Jewish Studies Year in Writing, 2017-182018-10-08T08:42:53+00:00

Jewish Studies Year in Writing, 2017-18

Miss any of the great writing that appeared on our website in 2017-18? We’ve gathered our top articles written by students, faculty and friends of Jewish Studies — on Sephardic culture, Israel, Hebrew language and literature and more — from the 2017-2018 academic year. Browse by topic:

Arts & Culture / Hebrew Langauge & Literature / Israel Studies / Sephardic Studies

Arts & Culture

Author Gary Shteyngart smiles winningly at the audience after reading a manuscript copy of his memoir, "Little Failure"

How Gary Shteyngart’s Russian Jewish past informs his literary present

By Denise Grollmus
Ph.D. candidate Denise Grollmus explains how novelist and 2018 Stroum Lecturer Gary Shteyngart’s Soviet-inflected humor is more relevant than ever in Trump’s America.

Liver dumpling soup

“An unjustified s(ch)mear campaign”: Narratives of American Jewish food

By Rachel B. Gross
Professor Rachel B. Gross (San Francisco State) tracks popular narratives around the supposed decline of American Jewish cuisine — as well as the recent foodie revival of classic deli food.

A black and white photograph shows a group of young people dancing the hora in two rings, around accordion-playing musicians on a field

What makes music sound Jewish

By Sarah Riskind
Using audio clips from “Hava Nagila” and classic Sephardic ballads as examples, Graduate Fellow Sarah Riskind, a composer, explains what makes Jewish music unique.

Hebrew Language & Literature

Mirrored images show the Israeli Postal Company logo, a leaping deer with a text body, in Hebrew and in English

The apology is in the mail: Hebrew, bureaucracy and gender

By Nancy E. Berg
Professor Nancy E. Berg (Washington University, St. Louis) noticed that an apology from the Israel Postal Company was much more apologetic in English than it was in Hebrew, leading her to reflect on the differences between the two languages and how they treat gender.

A pair of black-and-white portraits of Ben Yehuda, wearing a tie, overcoat and glasses, and Hataria wearing a fez in a traditional overcoat

How to revive an ancient language, according to 19th-century Hebrew and Persian revivalists

By Sara Molaie
Graduate Fellow Sara Molaie explains how two language activists approached the unlikely task of bringing ancient Hebrew and pre-Islamic Persian back into use.

Two lightly illuminated pages from the historic books, written in calligraphy

Discovering the unexpected connections between Persian and Hebrew

By Sara Molaie
Graduate Fellow Sara Molaie’s work with Hebrew as a comparative religion student revealed surprising connections with her native language, Persian.

Collage of different versions of Wonder Woman since her creation

Wonder Woman and the superpower of Hebrew

By Naomi B. Sokoloff
Professor Naomi B. Sokoloff explains how the complexities of translating “Wonder Woman” into Hebrew can help us think about the biblical concept of the “woman of valor.”

Shoppers purchase produce at stalls in a covered market

Learning Hebrew, mother and child

By Hannah Pressman
How does language connect children to their parents? Dr. Hannah Pressman reflects on learning Hebrew as a child and discovering her mother’s ulpan notebook.

Cover of "Ir Umeloah," A City in Its Fullness, showing the author and title in Hebrew, around a Chagall painting of people, houses and a dove

Reading Agnon in Indiana

By Adam Rovner
Professor Adam Rovner’s (University of Denver) move from Israel to Indiana deepened his appreciation of Hebrew, thanks to one of Israel’s most classic authors.

Israel Studies

Close-up picture of tomatoes being grown in a greenhouse

How Israel is redefining foreign aid for the 21st century

By Sam Gordon
Graduate Fellow Sam Gordon argues that Israel’s education-based approach to foreign aid is uniquely well-suited to the demands of the 21st century.

The Israeli flag flies next to China's in a key flagpole near Tiananmen Square in Beijing

Israel in Asia? Why global trends are pushing Israel to “look east”

By Sam Gordon
Graduate Fellow Sam Gordon explains how, in a shifting world order, Israel both is and isn’t making a strategic “pivot to Asia.”

Students participate in a classroom discussion

Using project-based learning to teach the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

By Rob Keener
Graduate Fellow Rob Keener explains that concepts and real-world connections are key in teaching history well.

The challenges and opportunities of peace education in Israel

By Rob Keener
Graduate Fellow Rob Keener explains how projects like Camp Harmony and the Hand in Hand School in Israel demonstrate both the promises and difficulties of teaching for peace.

Ninet Tayeb sings into a mic and Dudu Tassa plays guitar onstage in a live concert photo

How Iraqi Jews are reclaiming their cultural legacy in Israel

By Pablo Jairo Tutillo Maldonado
Graduate Fellow Pablo Maldonado explains how, following their forced migration in the 1950s, Israel’s Middle Eastern Jewish community is reconnecting with its heritage through music.

An old tank pointing at the horizon sits next to a barricade and an Israeli flag

The military in Israeli politics, state & society

By Marwa Maziad
Near and Middle East Studies Ph.D. candidate Marwa Maziad argues that the influence of the Israeli military extends into the nation’s government, economy, and national security apparatus.

Tess Seltzer rides in the back of an ambulance in a white and black medical uniform, medical equipment in bags at her feet.

Car accidents, kippahs and comradery: What witnessing medical emergencies in Israel taught me

By Tess Seltzer
Student Tess Seltzer reflects on what she learned about resilience after volunteering at a Tel Aviv hospital and with Magen David Adom, the Israeli Red Cross.

Sephardic Studies

A pen-and-ink drawing of a tree branch on aged paper extends downwards next to bold text reading "New Directions, Old Roots"

Exploring Ladino’s past, present, and future at the ucLADINO Symposium

By Molly FitzMorris
Graduate Fellow Molly FitzMorris reports back on a UCLA conference that explored the Ladino language’s fusion of the old with the new.

A mural depicting a procession of Jewish men in medieval garb, bearing Torah scrolls, heading towards hope

What the Jews of the Iberian Peninsula can teach us about political power & minority status

By Vivian Mills
Graduate Fellow Vivian Mills shows how all-too-familiar patterns of discrimination and exclusion affected Sephardic Jews in the Middle Ages.

In a medieval illustration, robed men sit at desks writing and painting on parchment

Shem Tov de Carrión: How a Jewish poet from medieval Spain speaks to us today

By Vivian Mills
Shem Tov de Carrión’s “moral proverbs” about human nature and right rulership are surprisingly relevant today, Graduate Fellow Vivian Mills writes.

The paradox of Hanukkah in Greece—and in Auschwitz

By Devin E. Naar
Professor Devin E. Naar explores Greek-Jewish identity through letters from the Holocaust and prayers from Salonica.

Black and white photograph of a group of soldiers bearing rifles

How the Turkish “City of Peace” remembers its Sephardic veterans

By Özgür Özkan
Grad Fellow Özgür Özkan walks through a new exhibit that remembers Çanakkale’s Sephardic veterans—and reaffirms its pluralistic identity.

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