“Insiders and Outsiders: Diaspora Jews and the Construction of Jewish Identity and Culture”

Press Contact: Eve Glasberg
Office: (212) 678-8089
Email: evglasberg@jtsa.edu

March 22, 2011, New York, NY

The Melton Research Center for Jewish Education of The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), in collaboration with Hebrew University and Ohio State University, will present “Insiders and Outsiders: Diaspora Jews and the Construction of Jewish Identity and Culture” at the JTS campus, 3080 Broadway (at 122nd Street) in New York City, on Monday, April 4, 2011, at 7:30 p.m. The program is sponsored by the Samuel M. Melton Coalition for Creative Interaction. Admission is free, but reservations are required. RSVP online at http://www.jtsa.edu/insiders-outsiders or call (212) 280-6093. Please arrive at least 15 minutes early to allow sufficient time for registration, and have photo ID available.

Jews throughout their history have defined themselves and their culture in light of the Jewish traditions to which they were heirs and guardians and against the backdrop of the civilizations in which they lived. “Insiders and Outsiders” is a dialogue with Professors Marc Hirshman, Benjamin Gampel, and Robin Judd—scholars of ancient, medieval, and modern Jewish civilization, respectively—to explore the dynamics of Jewish cultural and identity construction over the course of Jewish history and to comment on the contemporary educational implications of their findings.

Professor Marc Hirshman (Hebrew University) focuses his work on the areas of rabbinic literature and its instruction, rabbinic thought in antiquity and its translation into modern educational systems, and comparative studies of Judaism and Christianity in Late Antiquity. Among his books are The Stabilization of Rabbinic Culture 100 CE–350 CE: Texts on Education and their Late Antique Context and A Rivalry of Genius: Jewish and Christian Biblical Interpretation in Late Antiquity. Professor Hirshman served as senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem from 1989 to 2008.

Professor Benjamin Gampel (JTS) teaches courses in medieval and early modern Jewish history, with a special focus on medieval Sephardim, and lectures widely on the entire range of Jewish history. He has written The Last Jews on Iberian Soil and edited Crisis and Creativity in the Sephardic World. His current project is a book-length treatment of the riots and forced conversions of 1391 on the Iberian Peninsula. An energetic scholar and teacher, Professor Gampel is dedicated to bringing the history of the Jews to a broader public audience.

Professor Robin Judd (Ohio State University) teaches modern Jewish history, German history, and women’s history. She has written Contested Rituals: Circumcision, Kosher Butchering, and German-Jewish Political Life in Germany, 1843–1933 and a number of articles concerning Jewish history, gender history, and ritual behavior. Her current project is tentatively titled “Love at the Zero Hour: European War Brides, GI Husbands, and European Strategies for Reconstruction.” Professor Judd is the recipient of two teaching awards at Ohio State.

Visit JTS at www.jtsa.edu.