficult to see clearly the interpretive ingenuity that extends, adapts, and modifies the semantic potential of the texts and traditions scribes and authors were interpreting.” For Jeff, the next question is then “How can biblical Hebrew lexicography take these dynamics into account, assuming that it should?” Despite cancellation of the workshop, Jeff insists that the invitation to participate benefitted his dissertation research. He resolutely observes, “Completing the assigned readings has given me some ideas of how I might move forward in these directions and what resources are out there in the study of semantics.” Nevertheless, as with so many other cancellations due to the pandemic, there unquestionably has been a loss. As he says, “I was also hoping that attending the workshop would offer me the chance to network with other colleagues and scholars in my field with related interests.” Looking ahead, Jeff is throwing himself into the writing of his dissertation, which will be supervised by Bernard Levinson with additional advice from CJS faculty members Patricia-Ahearne-Kroll , Stephen Ahearne-Kroll, and Mohsen Goudarzi, as well as U of M alumna Molly Zahn (University of Kansas). In addition to biblical Hebrew, Jeff has Aramaic, Coptic, Latin, and classical Greek under his belt, and by his own report he has done “a fair bit of work” with the Septuagint and New Testament in Greek, which he also views through the prism of interpretation and exegesis, and so his interest in semantics goes beyond just biblical Hebrew. With his broad linguistic skills and an undergraduate degree in classics as well, Jeff is poised to embark on a highly interdisciplinary academic career, and we look forward to his continued accomplishments.


Jana Gierden Rethinks Entangled Narratives with Israeli Artist Yael Bartana Israeli video and performance artist Yael Bartana, in a 2012 Guggenheim Museum panel discussion following a screening of her critically acclaimed video trilogy, And Europe Will be Stunned (2007-2011), characterized her work as a critique of nationalisms, and of politicians who have lost their imagination. Bartana said of herself, “My role as an artist is to actually open the imagination and to rethink history.” Jana Gierden (PhD candidate, Germanic Studies) brings a similar critical imagination to her academic research, which she locates at the intersection of German studies, media studies, and Jewish studies, and in which she explores the concept of “entangled narratives” both as history and as aesthetic choice. As Gierden explains, the concept of verstrickte Geschichten, or entangled narratives, was developed by the German philosopher Wilhelm Schapp, a student of Edmund Husserl who has not yet made it into the modern philosophical canon, although Gierden aims to change that with a planned translation. For now, however, Gierden describes Schapp in the words of media theorist Bernd Bösel: “an insider’s tip amongst philosophers.” In Schapp’s view, Gierden says, “every human being is inextricably entangled in stories and every single story is in turn entangled in the so-called ‘Weltgeschichte’ (world-story), where all stories have their place. This means that the entangled person and their story never occur alone, but rather appear in the larger context of also being co-entangled in the stories of others and in the encompassing ‘world-story.’” Gierden applies Schapp’s theory to Bartana’s And Europe Will be Stunned, which she characterizes as a project on the history of Polish-Jewish relations and its influence on contemporary Polish identity, as well as an exploration of contemporary antisemitism and xenophobia in Poland. Gierden says of the trilogy: Bartana addresses the complicated Polish-Jewish relationship and the traumatic past of Poland as well as Israel….These three videos depict a fictional political organization called the Jewish Renaissance Movement, whose goal is to propagate the relocation of 3.3 million Jewish emigrants back to Poland, their former homeland. The visual iconography of the trilogy evokes controversial links between fascism, nationalism and Zionism. Living as a Jewish Israeli in Berlin, Bartana foregrounds the importance of thinking about the entanglement of past events and the present and brings them together with observations on personal and cultural identity while crossing reality with fiction. Gierden extends her analysis, moreover, by weaving in the work of Holocaust and memory studies scholar Michael Rothberg and his recent book, The Implicated Subject – Beyond Victims and Perpetrators. In an argument that has implications for Minnesota and the United States generally, as we grapple with the legacy of racism in America, she notes that Rothberg “foregrounds the importance of investigating one’s own implication in difficult, traumatic histories. Rothberg’s notion of the ‘implicated subject’ –a subject that finds itself in a hybrid position of both participating in and suffering from oppression and injustice– provides interesting similarities to the philosophical concept of Wilhelm Schapp’s entangled narratives.” Gierden argues that Bartana’s art together with Schapp’s and Rothberg’s theories “offer a new approach to the interpretation of entangled narratives in performance and video art while simultaneously enabling a close investigation of the most intertwined issues of our times, including racism, xenophobia and displacement.” Gierden will be presenting parts of her argument in a paper addressing the performative elements of Bartana’s video trilogy at a seminar about performance art and politics at the German Studies Association Conference in Washington, D.C. in October 2020. Gierden has completed a Bachelor of Arts in film studies and philosophy at the Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz, Germany, and an international Master of Arts in Audiovisual and Cinema Studies at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University in Frankfurt am Main (Germany), the Université de Liège (Belgium) and the Université de Montréal (Canada). Conducting her research under the supervision of CJS faculty member Leslie Morris, Gierden is herself no stranger to performance art. In a personal engagement with entangled narratives, in this case the University of Minnesota’s response to its past history of antisemitism and racism as laid out in the Fall 2017 Andersen Library exhibit, A Campus Divided: Progressives, AntiCommunists, Racism, and Antisemitism at the University of Minnesota 1930-1942 (curated by CJS Professor Emerita Riv-Ellen Prell), Gierden and other engaged students at the Twin Cities campus organized a silent march from Middlebrook Hall to Coffman Union, only speaking to recite


poetry and read documents in front of four buildings named after individuals implicated in the exhibit. Confronting this local but entangled narrative from her own entangled position as an international student from Germany whose arrival in the U.S. coincided with the beginning of the Trump presidency, Gierden followed up the march with a directed study with Professor Morris, in which she immersed herself in key theoretical works about political performance art as a way to grapple with the issues raised in A Campus Divided. This in turn resulted in a Graduate Research Partnership Program Fellowship in 2018, all of which has fed into her current dissertation research. And thus have Jana Gierden’s personal engagement and academic research become intimately entangled.

Outside wall of Helena Rubinstein Pavilion for Contemporary Art, 2012. Photo: Yair Talmor.


FACULTY NEWS & NOTES Scholarship in Progress: Rachel Trocchio Redefining the Parameters of her Field Imagine yourself at a banquet, and at each banquet table there is an ongoing conversation about some aspect of the human experience—history, culture, politics, religion, art, music, and more. And imagine an endlessly fascinating figure at this banquet, one who could join the conversation at the vast majority of tables and have something relevant and endlessly fascinating to contribute. That banquet is the world of scholarship, and the endlessly fascinating figure represents Jewish studies, a field that spans almost 4,000 years of human experience and within that period touches most parts of the globe. And yet, the connections between Jewish studies and other fields can still surprise. Take, for example, New England Puritanism. The Puritans’ fascination with Judaism is well known, but who would think to connect them to Jewish communities in Lithuania? And Rachel Trocchio yet Rachel Trocchio (Assistant Professor, English), one of the most recent scholars to join the faculty in the Center for Jewish Studies, has done exactly that in her forthcoming article on the Puritans and Karaites, “Lost Tribes East and West,” appearing in New England Quarterly 93, no.3 (Sep 2020). With regard to what she characterizes as the Puritans’ “obsession” with the Israelites, Trocchio explains: Believing they had assumed the Jews’ place as God’s chosen people, the Puritans who traveled to the New World made meticulous study both of Jewish history and the Hebrew language. From Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where a majority of first-generation theologians were trained, to their private studies in New England (and their new college, Harvard), early American divines traced the correlations between Puritan and Jewish experience that would promise them singular access to God’s grace. This much has been well documented. But Trocchio has established an explicit connection not just with the broad Jewish narrative, but with the specifically Karaite narrative, and thus with Jewish communities and thinkers not mythic but real, and far from the North Atlantic and New England environs usually associated with Puritan thought. As an important branch of Judaism, Karaism developed in the Muslim world in the ninth and tenth centuries. Karaite practice is characterized by its rejection of the authority of the Oral Law—and hence of the authority of the rabbis—insisting instead on the necessity of direct, critical study of the biblical text. Protestant scholars in the seventeenth century saw affinities between the Karaite rejection of rabbinic institutions and the concomitant emphasis on individual reading of the Bible and their own rejection of the Catholic Church and their subscription to the primacy of the Word. Based on an account of a Lithuanian Karaite community published in Thomas Thorowgood’s Jewes in America (1650), however, Trocchio has established a Puritan claim of affiliation with Karaites that goes well beyond mere affinity. According to Trocchio, Thorowgood’s tome, which otherwise attempts to demonstrate that Massachusett natives were one of the ten lost tribes, includes a letter by Scottish Calvinist John Dury concerning the Lithuanian Karaite community with whom, Dury believes, the Puritans will march as an army in anticipation of the Second Coming of Christ. “By virtue of the distinctly theological registers that structure his imagining of that community,” Trocchio argues, “Dury effectively calls the Karaites Puritans.” In her essay, Trocchio proposes not only that Dury thus draws an affiliation between Puritans and Karaites that several bodies of scholarship have not given its proper due, but that “as an idea and in the context of the print and manuscript networks that gave rise to it, that affiliation rearranges the parameters of a resolutely Atlanticist Puritan studies that has fixated on New England.” Trocchio’s essay lays the groundwork for a much larger project in which she plans to explore the questions to which a Puritan-Karaite association gives rise: “How is exile experienced in colonial America, before demarcations of state and the rise of the ‘new republic,’ and how does one religious community’s imagination of exile—its own and another’s—serve to cohere its doctrinal commitments and its social bonds?” Trocchio reports that she is excited to see her essay in print, just as we are excited to see the future contributions of her scholarship.


Patricia Ahearne-Kroll’s New Book to Frame Upcoming SBL Section Meeting At the upcoming Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Pseudepigrapha Section will feature a forum with invited panelists on the limitations of reconstructed texts, fabula, and Judaism in Hellenistic Egypt. Aseneth of Egypt: The Composition of a Jewish Narrative (SBL Press, 2020), the new book by CJS faculty member Patricia Ahearne-Kroll (Assistant Professor, Classical and Near Eastern Studies), will serve as the springboard for discussing these broad issues in the field. “Pseudepigrapha” refers to a broad collection of extrabiblical literature, technically those works with a false attribution of authorship, usually to a figure from the Hebrew Bible, although the collection has come to include several unattributed, anonymous texts as well. The goals of the Pseudepigrapha Section of the SBL, according to the SBL program unit listing, include providing “a forum for scholarly discussion of Jewish and Christian pseudepigrapha, Patricia Ahearneto encourage the broader study of pseudepigrapha for its relevance in understanding early Kroll Judaism and Christianity, and to facilitate both cross-disciplinary interaction and further integration of the study of pseudepigrapha within biblical studies.” Ahearne-Kroll has herself recently helped define the field, contributing the chapter, “A History of the Study of Pseudepigrapha” in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: Fifty Years of the Pseudepigrapha Section at the SBL, edited by Matthias Henze and Liv Ingeborg Lied (SBL Press, 2019). According to Ahearne-Kroll, the discussion at the SBL session will focus on several key issues in the field: (1) the limitations of reconstructed texts; (2) the implications of her argument that a core narrative of “Joseph and Aseneth” can be traced back to Hellenistic times; and (3) the contextualization of Jewish literature in Hellenistic Egypt. Ahearne Kroll will be closing the discussion by proposing a future direction for Aseneth studies. Patricia Ahearne-Kroll’s developing manuscript was featured in the “Scholarship in Progress” section of the 2018 edition of this magazine. We are delighted that publication of her research is having such an immediate effect on the field and solidifying her status as a prominent figure in pseudepigraphic studies.

Bernard Bachrach Retires after 53 Years of Service Bernard Bachrach (Professor Emeritus, History), one of the first faculty members in Jewish studies at the University of Minnesota, began his career at the U of M in 1967. During his long and distinguished career, he published 23 books and more than 250 articles, reviews, and reference work entries. Longtime colleague in both Jewish Studies and History, Gary Cohen (Professor Emeritus, History), characterizes him as “a stalwart of the Minnesota history department for decades and an indefatigable scholar of the early Middle Ages who has won national and international renown for his many important publications on Merovingian and Carolingian military affairs, early statebuilding, and the treatment of Jews in early medieval Western Europe.” Bernie Bachrach, before Bachrach’s scholarship and teaching have always been characterized by an absolute he realized exactly how commitment to interdisciplinarity; medieval military history matters in part because it many more papers he’d be is a window into every other aspect of medieval history. His course, “The History of the grading until retirement. Jews in Medieval Europe” was long a mainstay of the Jewish Studies curriculum, and he is the author of Jews in Barbarian Europe (1977) and Early Medieval Jewish Policy in Western Europe (1977). Bachrach is a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, has been a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and served as a Visiting Professor at the University of Heidelburg. He is the founding editor of The Journal of Medieval Military History and co-founding editor of Medieval Prosopography. He received the CEE Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Minnesota in 1993 and was named a College of Liberal Arts Scholar of the College in 2000. He has also been the recipient of a McKnight Research Award. Bachrach was honored with a Festschrift in 2015, The Medieval Way of War: Studies in Medieval Military History in Honor of Bernard S. Bachrach, edited by Gregory I. Halfond (Ashgate, 2015).


Although Bachrach reportedly has a fear of heights, he has unquestionably scaled to the highest rampart of scholarship, and in doing so he has left an indelible mark on his field and on those who had the privilege of learning from him. As Fred Astren, his former undergraduate student (BES 1979) and now Professor of Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University, writes: Bernie Bachrach, my undergraduate advisor, changed my life by helping me transform a love of history and all things medieval into something serious and substantive. For me, studying under him was like earning an advanced degree even before being admitted to graduate school. After more than four decades, his work continues to impel my research and inform my teaching. It is with deep gratitude that I offer congratulations on retirement to my teacher, mentor, and friend! To these sentiments we add our own thanks and good wishes to Bernie, who devoted his entire career to the University of Minnesota, and add our hope for much joy in his retirement.

Jonathan Paradise Named “Vivian Mann Jewish Educator of the Year” Jonathan Paradise (Professor Emeritus, Classical and Near Eastern Studies) received the 2020 Vivian Mann Jewish Educator of the Year Award at the Minneapolis Jewish Federation Annual Meeting in August. Paradise was the founding faculty member in what eventually became Jewish Studies at the University of Minnesota; he taught at the U of M from 1965 until 2004 and continued to teach at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, until 2015. He is, however, completely unable to stop teaching; he has become the lifelong educator for lifelong learners. In addition to developing (with Ruth Paradise) The Key to Modern Hebrew and a suite of other educational Hebrew software publications (, in his “retirement” he taught a course in modern Hebrew organized by his former student and U of M alum and life-long supporter of close Christian-Jewish relations, Jonathan Paradise JoAnn Magnuson, at Living Word Christian Center, he lectures at area churches and synagogues, teaches 16 week courses in modern Hebrew to over 25 adult learners at Beth El Synagogue, teaches a Zoom course hosted by Beth El on Israeli poetry (enrolling 29 students from the Twin Cities and as far away as Florida and Israel), and conducts a number of private, online tutorials. In addition, he has volunteered his teaching expertise at Agamim Classical Academy and the Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School. He has over the years also provided to an international following a “Hebrew Poem of the Week” with commentary—now in hiatus, but with a constant demand that it be resurrected. The “Jewish Educator of the Year Award” is named after Vivian Mann, herself a beloved and respected Jewish educator in the Twin Cities for over 25 years. In honoring Jonathan Paradise’s ongoing educational contributions, the award also recognizes the deep commitment the local community has to education, and to Jewish Studies.

If you would like to help honor Jonathan Paradise, we invite you to contribute to the Professor Jonathan Paradise Fund for Modern Hebrew Language:


Riv-Ellen Prell Receives Lee Max Friedman Medal from the American Jewish Historical Society Riv-Ellen Prell (Professor Emerita, American Studies) has been awarded the American Jewish Historical Society’s 2020 Lee Max Friedman Award Medal for Distinguished Service. The Lee Max Friedman Award Medal was established in memory of a past Society president and is awarded by the American Jewish Historical Society “to any individual, group or association deemed to have rendered distinguished service in the field of American Jewish history.” In selecting Prell for the award, the Society wrote that she “exemplifies a model of humanities scholarship devoted to sustaining community. Her interdisciplinary work has bridged social science and history, bringing together diverse fields and academic communities.” In its award announcement, the American Jewish Historical Society Riv-Ellen Prell singles out what it identified as “two path-breaking books,” Prell’s Prayer and Community: The Havurah in American Judaism, which won the 1990 National Jewish Book Award in Contemporary Jewish Life, and Fighting to Become Americans: Jews, Gender and the Anxiety of Assimilation, which was a finalist for the Tuttleman Award for the best book in Jewish women’s studies in 1999. Of the first book, the Society writes that it “set a standard for social scientific inquiry in Jewish Studies,” and of the second the Society concludes that it radically reconceptualized American Jewish history by placing gender at its heart. This book seamlessly weaves together historical methodologies and deep archival work with cultural analyses. Prell deftly charts the conflicting shifts in gender norms that placed acculturating Jewish women and Jewish men at odds with each other. She excavates the socioeconomic roots of representations of Jewish women and presented a compelling trajectory of twentieth-century American Jewish history. In addition, the award points to Prell’s “pioneering articles in the field,” her edited volume, Women Remaking American Judaism (2007), and the co-edited Interpreting Women’s Lives: Personal Narratives and Feminist Theory (1989), identifying her edited works as “two volumes that advanced the academic study of gender in Jewish and American culture.” Finally, the award recognizes Prell’s work on A Campus Divided: Most recently, she curated the powerful physical and web exhibit “A Campus Divided: Progressives, Anticommunists, Racism and Antisemitism at the University of Minnesota 1930-1942.” It is to date the most widely viewed exhibit in the history of the University of Minnesota and sparked a student movement to address injustice at the University. The website has been viewed by 19,000 people worldwide. The University awarded her its Outstanding Service Award in recognition of the impact of this work. This exhibit continues to educate and motivate students at the University of Minnesota and in the Center for Jewish Studies, where both undergraduate and graduate students have turned to the exhibit and its associated documents in their research. See, for example, the feature article in this issue for how that exhibit motivated current graduate student, Jana Gierden. The mission of the Center for Jewish Studies is “to foster a new understanding of Jewish culture and history.” As the American Jewish Historical Society’s 2020 Lee Max Friedman Award Medal attests, Riv-Ellen Prell has done and continues to do exactly that. For the full text of the award announcement, see


CENTER FOR JEWISH STUDIES DONORS Award winners. International scholars. All of the conributions that you are enjoying in this newsletter would not be possible without our donors. They form the core of our growing community and have our enduring gratitude.

Stephen & Patricia Ahearne-Kroll, Dr. Howard J. Ansel, Allan J. Baumgarten & Marilyn S. Levi-Baumgarten, Lee & Barbara Bearmon, Lee and Barbara Bearmon Family Foundation, Michael L. & Susan Blehert, Angela K. & Richard P. DeLong, Rena Fedorova, Steven Foldes and RivEllen Prell, Foldes & Prell Family Fund, Neal Gale, Norman A. Greenberg & Beth Silverwater, Greenberg and Silverwater Fund at Fidelity, Amy W. Gunby, Elaine J. Handelman, Neal Joffee, Dr. Richard D. Lentz, Sheldon & Delores Levin, Dr. Leonard & Joyce Levitan, Jonathan & Ruth Paradise, Natan Paradise & Barb Curchack, Rev. Dr. Gary & Pam Reierson, Barry C. Rosenthal, Sheva & Thomas Sanders, Dr. Henning Schroeder & Esther Haskvitz, Stephen A. Segal, Dr. Miriam Segall, Dr. Sheldon G. & Pneena P. Sheps, and several anonymous but still generous and valued donors.

We sincerely regret if anyone has been left off this list unintentionally. Please contact us if that is the case. If you would like to make a contribution to the Center for Jewish Studies, including establishing a named fund to support a designated goal within the Center for Jewish Studies, please contact Peter Rozga in the CLA Office of Institutional Advancement, rozga001@ or 612-624-2848.



Our faculty members come from a broad range of departments, and in any given year not all of their research and other activities necessarily relate to the field of Jewish Studies. We include here a sampling of faculty accomplishments that may be of interest to supporters of the Center for Jewish Studies. Patricia Ahearne-Kroll (Assistant Professor, Classical and Near Eastern Studies) co-presented with Stephen Ahearne-Kroll, “Jesus in His Context: Some Common Misunderstandings about Jesus in the First Century,” at the Philippine Minnesotan Medical Association Annual Clinical Conference (August 2019). She contributed the chapter, “A History of the Study of Pseudepigrapha” to a commemorative volume celebrating the work of scholars in the fields of Second Temple Judaism, Dead Sea Scrolls, New Testament studies, and Late Antique Judaism and Christianity: The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: Fifty Years of the Pseudepigrapha Section at the SBL, edited by Matthias Henze and Liv Ingeborg Lied (SBL Press, 2019). In addition, her monograph, Aseneth of Egypt: The Composition of a Jewish Narrative, is forthcoming in Fall 2020 (Early Judaism and Its Literature series, SBL Press), and at the upcoming SBL Annual Meeting in November 2020 a scheduled panel will use her monograph as a springboard for discussing broader issues in the field (see feature article, above). This past year Patricia Ahearne-Kroll Ahearne-Kroll created a new graduate course, “Religion and Power in the Ptolemaic and Seleukid Empires,” which examines the interplay of religious practice and power, and which includes the evidence for and literature about the Maccabean revolt. She also taught Advanced Classical Hebrew (Book of Lamentations), “Sex, Murder, and Bodily Discharges: Purity and Pollution in the Ancient World,” and “Ancient Greece: Alexander and the East.” Shir Alon (Assistant Professor, Asian & Middle Eastern Studies) presented a paper at the Association of Jewish Studies 51st Annual Conference in San Diego, “Middle Class Elegy: Mizrahi Literature in Precarious Times,” on Israeli writer Orly Castel-Bloom’s novel The Egyptian Novel (2015). Her article on Jewish memory in Polish art, “A Specter Is Haunting Poland: Art, Absence, and the European Union,” was published in boundary 2: an international journal of literature and culture 47, no. 1 (2020)

Shir Alon Alejandro Baer (Associate Professor, Sociology; Stephen C. Feinstein Chair & Director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies) presented “‘Not only do we not apologize’… The Columbus Myth and Neo-Imperialist Identity Politics in Spain” at the Social Science History Association Conference in Chicago (November 2019). He was also a featured speaker and project team member at the international, interdisciplinary workshop, “Memory, Trauma, and Human Rights at the Crossroads of Arts and Science,” hosted by the University of Minnesota with the support of the Interdisciplinary Collaborative Workshop (College of Liberal Arts), the Institute of Advanced Study Collaborative, and the Imagine Fund; he spoke on “The Trauma Metaphor. A Sociological Perspective” (October 2019). Baer published three opinion pieces: “La lección de Auschwitz en España” in El País (January 27th, 2020); “The Pox of Vox. The Spread of Far-Right Populism in Spain” (Minnpost, November 18th, 2019) and “Europe’s Last Monument to Fascism and Spain’s Memory Problem,” (Minnpost, October Alejandro Baer 23, 2019). In addition, he published “Spain and the Holocaust. Contested Past. Contested Present,” co-authored with Pedro Correa, in The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to the Holocaust, edited by Simone Gigliotti and Hilary Earl (Wiley-Blackwell, 2020); and “From ‘No Pasarán’ to ‘Nunca Más, The Holocaust and the Revisiting of Spain’s Legacy of Mass Violence,” ’co-authored with Natan Sznaider, in Spain, World War II, and the Holocaust: History and Representation, edited by Sara Brenneis and Gina Herrmann (University of Toronto Press, 2020). Finally, under his direction and with the support of CHGS outreach coordinator. Joseph Eggers, the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies was awarded an inaugural CLA Community Engagement Hub grant for the project, Bridges of Memory. The aim of the project is to bring communities impacted by genocide and mass violence together and create a better conduit between them and the University. In summer 2020 CHGS hosted a series of community dialogues and virtual educator workshops to learn about genocides from the experiences and perspectives of local survivors and survivor-descendant communities. This past year Baer taught “Never Again. Memory and Politics after Genocide.”


Bruno Chaouat ( (Professor, French & Italian) co-organized with historian Manuela Consonni a symposium at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, “Tradition, Fascism and Esoterism,” where he also provided the opening remarks (December 2019). He also co-organized with the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies a panel discussion, “’The Great Replacement’: Conspiracy Theories and Far-right Mass Violence in the Trump Era” (November 13, 2019), in which he was one of the featured panelists and was subsequently interviewed by the MN Daily (November 15, 2019). Chaouat published “Being and Jewishness: Levinas Reader of Sartre,” in Sartre, Jews and the Other: Rethinking Antisemitism, Race and Gender, edited by Manuela Consonni and Vivian Liska (De Gruyter, 2020), and he has forthcoming “Understanding Antisemitism,” an invited essay for a new volume to be published by Cambridge University Press, The Cambridge Companion to Antisemitism, edited by Steven T. Katz.

Bruno Chaouat Mohsen Goudarzi (Assistant Professor, Classical and Near Eastern Studies) presented “A Common Archetypal Scripture, or Major and Minor Scriptures? Narratives of Scriptural History in Academic and Exegetical Writings” at the SBL/International Qur’anic Studies Association Annual Meeting in San Diego (November 2019). He had two lectures canceled due to COVID-19: the first was his talk for the CJS Community Lecture Series, “Judaism in the Qur’an,” which has been rescheduled for October 14, 2020, and the second was a lecture for the Center for Medieval Studies, “Perusal at the Palace: Qur’an Scholarship in the Ottoman Empire.” Goudarzi published an essay on Qur’an exegesis, “Inspiration, Intellect, and the Interpretation of Scripture in Post-Classical Islam,” in Treasures of Knowledge: An Inventory of the Ottoman Palace Library (1502/3-1503/4), edited by G. Necipoglu, C. Kafadar, and C. Fleischer (Studies and Sources on Islamic Art and Architecture: Supplements to Muqarnas, vol. 14, Brill, Mohsen Goudarzi 2019). He also published an article on the significance of Ishmael in the Qur’an, which also discusses the image of Ishmael in the Torah, various para-biblical texts, and rabbinic literature: “The Ascent of Ishmael: Genealogy, Covenant, and Identity in Early Islam,” Arabica 66/5 (2019), as well as a methodological essay, “Peering Behind the Lines,” that discusses the intertextual study of the Qur’an in light of the Bible and other Judeo-Christian writings: Harvard Theological Review 113/3 (2020). He has forthcoming an essay on the figure of Lot in the Qur’an and its comparison with Lot’s portrayal in the Bible as well as with other Jewish and Christian writings before Islam: “Lot,” in Biblical Traditions in the Qur’an, edited by N. Sinai and M. Klar (forthcoming, Princeton University Press, 2021). This past year Goudarzi taught “Exploring the Quran,” which among other things introduces students to the close relationship between the Qur’an, the Bible, and biblically-inspired literature. Bernard Levinson (Professor, Classical and Near Eastern Studies) received a University of Minnesota Imagine Fund for the Arts and Humanities grant to support his research project, “Zedekiah’s Release of Slaves as the Babylonians Besiege Jerusalem (Jer 34): The Problematic Relation of the Ancient Hebrew and Greek Texts.” He also was awarded a Salo W. and Jeannette M. Baron Foundation grant for the project, “Betrayal of the Humanities.” He lectured on “The Impact of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Discovery of the ‘Original’ Version of the Ten Commandments upon Biblical Scholarship: The Myth of Jewish Particularism and German Universalism” at the Biblical Colloquium in Baltimore, MD (November 2019), as well as “Some Neglected Contributions to the Study of Kingship in the Pentateuch and Deuteronomistic History: Gary Knoppers in Memoriam” at the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting in San Diego (November 2019). Due to the Bernard Levinson pandemic, his scheduled plenary address in April at the Regional Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature at the University of Saint Thomas was canceled and rescheduled for next year. Similarly, his keynote address at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver for a special symposium on legal reasoning, in which he was to speak on the role of biblical law in the development of the idea of rule of law and the separation of powers, was also canceled due to COVID-19. Levinson was the posthumous editor of Paul Heger, Institutionalized Routine Prayers at Qumran: Fact or Assumption? Journal of Ancient Judaism Supplements 32. (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019). In addition, he edited Law, Society, and Religion: Essays in Memory of George E. Mendenhall, a special supplementary volume for Maarav: A Journal for the Study of the Northwest Semitic Languages and Literatures 24 (June 2020), which included publication of his essay, “Revisiting the ‘and’ in Law and Covenant in the Hebrew Bible: What the Evidence from Tell Tayinat Suggests about the Relationship between Law and Religion in the Ancient Near East.” Levinson also published “The Impact of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Discovery of the “Original” Version of the Ten Commandments upon Biblical Scholarship: The Myth of Jewish Particularism and German Universalism,” in Confronting Antisemitism in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Vol. 2 of An End to Antisemitism!, edited by Armin Lange, Kerstin Mayerhofer, Dina


Porat, and Lawrence H. Schiffman (de Gruyter, 2020). He has forthcoming “Neglected Contributions to the Study of Kingship in the Pentateuch and the Deuteronomistic History,” in The Formation of Biblical Texts: Chronicling the Legacy of Gary Knoppers, edited by Deidre Good, Margaret Cohen, Jonathan S. Greer, and Ken Ristau (Mohr Siebeck, forthcoming 2021), as well as “At the Intersection of Scribal Training and Theological Profundity: Chiasm as an Editorial Technique in the Primeval History and Deuteronomy,” in Chiastic Reflections: The State of the Art, edited by John W. Welch and Donald W. Parry (volume under review). This past year Levinson taught “Biblical Law & Jewish Ethics.”

Hanne Loeland Levinson

Hanne Loeland Levinson (Assistant Professor, Classical and Near Eastern Studies) presented “Praying for Death: Death-Wishes in the Hebrew Bible,” a public lecture at St John’s Episcopal Church, Saint Paul (March 31, 2019). She published “Die nie aufhörende Suche nach Gottes weiblicher Seite: Weibliche Aspekte im Gottesbild der Prophetie“ in Prophetie, edited by Irmtraud Fischer and L. Juliana M. Claassens. Die Bibel und die Frauen: Eine Exegetisch-kulturgeschichtliche Enzyklopädie, vol. 1.2. (Kohlhammer, 2019). The essay will also appear in English as “The Never-Ending Search for God’s Feminine Side: Feminine Aspects in the God-Image of the Prophets” in Prophecy, edited by Irmtraud Fischer and L. Juliana M. Claassens. The Bible and Women: An Encyclopaedia of Exegesis and Cultural History, vol. 1.2. (SBL Press, anticipated 2020). A Spanish version is also in press, with an Italian version forthcoming. This past year Levinson taught “The Bible: Context and Interpretation” and “Women, Gender, and the Hebrew Bible.

Rick McCormick (Professor, Department of German, Nordic, Slavic, and Dutch) published his book, Sex, Politics, and Comedy: The Transnational Cinema of Ernst Lubitsch (Indiana University Press, 2020). The book is part of the Indiana University Press series on German-Jewish Cultures, and the press received a subsidy to allow McCormick’s book to be available for free in an open access, online version to those unable to order it: pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Rick McCormick Leslie Morris (Professor, Department of German, Nordic, Slavic, and Dutch), was an invited speaker at the conference, “Reimagining the Discipline,” at Cornell University (September 2019), where she spoke on “Unsettling German Jewish Studies.” She co-organized, moderated, and served as panelist for an event that was part of “Deutschlandjahr,” the “Year of German-American friendship,” initiated by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut, along with the Leo Baeck Institute, and held at Mt Zion Temple in St Paul (October 30, 2019); incoming CJS faculty member Sheer Ganor was the invited speaker, lecturing on “Lessons from the German-Jewish Migration.” Morris also moderated the discussion and interview with cellist Janet Horvath at the Center for Holocaust and Genocide studies event commemorating Kristallnact, “Piercing the Silence. Holocaust Memories and Lessons in Context (November 7, 2019). Morris also served as a project team member for the international, interdisciplinary workshop, “Memory, Trauma, and Human Rights at the Crossroads of Arts and Leslie Morris Science,” hosted by the University of Minnesota with the support of the Interdisciplinary Collaborative Workshop (College of Liberal Arts), the Institute of Advanced Study Collaborative, and the Imagine Fund. Morris’s creative engagement with She Did Not Speak, an ongoing hybrid memoir that moves between prose poetry, memoir, and philosophical meditation (published in the Georgia Review volume LXXII, number 4 (Fall/Winter, 2018)) continued with a public reading hosted by the Rimon Jewish Arts Council, June 3, 2019. On April 4, 2020, a large-scale experimental choral and orchestral piece, composed by Isaac Roth-Blumfield and based on She Did Not Speak, entitled “I See You,” was to premiere at the New England Conservatory of Music, followed by a performance in New York City on April 24, 2020. The performance was postponed because of the pandemic, as was an April reading from She Did Not Speak at Wisdom Ways, a ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. Morris published “Interrogating the Archive,” co-authored with MJ Maynes, in Perspectives on History. Newsmagazine of the American Historical Association 57:9, 2019. She has forthcoming “German Jewish lengevitch: A Plurilingual Poetics of Meddling,” in Nexus: Essays in German Jewish Studies, edited by Ruth von Bernuth and Eric Downing (forthcoming, Boydell & Brewer, 2020), and she is co-editor with Joseph Moser and co-author of the introduction to a special issue on “Czernowitz,” Journal of Austrian Studies (forthcoming Fall 2020). This past year Morris taught “The Holocaust: Memory, Narrative, History.”


Karen Painter (Associate Professor, School of Music) published a review article of Sara Levy’s World: Gender, Judaism, and the Bach Tradition in Enlightenment Berlin, edited by Rebecca Cypess and Nancy Sinkoff (Eastman Studies in Music), in The American Historical Review (February 2020).

Karen Painter Daniel Schroeter (Professor, History and Amos S. Deinard Memorial Chair in Jewish History), gave the keynote lecture, “Refugees from Arab Muslim Countries after 1948? Towards an Understanding of Forced Migration of Sephardi/Mizrahi Jews in Modern History,” at the conference, “New Directions: Sephardi-Mizrahi Migrations in Global Contexts,” Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Sede Boqer, Israel. He also gave an invited lecture, “Kikar Hashalom, Ashkelon, 1986: The Ephemeral Monument to ‘King of Morocco, Mohammed V, Friend of the Jewish People, Righteous Among the Nations’,” Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheva (December 2019). He led a post-screening discussion of the film, “The Unorthodox,” at the 2019 Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival (September 22, 2019). Schroeter published an article, co-authored by Aomar Boum, “Why did Morocco Just demolish a Holocaust Memorial?” Haaretz, (September 22, 2019). His Daniel Schroeter teaching contributions included an undergraduate seminar, “Jerusalem: Jews, Christians, & Muslims in the Contested City, Ancient to Modern Times,” and a graduate seminar with Professor Michael Lower, “Muslims, Christians, and Jews from Muhammad to Modernity (Fall 2019), and he co-taught with Hiromi Mizuno, “Global History of World War II” (Spring 2020). Schroeter’s PhD advisee, Noam Sienna, successfully defended his dissertation at a Zoom defense in May 2020. Renana Schneller (Director of Hebrew Language Instruction, Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies) was again awarded an Andrew M. Mellon Foundation Grant for Less Commonly Taught Languages to develop three more courses in advanced Hebrew in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Maryland and at the University of Michigan, to be shared as open source courses within the Big Ten Academic Alliance. The courses developed are “Ethics and Religion in Israel,” “Societies in Israel,” and “Gender Issues in Israel.” Schneller also developed an online, asynchronous Hebrew course offered for the first time at the University of Minnesota in Spring 2020, consulting with experts in the CLA Language Center, Liberal Arts Technologies and Innovation Services (LATIS), and The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA). The course drew both traditional students Renana Schneller and non-traditional students from the Twin Cities and from other states. Schnelle was also again invited to conduct graduate level courses in the summer Hebrew language program of Middlebury Language Schools, teaching “Theories and Methodologies in Language Teaching” and “Language Assessment.” Schneller was to have delivered a paper at the 2020 National Association of Professors of Hebrew conference in Toronto, but the conference was postponed due to the pandemic. This past year Schneller taught beginning, intermediate, and advanced Modern Hebrew as well as “Multiculturalism in Modern Israel.”

Rachel Trocchio (Assistant Professor, English) has published an article (see feature) on the Puritans and Karaites, “Lost Tribes East and West,” New England Quarterly 93, no.3 (Sep 2020).

Rachel Trocchio


WELCOME NEW CJS FACULTY Sheer Ganor (Assistant Professor, History) joins the faculty of the University of Minnesota in fall 2020. Dr. Ganor received her PhD in history, with a focus on Jewish history and modern European history, from the University of California, Berkeley in 2019. She is currently adapting her dissertation, In Scattered Formation: Displacement, Alignment and the GermanJewish Diaspora, into a book manuscript; Sheer Ganor this work traces the emergence of a transnational diasporic network of Jewish refugees who escaped Nazi Germany and its annexed territories. A historian of Germanspeaking Jewry and modern Germany, Dr. Ganor’s research focuses on the nexus of forced migration, everyday histories and cultural identities, and her next book-length study will analyze forced migration into Germany throughout the twentieth century. One section of this project will focus on the arrival of Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe into Germany in the aftermath of the First World War and the Russian Revolution. Rachel Trocchio (Assistant Professor, English) joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota in fall 2019. Dr. Trocchio earned her PhD in English from the University of California, Berkeley, where she wrote a dissertation (currently being adapted into a book manuscript) titled American Puritanism and the Cognitive Style of Grace. Her research on New England Puritanism maps onto Jewish studies typologically, proceeding from the Puritans’ obsession with the Israelites and their belief that they had assumed the Jews’ place as God’s chosen people--which in turn led to meticulous Puritan study of both Jewish history and the Hebrew language. Dr. Trocchio’s research, however, has uncovered a more specific connection growing out of the Puritan insistence that America’s Native inhabitants were Jews, as well as a historiographical tendency that explicitly connected Puritanism and Karaite Judaism. She is interested in exploring how the Jewish imagination of exile shaped Puritan doctrinal commitments and social bonds. Rachel Trocchio

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA CENTER FOR JEWISH STUDIES College of Liberal Arts 251 Nicholson Hall 216 Pillsbury Drive S.E. Minneapolis, MN 55455 612-624-4914 Staff Daniel Schroeter, Professor and Director Natan Paradise, Associate Director & Director of Undergraduate Studies Marial Coulter, Outreach Coordinator Magazine Credits Editor: Natan Paradise Assistant Editor and Designer: Nicholas Nyachega

Advisory Board Center Director: Daniel Schroeter Board Chair: Allan Baumgarten Sally Abrams Maryls Badzin Stuart Bear Frank Berman Bruno Chaouat Holly Brod Farber Bernard Goldblatt Steven Hunegs Erwin Kelen Ronald Krebs Steve Lieberman Leslie Morris Riv-Ellen Prell Rev. Dr. Gary Reierson Tom Sanders Dr. Miriam Segall Rabbi Adam Stock Spilker

Ruth Usem Mary Ann Wark ex officio: Rabbi Alexander Davis Rabbi Max Davis Rabbi Jeremy Fine Rabbi Harold Kravitz Rabbi Michael Latz Rabbi Adam Rubin, PhD Rabbi Sharon Stiefel Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman

© 2020 Regents of the University of Minnesota The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.