Yigal-sklarinRevel PhD candidate Rabbi Yigal Sklarin was recently awarded the prestigious Pomegranate Prize from the Covenant Foundation, which recognizes five passionate and talented emerging leaders in Jewish education who have been working in the field for 10 years or less.

Sklarin earned his BA in history from Yeshiva College where he received the Max and Sophie Manicoff Award for Excellence in Talmud. He received semicha [rabbinic ordination] from YU-affiliated RIETS and was a member of the Wexner Kollel Elyon. He also completed an MA from the Revel, where he is now pursuing a PhD in Modern Jewish History.

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rsz_img_3979Halakhic texts were shown to “talk” social history at the special Revel lecture “Aspects of Thirteenth-Century Jewish Lay Piety” by Bar-Ilan University Professor Judah Galinsky on November 24. Galinsky, a Revel alumnus, focused on discussions in rabbinic texts that aimed to explain why otherwise observant Jewish men in medieval Ashkenaz did not don tefillin. This was especially problematic

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10 Elisheva Carlebach, Jewish historyRevel extends an enthusiastic congratulations to Elisheva Carlebach, Salo Baron Professor of Jewish History, Culture and Society in the Department of History, Columbia University, and adjunct Professor of Jewish History, Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, who is the recipient of the Association for Jewish Studies’ (AJS) 2014 Jordan Schnitzer Book Award in the category of Medieval and Early Modern Jewish History for her book, Palaces of Time: Jewish Calendar and Culture in Early Modern Europe (Harvard University Press).

According to the AJS, the prize “recognizes and promotes outstanding scholarship in the field of Jewish Publication Palaces-of-TimeStudies and honors scholars whose work embodies the best in the field: rigorous research, theoretical sophistication, innovative methodology, and excellent writing.” The prize, awarded once in three years per category, will be presented on Sunday night December 14, 2014 at the AJS Conference in Baltimore.

Upon receiving notification of this award, Dean David Berger reacted as follows: Prof. Carlebach is a scholar of international renown and is also a figure of great stature in the professional leadership of the field of Jewish Studies.  There is no higher compliment than to say that this book is worthy of her.  Prof Carlebach’s position as Senior Adjunct Professor in the Bernard Revel Graduate School adds luster to our institution and affords our students a treasured opportunity to benefit from her instruction and her guidance.


The recently released movie “Noah” brought together top academic minds on Sunday, November 30, at the Yeshiva University Museum for a symposium titled “Modeling the Flood Story: Midrash and Movie,” presented by the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, Yeshiva College and YU Museum. The scholars analyzed popular Noah movies past and present in the context of the Torah’s account of Noah, interpretations of photo 7that account in Midrash [rabbinic biblical exegesis], and the flood story as deciphered in clay cuneiform tablets from Mesopotamia.

The 2014 movie, directed by Darren Aronofsky, and written by Aronofsky and Ari Handel, was criticized for deviating from the biblical story by Dr. Irving Finkel, curator and an authority of cuneiform on clay tablets from ancient Mesopotamia at the British Museum. In contrast, Dr. Devora Steinmetz, who serves on the leadership team for special programs at Drisha, said that the movie made her go back to the text.

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Noah's Ark

On Sunday, November 30th, 2014 from 2 – 5 PM, the Yeshiva University Museum, together with Yeshiva College and the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, will be hosting a symposium titled “Modeling the Flood Story: Midrash and Movie,” featuring interpretations of the Biblical flood account and a discussion of the 2014 film Noah. Reservations are required and tickets are available, free of charge, at www.yu.edu/noah:

PART 1 The Biblical Flood Story, Background and Interpretation

The Mesopotamian Flood Story: Old Stories, New Discoveries
Dr. Irving Finkel 
(The British Museum)
Brave New World: The Biblical Flood Story in its Literary Context
Dr. Devora Steinmetz (Drisha Institute)
Rabbinic Interpretation of the Flood Story
Dr. Jeffrey Rubenstein (New York University)

PART 2 Noah (2014)

Biblical Films and Noah
Dr. Eric Goldman (Yeshiva University)
Noah as Midrash and Art
Rabbi Hayyim Angel (Yeshiva University)
, Dr. Devora Steinmetz, and Dr. Jeffrey Rubenstein 
in conversation with
 Dr. Eric Goldman

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Reif Q&AA feeling of camaraderie pervaded the fifth floor of Furst Hall on October 29 when Professor Stefan Reif delivered a talk at Revel about attitudes toward non-Jews in Genizah documents. Speaking without a microphone, Professor Reif interspersed his lecture with personal anecdotes and Yiddish sayings, and regaled the audience with stories of his time in Jew’s College, London. He made special note of his relationship with Hakham Solomon Gaon, who founded the YU Sephardic Studies Program, and in whose memory the lecture was dedicated. Not merely an academic analyzing dry Genizah texts, Reif is a deeply committed Jewish scholar who loves bringing the primary sources of our tradition to life.

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Galinsky CroppedOn Monday, November 24 at 7:00 P.M. in Furst Hall – Room 535, Revel will host a guest lecture by Dr. Judah Galinksy, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Talmud and Rabbinic Literature at Bar-Ilan University, on “Aspects of Lay Piety in the Jewish Community During the 13th Century.” Response by Professor Ephraim Kanarfogel, Revel’s E. Billi Ivry University Professor of Jewish History, Literature and Law. Free parking is available to event attendees at YU Parking Lot (E) – 2497 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY, 10033.

Click to RSVP and join, share, and like our Facebook Event!

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rsz_20140129_revel_symposium_059Haifa Professor Yeshayahu Maori, a many-time visiting professor at Revel, just published an article on Rashi based on his talk at the Revel Symposium on Parshanut ha-Miqra this past January. Appearing in the Israeli academic journal Sha’anan, this study focuses on Sefer ha-Zikkaron, a supercommentary on Rashi by R. Avraham Bakrat, who settled in Algiers after the 1492 expulsion from Spain. Maori presents Bakrat’s theory regarding Rashi’s motives in incorporating midrash into his commentaries—notwithstanding his stated peshat agenda.

Click here to download the full article.


Shana SchickRevel alumna Shana Strauch Schick, the first woman to earn a Revel PhD in Talmud (2011), has recently published an article in the Israeli academic journal Zion entitled “A Re-examination of the Bavli’s Beruriah Narratives in Light of Middle Persian Literature” (Zion 79:3 [2014]: 409-424).

This study, written in Hebrew, comprehensively investigates the Talmudic passages relating to the famous Beruriah, identified as the daughter of R. Hanina b. Teradyon and wife of R. Meir. While most Jewish women in that era were uneducated, Beruriah is presented as a scholar of a very high level, to the point where other scholars would consult her on matters of halakhah and Jewish doctrine. Schick argues that the Beruriah narratives are best understood within the context of Sassanian (Middle Persian) culture, where women were afforded the opportunity to engage in scholarly pursuits.

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Reif FlatscreenPlease join us on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 7:30 P.M. in Furst Hall, Room 535 for a guest lecture by Dr. Stefan Reif: “Attitudes to Non-Jews in Prayer Texts Found in Early Hebrew Manuscripts.” (Click to RSVP)

Dr. Reif is Professor Emeritus of Medieval Jewish Studies at Cambridge University, the retired Director of the Cairo Genizah Collection/Research in the Cambridge University Library, the retired Director of the Oriental Division of the Cambridge University Library, a Fellow of St. John’s College at Cambridge University, and the former President of the Jewish Historical Society of England and of the Cambridge Theological Society. Dr. Reif also served as a lecturer at the University of Glasgow and at Dropsie College in Philadelphia. 

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