Samuel & Althea Stroum Lectures in Jewish Studies 2017-09-04T22:40:51+00:00

The Sefer Ha-Brit by Phineas Hurwitz

History of the Stroum Lectures

It has been over 30 years since Murray Shiff, then Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, and Edward Alexander, chair of the Jewish Studies Committee at the UW, got an idea that was quite ambitious for a relatively small and isolated Jewish community: to bring to the UW each year an internationally-known Jewish studies scholar for a series of lectures – lectures that would reach not only the Seattle community but, through publication, a nationwide audience as well.

Shiff asked one person after another for the financial resources needed. One after another, they turned him down – until he talked with Sam Stroum, who proved willing to add support for what became the Samuel & Althea Stroum Lectureship in Jewish Studies to the very long list of worthy causes to which he was already committed. The lectures have put the Center, the UW, and Seattle on the Jewish Studies “map” worldwide.

With the Stroum’s support, The University of Washington Press has published over 16 books based on the lectures; the books have collectively sold tens of thousands of copies. Several have won national book awards, and many are used in university courses around the country. To learn more about the series, visit the UW Press website.

Past Stroum Lectures

Since 2000, the Stroum lectures have been recorded and can be viewed at any time on streaming video. Click on a link to watch a specific series; then click on one of the  lectures in that series.

Quick Links:

2016 – Hebrew & The Creative Imagination, Dara Horn & Ilan Stavans
2015 – Dreams of Sefarad: Explorations of Modern Sephardic Identity, Ruth Behar
2014– School Photos and Their Afterlives: A Comparative Jewish Perspective, Marianne Hirsch & Leo Spitzer
2012– Behind a Best Seller: Kabbalah, Science, and Loving One’s Neighbor in Pinhas Hurwitz’s Sefer ha-Brit, David Ruderman
2012– The Emerging Identities of Younger American Jews, Stephen Cohen
2011– Revivals and Awakenings in American Judaism, Jonathan Sarna

2010– Agnon’s Moonstruck Lovers: The Song of Songs in Israeli Culture, Ilana Pardes
2009– Encounters with the Past: Remembering the ‘Bygone’ in Israeli Culture, Yael Zerubavel
2008– Biblical Politics, Michael Walzer
2006, Fall– Creation, Revelation & Redemption: The Religion of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Lawrence H. Schiffman
2006, Spring– Speaking in Tongues: Translating Yiddish in the 20th Century, Anita Norich
2005– Sephardi Jewries and the Holocaust, Aron Rodrigue
2004– Find Yourself a Teacher: The Mentor/Disciple Relation in Classical Jewish Thought and Contemporary Practice, Susan Handelman
2003– Spirituality in America: The Jewish Renewal Movement, Chava Weissler
2002– Autobiographical Jews: Essays in Jewish Self-Fashioning, Michael Stanislawski
2001– Post-Traditional Jewish Identities, Paul Mendes-Flohr
2000– Studying the Jewish Future, Calvin Goldscheider

2016

Dr. Dara Horn & Dr. Ilan Stavans, Amherst College

“Hebrew & the Creative Imagination”

May 23
Living in Hebrew – Dara Horn

May 24
Dying in Hebrew – Ilan Stavans

2015, Spring

Dr. Ruth Behar, University of Michigan

“Dreams of Sefarad: Explorations of Modern Sephardic Identity”

May 18
Places: Loss and Memory

May 20
People: Longing & Reinvention

2014, Spring

Dr. Marianne Hirsch, Columbia University & Dr. Leo Spitzer, Dartmouth College

“School Photos and Their Afterlives: A Comparative Jewish Perspective”

March 31
School Photos in the Era of Assimilation: Jews, Indians, and Blacks

April 2
Framing Children: The Holocaust and After

2012, Fall

Professor David Ruderman, University of Pennsylvania

“Behind a Best Seller:
Kabbalah, Science, and Loving One’s Neighbor in Pinhas Hurwitz’s Sefer ha-Brit

October 22
A Remarkable Modern Jewish Book and its Entrepreneurial Author

October 24
Who Were the Readers of Sefer ha-Brit and Why Did They Read it?

2011

Professor Jonathan Sarna, Brandeis University

“Revivals and Awakenings in American Judaism”

May 9
The Shaping of American Judaism– includes a special tribute to Althea Stroum

May 11
The Reshaping of American Judaism

2010

Professor Ilana Pardes, Hebrew University, Jerusalem

“Agnon’s Moonstruck Lovers: the Song of Songs in Israeli Culture”

These lectures are available as audio recordings

April 25
‘Upon the Handles of the Lock’: Agnon, Balak and the Israeli Bible

April 27
Agnon’s Ethnographies of Love and the Quest for the Ultimate Song

2009

Professor Yael Zerubavel, Rutgers University

“Encounters with the Past: Remembering the ‘Bygone’ in Israeli Culture”

May 17th
Bridges to Antiquity

May 19th
Mirrors of Galut (Exile) in the Homeland

May 21st
When the New Becomes Old

View Invitation

2008

Professor Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

“Biblical Politics”

Part 1
Where Were the Elders?

Part 2
Prophecy and Social Criticism

 Part 3
The Meaning of Kingship

2006, Fall

Professor Lawrence H. Schiffman, New York University

“Creation, Revelation & Redemption: The Religion of the Dead Sea Scrolls”

Part 1
God, Humanity and the Universe in the Dead Sea Scrolls

Part 2
Scripture, Law and Life in the Dead Sea Scrolls

Part 3
Apocalyptics, Messiahs and the End of Days

2006, Spring

Professor Anita Norich, University of Michigan

“Speaking in Tongues: Translating Yiddish in the 20th Century”

Part 1
How Tevye Learned to Fiddle

Part 2
Remembering the Past in Yiddish

Part 3
Becoming American: Yiddish in the Golden Land

2005

Professor Aron Rodrigue, Stanford University

“Sephardi Jewries and the Holocaust”

Part 1
The Holocaust and the End of Judeo-Spanish Culture in the Balkans

Part 2
Rhodes: The Island of Memory

Part 3
North African Jewry and the Trauma of WWII

2004

Professor Susan Handelman, Bar-Ilan University, Tel Aviv

“Find Yourself a Teacher: The Mentor/Disciple Relation in Classical Jewish Thought and Contemporary Practice”

Part 1
Teacher-Student Reciprocity

Part 2
Teachers and Study Partners

Part 3
Becoming a Living Book

2003

Professor Chava Weissler, Lehigh University

“Spirituality in America: The Jewish Renewal Movement”

Part 1
Jewish Renewal in the American Spiritual Marketplace

Part 2
Four Worlds and Kabbalah

Part 3
Gender and Jewish Renewal

2002

Professor Michael Stanislawski, Columbia University

“Autobiographical Jews: Essays in Jewish Self-Fashioning”

Part 1
Asher of Reichshofen and Glikl of Hameln

Part 2
Two Russian Jews: Moshe Leib Lilienblum and Osip Mandelstam

Part 3
Autobiography as Farewell: Stephan Zweig and Sarah Kofman

2001

Professor Paul Mendes-Flohr, Hebrew University, Jerusalem

“Post-Traditional Jewish Identities”

Part 1
Cultural Disjunctions and Modern Jewish Identity

Part 2
Jewish Cultural Memory: Its Multiple Configurations

Part 3
Jewish Learning, Jewish Hope