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The Rabbi’s Daughter: New Evidence on Spiritual Resistance in the Holocaust

Join us Wednesday, January 7, 2015 at 7 p.m. in Congregation Bnai Yeshurun located at 641 W. Englewood Avenue in Teaneck, New Jersey for a special community lecture  by Professor Shnayer Leiman, commemorating the first yahrzeit of Mrs. Esther Manischewitz z”l.

Professor Leiman’s lecture will address the role of women in transmitting Torah teaching from one generation to the next, identifying an otherwise unknown young woman who heroically laid down her life for the cause of Torah. It will also deal with the recent discovery of a document whose significance for the history of Torah study before, during and after the Holocaust will be examined. Click to RSVP

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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 because the Talmud (b.Rosh ha-Shanah 17a) states that “a skull that does not don tefillin” will be consigned to Gehenna. Rabbenu Tam sought to remove his coreligionists in Ashkenaz from this classification by suggesting that they were well-intentioned and refrained from donning tefillin because they feared they would be unable to maintain the requisite levels of purity and holiness befitting the tefillin. Subsequent rabbis, including Joseph Bekhor Shor, added that those who did not don tefillin may have been motivated by a sense of religious modesty, and of not wanting to distinguish themselves by publicly observing a commandment neglected by others.

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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

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.


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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img_5482_SLRevel celebrated its 48 MA Program graduates of 2013-2014 at the school’s annual Year-End Student-Faculty Reception on May 28. The event took place on the Wilf Campus, utilizing Revel’s new Graduate Lounge and Dean’s Suite on the third floor of Furst Hall. The event brought together students, faculty, and new graduates and their families.

img_5466_SLIn his address to attendees, Dean David Berger stressed the academic qualifications of Revel students and alumni that make the school so scholastically unique. “There is no other graduate program with a substantial body of students who can almost all confront the classical sources of Judaism in their original languages with the knowledge and sophistication that you bring to your studies,” he stated. “It is a pleasure–even an honor–to teach you.”

img_5469_SL-smallThe first part of the program featured a special presentation by Revel’s senior adjunct Visiting Professor of Jewish History and Literature Sid Z. Leiman to retiring YU Judaica librarian and collector Zalman Alpert, who has served as an indispensable resource for Revel and other YU faculty for over 35 years. Leiman presented Alpert with

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polyglot11It isn’t every day that you have the occasion to study a 16th century piece of history.  Revel students were treated to just that on Friday, April 25 when Professor Jesús de Prado Plumed, an expert from Universidad Hebraica de México, joined Prof. Ronnie Perelis’ Medieval Jewish History class and Prof. Jeffery Freedman’s Stern College class on the “History of the Book” at the New York Public Library to view the Compultense Polygot Bible, from the library’s collection. 

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