The Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program at Yeshiva College welcomed Dr. Steven Fine, the Dean Pinkhos Churgin Professor of Jewish History at Yeshiva University and director of the YU Center for Israel Studies, to its pre-Chanukah Honors Luncheon on Wednesday, Nov. 18. Dr. Fine presented the lecture, “What did the Temple Menorah Look Like? An Academic Search, A Personal Passion.”
He shared an account of his intellectual formation that led to his study of the menorah of Herod’s Second Temple in ancient Jerusalem. He detailed his investigation of the Arch of Titus in Rome, which depicts the menorah, explaining how his team uncovered traces of paint on its engravings, and how the revelation of color had profound implications for how we understand ancient artifacts – a finding widely covered in the world media. His work lead to the building of a replica of the Arch of Titus displayed at the Yeshiva University Museum and can now be found in the Furst Hall lobby on the Wilf Campus.
Dr. Fine also participated in an engaging Q&A session with YC Honors students about his research. Lavi Teitelbaum ’21YC remarked, “It was refreshing – and fun – to see how Dr. Fine brings his research out of the narrow scope of academia and into the worlds of spirituality and interpersonal connection.”
“Dr. Fine’s work is an extraordinary testament to the Jewish people,” said Dr. Eliezer Schnall, Honors program director. “The Arch of Titus was intended as an ancient memorial to the Jewish nation, supposedly defeated by the Romans in antiquity. And now, long after the Roman Empire has fallen, that very Arch is memorialized at a Jewish museum.”