University of Minnesota
Center for Jewish Studies
jwst@umn.edu
612-624-4914


Center for Jewish Studies

Center for Jewish Studies

About Us

At the Center for Jewish Studies, we are dedicated to exploring the important questions about Jewish history and culture from antiquity to the modern age. Our acclaimed faculty, path-breaking research, expanding undergraduate program, and focus on deepening ties within the University attest to the success and ongoing promise of our mission: to foster a new understanding of Jewish culture and history.

We support the academic study of the historical, cultural, linguistic, ethnic, geographic, and religious diversity of the full range of peoples who identify themselves as Jewish, while fulfilling the educational mission of the liberal arts to promote critical thought, reflection on values, and analysis of sources.


Announcements

  • Community Lecture - "We're No Angels:" Perfectionism in Rabbinic Judaism

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    A lecture by Christine Hayes, Yale University.

    Thursday, September 18th, 2014 @ 7:30PM
    Beth El Synagogue
    5224 W 26th St,
    Minneapolis, Minnesota 55416
    This event is free and open to the public

    What is the perfection to which humans should aspire? Beginning with the talmudic phrase "The Torah was not given to Ministering Angels" this lecture explores radically diverse ancient Jewish conceptions of the nature of human perfection and whether or not humans can be, or should aspire to be, like angels.

    Christine Hayes is the Weis Professor of Religious Studies in Classical Judaica at Yale. A specialist in talmudic-midrashic studies, Hayes offers courses on the literature and history of the biblical and talmudic periods. She is the author of three scholarly books: Between the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds, recipient of the 1997 Salo Baron prize for a first book in Jewish thought and literature; Gentile Impurities and Jewish Identities, a 2003 National Jewish Book Award finalist; and a new book on divine law forthcoming from Princeton University Press. She has also authored two introductory volumes (The Emergence of Judaism and Introduction to the Bible) as well as numerous journal articles. Hayes is active in professional and academic organizations, and currently serves as co-editor of the Association for Jewish Studies Review.

    This series is made possible by a generous gift in memory of Julia K. & Harold Segall.

    Co-sponsored by the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies; the Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World; the Center for Medieval Studies, the Program in Religious Studies; Beth El Synagogue.

    (Continue Reading)09/11/14
  • Campus Colloquium - Divine Law: A Tale of Two Concepts (and three responses)

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    A lecture by Christine Hayes, Yale University.

    Thursday, September 18th, 2014 @ 12:00PM
    201 Nicholson Hall
    216 Pillsbury Drive SE
    Minneapolis, MN 55455

    On what basis is divine law said to be divine? Is it divine because it possesses certain attributes -- universality, truth and static perfection -- that mark it as divine, or because of its origin in a divine will, regardless of its attributes? In late antiquity, two radically distinct conceptions of divine law -- Greek natural law grounded in reason and biblical law grounded in revelation -- confronted one another with a force that reverberates to the present. This lecture explores three ancient Jewish responses to these dueling conceptions of divine law -- responses that would shape western civilization in profound ways.

    Christine Hayes is the Weis Professor of Religious Studies in Classical Judaica at Yale. A specialist in talmudic-midrashic studies, Hayes offers courses on the literature and history of the biblical and talmudic periods. She is the author of three scholarly books: Between the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds, recipient of the 1997 Salo Baron prize for a first book in Jewish thought and literature; Gentile Impurities and Jewish Identities, a 2003 National Jewish Book Award finalist; and a new book on divine law forthcoming from Princeton University Press. She has also authored two introductory volumes (The Emergence of Judaism and Introduction to the Bible) as well as numerous journal articles. Hayes is active in professional and academic organizations, and currently serves as co-editor of the Association for Jewish Studies Review.

    Co-sponsored by the Department of Classical & Near Eastern Studies, Religious Studies, The Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World, and the Center for Medieval Studies.

    (Continue Reading)09/11/14
  • Welcome Ido Zelkovitz, 2014-15 Schusterman Visiting Professor

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    The University of Minnesota received a grant from the Schusterman Foundation to invite
    an Israeli scholar to spend the academic year 2014-2015 with us. Professor Ido Zelkovitz
    is a Research Fellow with the Ezri Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies at the
    University of Haifa, and is a lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern History and the
    Department of Multidisciplinary Studies. Dr. Zelkovitz was a postdoctoral research fellow inThe Institute of Sociology at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany. Dr. Zelkovtiz is also a Member of Mitvim - The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies: an independent think tank that envisions a fresh start for Israel among the nations. His research, academic courses, and public lectures reflect a focus on cross-disciplinary analysis of Palestinian history and politics and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Israel's geopolitical situation in the Middle East and the role of Higher Education and students in building national identities in the Middle East. He is the author of two books and has been published in many academic journals such as Middle Eastern Studies, Israel Affairs, and Ha-Mizrah Ha-Hadash.

    While at the University of Minnesota, Prof. Zelkovitz will teach three courses, including a freshman seminar, "Wars, Memory, and Political Identity in Israel and the Middle East" in the Fall. He will also teach adult education courses at both the Minneapolis and St. Paul Jewish Community Centers, and will give CJS' second Community Lecture of the season at Temple of Aaron on October 22, 2014.

    (Continue Reading)07/10/14

Center News

  • Our Mothers, Our Heimat, Our Holocaust "Ordinary" Nazis on German Television 1984-2014, Lecture by Ofer Ashkenazi

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    (Continue Reading)09/17/14
  • Strange Times to Be a Jew, Perfectionism and Rabbinic Judaism, and other intriguing topics: 11th Annual Community Lecture Series

    The University of Minnesota Center for Jewish Studies is pleased to present its Eleventh Annual Community Lecture Series, in cooperation with synagogues and other sponsoring partners across Minneapolis and St. Paul. Join us as writers, thinkers, and scholars from varied fields address intriguing questions relevant to the Jewish experience today.

    This series is made possible by a generous gift in memory of Julia K. & Harold Segall.

    Events are free and open to the public. A reception follows each lecture.

    (Continue Reading)08/30/13

Events

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