IMG_9683Dr. Mordechai Z. Cohen, Associate Dean and Professor of Bible at Revel, was in Jerusalem this summer on a visiting Fellowship at the Hebrew University’s Israel Institute for Advanced Studies, along with an international group of scholars studying the relationship between interpretation and law. He delivered a paper at the Institute entitled, “Reflections on Legal Interpretive Creativity by Moses Ibn Ezra and Maimonides: Perspectives of a Poet and a Halakhist,” as part of a conference  on ‘Interpretation and Legal Change: A Comparative Perspective,’ held in Jerusalem on June 14-16m, 2015. (See the Conference Program

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Headshot of Dr. Josuha ZimmermanHow did members of the Polish resistance movement treat Jewish fugitives during the terrible events of World War II? This question, focusing on one of the darkest and most troubling problems in the history of Polish-Jewish relations, is one many people already believe they have an answer for. But in his new book, The Polish Underground and the Jews, 1939-1945 (Cambridge University Press, June 2015), Dr. Joshua D. Zimmerman, Eli and Diana Zborowski Chair in Holocaust Studies and Associate Professor of History at YU and BRGS, urges readers to put aside for the moment what they think they know and accompany him on a groundbreaking journey through the surprising and sometimes contradictory evidence.

In a recent interview with YU News, Prof. Zimmerman discussed how he arrived at conclusions that are often at odds with Jewish collective memory in his book and how those conclusions impact our understanding of Polish-Jewish relations in the context of the Holocaust.

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Yael_Landman WermuthThe Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture has awarded a Doctoral Scholarship to Revel PhD candidate Yael Landman for 2015-2016. Through its generous dissertation grants, the Foundation helps train qualified individuals for careers in Jewish scholarship and research.

Yael is a doctoral candidate in the Bible department interested in biblical and ancient Near Eastern law and literature and Semitic linguistics. Her dissertation, “The Biblical Law of Bailment in Its Ancient Near Eastern Contexts,” examines the institution of bailment through its treatment in biblical and cuneiform law corpora, biblical narrative, and Mesopotamian legal documents.

In response to her achievement, Dean David Berger remarked, “Yael Landman is preparing a groundbreaking study standing at the intersection of biblical law and that of other Ancient Near Eastern societies.  She has already received other  awards and presented her work at scholarly venues.  We expect her to become a noted scholar who will make important contributions to her field.”

 

Book Cover_ZimmermanDr. Joshua Zimmerman, Associate Professor of History and Eli and Diana Zborowski Professorial Chair in Interdisciplinary Holocaust Studies, has published a new book entitled, The Polish Underground and the Jews, 1939–1945 (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

This book examines one of the central problems in the history of Polish-Jewish relations: the attitude and the behavior of the Polish Underground – the resistance organization loyal to the Polish government-in-exile – toward the Jews during World War II. Using a variety of archival documents, testimonies, and memoirs, Zimmerman offers a careful, dispassionate narrative, arguing that the reaction of the Polish Underground to the catastrophe that befell European Jewry was immensely varied, ranging from aggressive aid to acts of murder.

By analyzing the military, civilian, and political wings of the Polish Underground and offering portraits of the organization’s main leaders, this book is the first full-length scholarly monograph in any language to provide a thorough examination of the Polish Underground’s attitude and behavior towards the Jews during the entire period of World War II.

 

Leonard-GrunsteinMr. Leonard Grunstein, a member of Revel’s Board of Overseers, published a new article in the Fall/Winter 2014 edition of the Real Estate Finance Journal entitled “The Origin of Non- Recourse Mortgage Financing: How Ancient Is This Seemingly Modern Financing Technique and Is It Perhaps Sha‘ariah and Halachically Compliant?” The article explains the modern non-recourse mortgage financing structure, traces its origins, and suggests that, conceptually, the non-recourse financing format bears more than a passing resemblance to three financing forms in use in medieval times, known as the Iska (in Judaism), Qirad (in Islam) and Commenda (in Christianity). These forms enabled the financing of trade and business. They also provided for an interest-like return to the financier, in many cases, without violating the Biblical prohibition against making interest-bearing loans. This essay is one of a number of studies that Mr. Grunstein to has published that bring together the fields of finance and halakhah. He has also recently given a shiur on Ribit and Iska at Yeshivat Sha‘alvim.