Robert Alter Awarded Doctor Philsophiae Honoris Causa
The Center for Jewish Studies is delighted to announce that Robert Alter, Emeritus Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature, and founding Director of the Center for Jewish Studies, has been awarded two degrees of Doctor Philsophiae Honoris Causa; one from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and one from the University of Haifa, for his work as "a leading scholar in the field of comparative literature, who combines in his work a passion for language with tireless intellectual curiosity." The Honorary Degree Ceremonies will take place in Spring 2015 in Jerusalem and Haifa... read more »
Contact:4401 Dwinelle Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
Monday March 2, 20155:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Graduate Student Colloquium: The Jewish Subject Traversing 20th Century History
The annual Jewish Studies graduate student colloquium will take place Monday, March 2. Sheer Ganor, Danny Luzon, and Hanna Seltzer will present their current work, followed by responses from faculty members, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in 120 Durant Hall. There will be a reception from 7-8 in the Durant Atrium.
Location: Durant Hall, UC Berkeley campus
Thursday March 12, 20155:00 p.m. Reception, 6:00 p.m. Lecture
SAMUEL KASSOW on "Jewish Warsaw before WWII"
The Taube Philanthropies, in collaboration with the Center for Jewish Studies, the Graduate Theological Union, and The Magnes, are pleased to host Professor Samuel Kassow who will discuss Jewish Warsaw before World War II as well as his involvement in co-curating the 19th century and interwar galleries of the new POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, in Warsaw.
Samuel Kassow, Charles H. Northam Professor of History at Trinity College, holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University. He has been serving as a consultant to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews that will be built in Warsaw. Professor Kassow is the author of Students, Professors, and the State in Tsarist Russia: 1884-1917 (1989), The Distinctive Life of East European Jewry (2003) and Who Will Write Our History: Emanuel Ringelblum and the Secret Ghetto Archive (2007), a book which received the Orbis Prize and which was a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award. He has also co-edited Between Tsar and People (1993).
Location: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley
Wednesday March 18, 20156:00 - 8:00 p.m.
"Deus sive Vernunft: Schelling’s Transformation of Spinoza's God."
Yitzhak Melamed is a professor in the Department of Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University. He holds an M.A. in philosophy and the history of science and logic from Tel Aviv University, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Yale University (2005). He has been awarded the Fulbright, Mellon, and American Academy for Jewish Research Fellowships. Recently, he has also won the ACLS Burkhardt (2011), NEH (2010), and Humboldt (2011) fellowships for his forthcoming book on Spinoza and German Idealism.
Location: 282 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley campus
Wednesday March 18, 20156:30 p.m. Reception, 7:00 p.m. Lecture
AMERICAN JEWISH EXPERIENCE LECTURE SERIES: PROFESSOR SARAH BENOR "Mensch, Bentsh, and Balagan: Language as a Marker of Jewish Identity"
Sarah Benor describes the range of Jewish American English – from the addition of a few Yiddish words among Jews with weak connections to organized Jewish life to the “Yeshivish” of strictly Orthodox Jews, which is filled with words from Yiddish, Hebrew, and Aramaic and Yiddish influences in grammar and pronunciation. Jews of various stripes use subtle variation in language to signal their textual knowledge, religious denomination, ancestral origin, and orientation toward Israel. As this talk demonstrates, "Jewish language" serves not only to distinguish Jews from non-Jews but also to distinguish Jews from Jews.
Dr. Benor is Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies at the Los Angeles campus of HUC-JIR, where she teaches masters students in the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management and undergraduates at the University of Southern California. She has lectured widely about the social science of American Jews, sociolinguistics, Jewish languages, and Orthodox Jews. She is the author of Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism (Rutgers University Press, 2012, winner of the Sami Rohr Choice Award for Jewish Literature), as well as several articles in Jewish studies and linguistics. She is founding co-editor of the Journal of Jewish Languages and founder and editor of the Jewish Language Research Website and the Jewish English Lexicon.
Location: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley
Tuesday April 14 and Wednesday April 15, 2015Time: TBD
Reflections on the Legacy of Nuremberg: The 70th Anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials
Friday April 24, 20154:00 - 6:00 p.m.
PHILIP SCHULTZ on The Wherewithal: A Novel in Verse
Author Philip Schultz will read from his newest book, The Wherewithal: A Novel in Verse, including remarks on the form of the book, followed by Q&A, and a book signing.
One of American poetry's longtime masters of the art, Philip Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and the founder/director of The Writers Studio, a private school for fiction and poetry writing based in New York City. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Failure (Harcourt, 2007), winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize. These poems give voice to failures of many kinds and yet they are full of tenderness, empathy, and heartbreaking honesty, giving equal praise to the joy of life. His other collections include The Wherewithal: A Novel in Verse (2014), The God of Loneliness: New and Selected Poems (2010), Living in the Past (2004), and The Holy Worm of Praise (2002), all published by Harcourt. He is the author of Deep Within the Ravine (Viking, 1984), recipient of The Academy of American Poets Lamont Prize; Like Wings (Viking, 1978), winner of an American Academy & Institute of Arts and Letters Award and a National Book Award Finalist; and the poetry chapbook, My Guardian Angel (Stein, 1986). He has published a memoir entitled My Dyslexia (Norton, 2011), in which he recounts his difficulties with the debilitating language disability, and his struggles to overcome it. Schultz’s work has been published in The New Yorker, Partisan Review, The New Republic, The Paris Review, Slate, and other magazines. He is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and a 2005 Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry. He also received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry (1981), a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry (1985), as well as the Levinson Prize from Poetry magazine.
The Center for Jewish Studies is delighted to announce that Robert Alter, Emeritus Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature, and founding Director of the Center for Jewish Studies, has been awarded two degrees of Doctor Philsophiae Honoris Causa; one from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and one from the University of Haifa, for his work as "a leading scholar in the field of comparative literature, who combines in his work a passion for language with tireless intellectual curiosity." The Honorary Degree Ceremonies will take place in Spring 2015 in Jerusalem and Haifa.
In discussing this monumental achievement with Professor Alter, he told me in his very gracious manner, that beyond any personal tribute, these awards represent an important confirmation of the University of California, Berkeley, as a prominent world center for Jewish Studies, and underscores a vital, ongoing connection between UCB and these prestigious Israeli institutions.
In the award letter, Hebrew University President, Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson and Rector, Professor Asher Cohen write, "...the Senate wishes to acknowledge your innovative and far-reaching contributions to the fields of literary studies, primarily modern European literature and Hebrew literature, and to the field of biblical studies and biblical translation. Two 'bookends' of a career of inducting readers into the intricacies and magic of literary production and the pleasures of literary consumption are Partial Magic: The Novel as a Self-Conscious Genre (1975) and The Pleasures of Reading in an Ideological Age (1990). Between those is a whole shelf of books on modern Hebrew and Jewish literature, including The Invention of Hebrew Prose and Necessary Angels, and beyond those are the literary readings of the Hebrew Bible - The Art of Biblical Narrative, The Art of Biblical Poetry and the World of Biblical Literature. Those groundbreaking books helped establish an entire field of biblical poetics... Finally, we wish to acknowledge your superb translations of the Hebrew Bible. To date you have translated the Five Books of Moses, Psalms, Samuel I and II, the Wisdom Books and several of the Prophets and will soon complete the translation of the Bible as a whole. This is a monumental accomplishment that has reignited the literary beauty of the Hebrew Bible, breathing new life into these ancient texts. Your translations have become the canonical English translations of our time and crown a uniquely distinguished career."
Congratulations to Professor Alter on this recognition of his outstanding contributions to Jewish scholarship!
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer has just announced the inauguration of the Center for Jewish Studies on the Berkeley campus. He and the Chancellor expressed their commitment to the Center and all of its aspirations, and invites the campus community to a lecture by the Center's Founding Director, Emeritus Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature Robert Alter on Wednesday, October 30.
Today I am pleased to announce the inauguration of a new Center for Jewish Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
The Center will coordinate both a new “Designated Emphasis in Jewish Studies” for graduate students from a wide range of academic disciplines, and a robust Jewish Studies undergraduate minor. More broadly, it will gather faculty, students and visiting academics for research and debate across the broad scholarly landscape of Jewish Studies, and will provide an extraordinary opportunity for fruitful exchanges with the Bay Area Jewish community.
I have asked Robert Alter, Emeritus Professor and world-renowned scholar and translator of Hebrew Literature and the Bible, to serve as the Center’s Founding Director; Professor of Architecture Jill Stoner will be the Center’s first chair and chair of Graduate Programs; and Law Professor Kenneth A. Bamberger will serve as its co-chair, and chair of undergraduate Jewish Studies.
The Center builds upon Berkeley’s long tradition of leadership in the study of Jewish literature, history, and rabbinics, providing institutional capacity to deepen these strengths programmatically and to expand our offerings. It offers a model for national leadership in Jewish Studies through its disciplinary breadth; the faculty of the Center comprises professors from departments and schools that include comparative literature, Near Eastern Studies, history, sociology, music, German, journalism, architecture, law and theater, dance and performance studies.
In addition to coordinating its academic programs, the Center will sponsor an annual series of endowed lectures, and host visiting scholars and faculty who will teach both undergraduate and graduate courses in Jewish Studies. In the context of these programs, students can take advantage of a wealth of resources from across campus, including the Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israeli Law; Economy and Society’s constituent programs in Israel Studies and in Jewish law and thought; the vast Jewish cultural resources of the University’s Magnes Collection for Jewish Art and Life; and the campus library’s renowned Jewish Studies, Yiddish, and Hebrew-language holdings. The Center will also serve as an important locus for and convener of programs and collaborations with other institutions and with the community.
Chancellor Dirks and I share in the belief that the Center will enhance and augment the already strong tradition of Jewish Studies scholarship at Berkeley. We have committed funding to administer the Center through its first three years, and look forward to collaborating with the Bay Area Jewish community as the Center and the vision for its future take shape.
Please join us in celebrating this exciting addition to our campus. The first such opportunity comes already in 2 weeks. Founding Director Robert Alter will give an inaugural lecture for the Center on October 30th on the subject of "The Untranslatable Poetry of Yehuda Amichai.” The lecture will be at 6:00 pm at the Graduate School of Journalism, Northgate Hall. We hope to see many of you there.
George W. Breslauer
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
Information about the October 30 event may be found in the Calendar section of the Center's web site: http://jewishstudies.berkeley.edu