Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, left, and Dr. Alex Jassen discuss major themes in Outside the Bible.
“I think it is a remarkable tribute to this University that two of our three lead editors on this monumental 12-year, 70-scholar project serve on the faculty here, as do several other notable contributors,” said Rabbi Barry Schwartz, director of JPS, as he introduced the evening, which began with a communal candlelighting ceremony led by YU President Richard M. Joel to mark the seventh night of Hanukkah.
“We have to advance earnest and meaningful Jewish literacy, and this book demonstrates so much the beauty and importance that lies beyond the basics,” said President Joel. “A reading of these volumes—filled with apocalyptic visions and prophecies, folktales and legends, collections and sayings, laws and rules of conduct, commentaries and ancient prayers—builds a more colorful and textured understanding of our Jewish history and Jewish story.”
Yeshiva University and Jewish Publication Society Present Dec. 3 Event Celebrating Publication of Monumental Anthology
Yeshiva University and the Jewish Publication Society (JPS) will host a Hanukkah event on December 3 at the Yeshiva University Museum to celebrate the publication of Outside the Bible: Ancient Jewish Writings Related to Scripture (JPS, December 2013).
The book, a three-volume anthology of Second Temple literature, was edited by Dr. Louis H. Feldman, the Abraham Wouk Family Chair in Classics and Literature at Yeshiva University; Dr. James L. Kugel, director of the Institute for the History of the Jewish Bible at Bar-Ilan University; and Dr. Lawrence H. Schiffman, vice provost for undergraduate education and professor of Judaic studies at YU. Read the rest of this entry…
Thirty New Professors Join Yeshiva University’s Distinguished Faculty
Thirty new professors have joined the distinguished faculty at Yeshiva University’s undergraduate and graduate schools, teaching a variety of courses in mathematics, science, business, liberal arts and Judaic studies.
“These new colleagues are dedicated and skilled teachers whose involvement in important research will give our students the chance to share in the excitement of discovery,” said Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, vice provost for undergraduate education at YU. “We look forward to welcoming them to our community of learning.”
Kanarfogel Named E. Billi Ivry University Professor of Jewish History, Literature and Law; Wins Goldstein-Goren Book Award
Dr. Ephraim Kanarfogel, of Teaneck, NJ, has been appointed a University Professor at Yeshiva University, the sixth faculty member in the entire University to be granted this prestigious distinction. His new title, bestowed upon him by YU President Richard M. Joel, designates him as the E. Billi Ivry University Professor of Jewish History, Literature and Law.
Dr. Ephraim Kanarfogel
The title of university professor is reserved for those who have achieved outstanding goals in teaching, publications and research.
“It is a great honor, well deserved,” said Dr. Lawrence H. Schiffman, vice provost for undergraduate education. “Dr. Kanarfogel’s overall contribution to Yeshiva University and his prodigious scholarship and publications make him a fitting holder of a university professorship. His extensive use of unpublished manuscripts and his methodological sophistication have made possible pioneering, original scholarship.” Read the rest of this entry…
Leading Scholars Present their Work at YU’s Inaugural Dead Sea Scrolls Conference
Yeshiva University hosted its first annual Dead Sea Scrolls Seminar at the Wilf Campus on Sunday, May 19, showcasing the work of four Dead Sea Scrolls scholars from YU and beyond.
Dr. Moshe Bernstein offers opening remarks at YU’s inaugural Dead Sea Scrolls Conference.
“The Dead Sea Scrolls is one of those things that people hear about and talk about, and it’s important that people’s talking about it should be based on real knowledge, rather than rumors and misconceptions,” said Dr. Moshe Bernstein, David A. and Fannie M. Denenberg Chair in Biblical Studies, who organized the seminar along with Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, vice provost for undergraduate education and professor of Judaic studies at YU. Read the rest of this entry…
Dr. Lawrence Schiffman on the Growing Popularity of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Why are literally hundreds of thousands of people streaming to exhibits of the Dead Sea Scrolls all over the United States and the rest of the world? Why should anyone even care about these remnants of close to 900 scrolls from the second and first centuries BCE and the first century CE? What possesses some of us in academia to devote our professional careers to teaching and research about the Scrolls?
Yeshiva University presents its first annual Dead Sea Scrolls conference on May 19.
The discovery of the first scrolls by Bedouin in 1947 in Cave 1 at Qumran, on the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, set off a wave of excitement. But this initial interest was misused by scholars who were intent on understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Second Temple period Jewish sect that gathered them as a precursor of Christianity. To make matters even worse, the long delays in publication that ensued understandably fostered conspiracy theories worthy of Dan Brown and the Da Vinci Code, and served as a great distraction from the Scrolls’ real significance and message. After all, they are Second Temple period texts authored, copied and left for us by Jews who lived and breathed devotion to God’s Torah and its commandments, even if they represented an approach that, from the point of view of the sweep of Jewish history, was sectarian. Read the rest of this entry…
Dr. Lawrence Schiffman Leads Delegation to Vatican City
Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, Yeshiva University’s vice provost for undergraduate education, recently led a delegation from the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC), as part of a wider Jewish delegation, to meet with newly-elected Pope Francis in Vatican City.
IJCIC is a coalition of Jewish organizations including the American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith International, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Israel Jewish Council of Interreligious Relations, Rabbinical Assembly, Rabbinical Council of America, Union for Reform Judaism, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and the World Jewish Congress. It was created to represent world Jewry in its relations with other world religions.
“We have seen important and positive developments in the Church’s attitude to the Jewish people and the State of Israel,” said Schiffman, who serves as chair of IJCIC. ”We need to continue to build on this important relationship. Read the rest of this entry…
Dov Lerner on Yeshiva University Museum’s Eruv Exhibition
Shabbat is designed to be a day of rest, relaxation and communal prayer. Due to halakhic restrictions on their carrying items from one place to another, however, observant Jews can become prisoners in their own homes. The rabbis, therefore, wherever they could, came up with a way to circumvent this issue: the eruv. The word literally means “mixture”; and views on the eruv are themselves mixed and hotly debated. The Yeshiva University Museum now has an exhibition devoted to the eruv called, “It’s a Thin Line: The Eruv and Jewish Community in New York and Beyond.” The museum launched the exhibition with a day-long symposium reflecting the debates that the eruv has occasioned.
Among the Sabbath laws is an injunction against transferring an object from a private to a public space or moving it within the public space itself. The prohibited activity is often simply called “carrying.” The activity is heavily regulated, and the rules are complex. Halakhic literatures are occupied by questions of how to define a public or private space and what constitutes a transfer.
For purposes of this idea of “carrying,” the rabbinic discussions generally identify four types of space: reshut harabim, or public space; reshut hayahid, or private space; makom patur, an exempt area; and karmelit, related to the word for “garden,” which is legislatively treated as a kind of limbo, a public space that nevertheless has some characteristics of private space. The karmelit is the only space around which the construction of an eruv is permitted. The eruv’s artificial architecture—often consisting merely of poles and wires—defines the confines of the space as private and, thus, allows carrying within its bounds. Read the rest of this entry…
A Potent Symbol of Jewish Life in America, the Eruv Gets Unprecedented Exhibition at YU Museum
It divides private and public, sacred and secular, work and Sabbath. And you might live in one without knowing it.
The elevated train track on 3rd Ave was the western border of Manhattan¹s first eruv. Chatham Square (pictured here) was on the western edge of the Lower East Side. (YU Museum collection)
The eruv is one of the most fascinating, though little understood and sometimes controversial concepts in Jewish life. Now, for the first time, it’s the subject of an exhibition—It’s a Thin Line: The Eruv and Jewish Community in New York and Beyond—at the Yeshiva University Museum, near Union Square in Manhattan. Read the rest of this entry…
This fall, Yeshiva University students will find their academic experience enhanced by new faculty hires in fields spanning economics, chemistry, political science, history and Torah studies.
“Our new faculty members are dedicated to teaching our students and to a life of research—focuses that help build a great university,” said Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, YU’s vice provost of undergraduate education. “We hope that we’ll have very long associations with them as they continue to contribute to our students and to their fields.”