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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.

 

mitokh-haohel-coverA third book in the Mitokh Ha-Ohel series featuring collections of essays by Yeshiva University faculty is being released this week. The first of a three-volume series on prayer, From Within the Tent: Essays on the Weekday Prayers from the Rabbis and Professors of Yeshiva University (The Michael Scharf Publication Trust of RIETS/Yeshiva University Press and Koren Publishers, 2014) is a compilation of writings from over three dozen YU faculty members — including Roshei Yeshiva, deans and professors — who draw upon a range of diverse sources to help readers gain a better understanding of the weekday prayers.

The book was edited by YU Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Daniel Z. Feldman, who is also a professor at Sy Syms School of Business and executive editor of YU Press, and Dr. Stuart W. Halpern, who serves as an academic advisor on YU’s Wilf campus, assistant director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought and assistant director of Student Programming and Community Outreach at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. For Halpern, the release marks a personal milestone, as this is the 10th book he has edited for YU Press over the last five years.

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Book--High Resolution PhotoDr. Karlip’s recently published book, The Tragedy of a Generation: The Rise and Fall of Jewish Nationalism in Eastern Europe (Harvard University Press, 2013) examines the “ideal” of Diaspora Nationalism, a pre-WWII movement seeking Jewish national autonomy within Europe, and its complex relationship to other ideologies such as Yiddishism, traditional Judaism, Zionism and socialism. Karlip, Associate Professor of Jewish History at Revel and Yeshiva College, focuses on three Diaspora nationalist leaders—Yisroel Efroikin, Zelig Kalmanovitch and Elias Tcherikower—from the 1905 Russian Revolution through the movement’s ideological demise with the rise of Nazism and the Holocaust.

Karlip’s work has garnered outstanding praise in the AJS Review, Foreign Affairs, and East European Jewish AffairsAccording to one reviewer, Ezra Mendelsohn (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in East European Jewish Affairs), “Karlip leads us, in some detail, through the permutations, the seemingly endless shifts of opinion, and the bursts of pessimism and optimism that characterised the advocates of the autonomist idea during the period between the two Russian revolutions and during the interwar period.”  

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IS9_HR_proef6 copyWe congratulate Prof. Mahnaz Moazami, who has regularly taught Middle Persian at Revel for many years, on the publication of a major study.   Some of her courses are taught in conjunction with Prof. Yaakov Elman, whose pioneering work on the interface between Talmudic and Middle Persian culture has transformed the academic study of the Talmudic period in Babylonia.  This book deals with a text that is fascinating in itself but also sheds light on the similarities and differences between the  legal and ideological world of Zoroastrian scholars  and that of the Sages of the Babylonian Talmud.  For details about the book, see http://www.brill.com/products/book/wrestling-demons-pahlavi-widewdad.

 

rsz_koller-esther (1)Esther in Ancient Jewish Thought (Cambridge University Press, 2014)

On the background of a broad but detailed survey of major trends in Jewish thought during Second Temple times, this book provides a new understanding of the purpose and meaning of Esther.  Focusing on intertextual relationships and the history of ideas, the book shows how controversial Esther was for centuries, and how it became the beloved book known today.

 

The Iranian Talmud: Reading the Bavli in Its Sasanian Context, authored by Revel alumnus Dr. Shai Secunda, has been reviewed by Simcha Gross on the blog of the Center for Jewish Law and Contemporary Civilization at Cardozo Law School. 

Review of Shai Secunda, The Iranian Talmud: Reading the Bavli in Its Sasanian ContextPhiladelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013. 272 pp. $55.00.

By Simcha Gross

Nearly forty years ago, after scholars such as Saul Lieberman had thoroughly contextualized Palestinian rabbinic literature within its Greco-Roman cultural and historical environment, Jacob Neusner conducted a similar study for Babylonian Jewry, asking “How much Iranian in Jewish Babylonia?”[1]  His answer: not much.  Neusner argued that the rabbis did not know much about Iranian religion and culture, and therefore could not possibly have consciously incorporated Zoroastrian motifs, themes, or laws into rabbinic texts, and the few that did make it in, Neusner surmised, were due to the rabbis’ ignorance of their origin. The limited Persian material of which the rabbis do seem aware is little more than the commonplaces associated with daily life in a Persian society.  According to this view, as opposed to Palestinian rabbinic literature, the study of the Bavli should turn its focus inwards, contextualizing the Bavli within Jewish and rabbinic history alone. Neusner’s essay marked the start of a thirty year lapse in the comparative study of the Bavli and Persian cultures.

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Shana SchickRevel alumna Dr. Shana Schick’s article, “Negligence and Strict Liability in the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds: Two Competing Systems of Tort Law in the Rulings of Early Amoraim,” was recently published in the Jewish law journal Dine Israel (vol. 29 [2013]). The article explores the differences between the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds’ laws holding people responsible for inadvertent property damage.
Schick received her doctorate in Talmudic Studies from Revel in 2011, making her the first woman to graduate from Yeshiva University with a PhD in Talmud. She is currently pursuing post-doctoral work at the University of Haifa’s Department of Jewish History and Thought.
 
gurock bookDr. Jeffrey S. Gurock’s book, Jews in Gotham: New York Jews in a Changing City, 1920-2010 (NYU Press, 2012), featured in the New York Times Sunday Book Review in November. The book, as the NYT wrote, ”covers the wax and wane of immigration, segregation, suburban flight, anti-Semitism, socialist conviction and Zionism” from the 1920s onward. 
 
Dr. Gurock is the Libby M. Klaperman Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University, and teaches American Jewish History at Revel. Jews in Gotham is the third volume in City of Promises: A History of the Jews of New York edited by Deborah Dash Moore.  
 

kanarfogel-bookDr. Ephraim Kanarfogel, E. Billi Ivry University Professor of Jewish History, Literature and Law at Yeshiva University, is the recipient of the Association of Jewish Studies’ (AJS) 2013 Jordan Schnitzer Book Award in the fields of Biblical Studies, Rabbinics, and Jewish History and Culture in Antiquity for his latest book, The Intellectual History and Rabbinic Culture of Medieval Ashkenaz (Wayne State University Press, 2012). According to the AJS, the prize “recognizes and promotes outstanding scholarship in the field of Jewish Studies and honor scholars whose work embodies the best in the field: rigorous research, theoretical sophistication, innovative methodology, and excellent writing.”

“This is probably the most prestigious award offered in the field of academic Jewish Studies in the United States,” said Professor David Berger, Dean of YU’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. 

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9789004238169_cover_cmyk_proof02.inddArt, History and the Historiography of Judaism in Roman Antiquity explores the complex interplay between visual culture, texts, and their interpretations, arguing for an open-ended and self-aware approach to understanding Jewish culture from the first century CE through the rise of Islam. The essays assembled here range from the “thick description” of Josephus’s portrayal of Bezalel son of Uri as a Roman architect through the inscriptions of the Dura Europos synagogue, Jewish reflections on Caligula in color, the polychromy of the Jerusalem temple and new-old approaches to the zodiac, and to the Christian destruction of ancient synagogues. Taken together, these essays suggest a humane approach to the history of the Jews in an age of deep and long-lasting transitions—both in antiquity, and in our own time.

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