The Stroum Lectures in Jewish Studies are an annual series of talks given by luminaries in the field of Jewish Studies, hosted by Stroum Jewish Studies at the University of Washington. For more than forty years, through the generosity of Samuel and Althea Stroum, Jewish Studies has been able to bolster public scholarship around Judaism. View highlights from the past thirty years below, or scroll further to learn more about the history of the lectures and view the full archive.
Stroum Lectures Highlights
Paula Hyman: Gender & Assimilation
Professor Paula E. Hyman of Yale University discusses issues of gender and sexuality in modern Jewish history in the 1992 Stroum Lecture lecture series.
Jonathan Sarna: Revivals & Awakenings in American Judaism
Professor Jonathan Sarna of Brandeis University discusses "Revivals and Awakenings in American Judaism" in the 2011 Stroum Lectures series.
Ruth Wisse: I.L. Peretz
Professor Ruth Wisse of McGill University discusses the Yiddish writer I.L. Peretz in this 1988 lecture series, "Creative Survival: I.L. Peretz and the Makings of Modern Jewish Culture."
Calvin Goldscheider: Studying the Jewish Future
Professor Calvin Goldscheider of Brown University explores contemporary Jewish communities in Israel, America and Europe in the 2000 Stroum Lecture series "Studying the Jewish Future."
Michael Walzer: Biblical Politics
Professor Michael Walzer of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton discusses "Biblical Politics" in this 2008 Stroum Lectures series.
Anita Norich: Translating Yiddish in the 20th Century
Professor Anita Norich discusses modern translations of Yiddish in this 2006 lecture series, “Speaking in Tongues: Translating Yiddish in the 20th Century.”
Aron Rodrigue: Sephardi Jewries & the Holocaust
Professor Aron Rodrigue of Stanford University discusses Sephardic Jewry in modern times in this 2005 Stroum Lectures series, "Sephardi Jewries and the Holocaust."
Paul Mendes-Flohr: Post-Traditional Jewish Identities
Professor Paul Mendes-Flohr of Hebrew University of Jerusalem discusses "Post-Traditional Jewish Identities" in the 2001 Stroum Lectures series.
Lawrence Schiffman: Religion of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Professor Lawrence H. Schiffman of New York University discusses "The Religion of the Dead Sea Scrolls" in the 2012 Stroum Lectures series.
Dara Horn: Living in Hebrew
Novelist and literary scholar Dara Horn explores the role Hebrew can play in a living contemporary American Jewish culture in this 2016 Stroum Lecture.
It has been over 40 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 publications, 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.
Full Lecture Archive
Dr. Lila Corwin Berman, Temple University
America’s Jewish Question
Does the United States Have a Jewish Question?
Belonging in Question: Jews in American Civic and Legal Imagination
Dr. Julia Watts Belser, Georgetown University
Reading Jewish Texts in an Age of Climate Change
Grappling with Risk, Reimagining Hope
The Afterlives of Noah’s Ark – Gender, Disability, and the Politics of Survival
Dr. David Stern, Harvard University
The History of a Page: Reflecting on the Talmud as a Physical Book
Dr. Marina Rustow, Princeton University
Jewish Manuscripts in the Digital Age: The Cairo Geniza and the New Materiality
Lost Archives, Sacred Wastebins, and Jews of the Medieval Islamic World
Author Gary Shteyngart in Conversation
Failure is an Option: Immigration, Memory and the Russian Jewish Experience
Professor Jonathan Israel, Institute for Advanced Study
“Spinoza as Revolutionary”
Spinoza as a Revolutionary Thinker
Dr. Dara Horn & Dr. Ilan Stavans, Amherst College
“Hebrew & the Creative Imagination”
Living in Hebrew – Dara Horn
Dr. Ruth Behar, University of Michigan
“Dreams of Sefarad: Explorations of Modern Sephardic Identity”
Places: Loss and Memory
Dr. Marianne Hirsch, Columbia University & Dr. Leo Spitzer, Dartmouth College
“School Photos and Their Afterlives: A Comparative Jewish Perspective”
School Photos in the Era of Assimilation: Jews, Indians, and Blacks
Professor David Ruderman, University of Pennsylvania
“Behind a Best Seller:
Kabbalah, Science, and Loving One’s Neighbor in Pinhas Hurwitz’s Sefer ha-Brit”
A Remarkable Modern Jewish Book and its Entrepreneurial Author
Who Were the Readers of Sefer ha-Brit and Why Did They Read it?
Professor Steven M. Cohen, Hebrew Union College
“The Emerging Identities of Younger American Jews”
Devotion, Distancing and Disloyalty: The Diversity and Complexity of American Jews’ Relationships with Israel Today
Jews in the Borderland: The Complicated, Fluid, and Episodic Nature of Jewish Identity Today
Professor Jonathan Sarna, Brandeis University
“Revivals and Awakenings in American Judaism”
The Shaping of American Judaism– includes a special tribute to Althea Stroum
Professor Ilana Pardes, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
“Agnon’s Moonstruck Lovers: the Song of Songs in Israeli Culture”
These lectures are available as audio recordings
‘Upon the Handles of the Lock’: Agnon, Balak and the Israeli Bible
Agnon’s Ethnographies of Love and the Quest for the Ultimate Song
Professor Yael Zerubavel, Rutgers University
“Encounters with the Past: Remembering the ‘Bygone’ in Israeli Culture”
Bridges to Antiquity
Mirrors of Galut (Exile) in the Homeland
When the New Becomes Old
Professor Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
Where Were the Elders?
Prophecy and Social Criticism
The Meaning of Kingship
Professor Lawrence H. Schiffman, New York University
“Creation, Revelation & Redemption: The Religion of the Dead Sea Scrolls”
God, Humanity and the Universe in the Dead Sea Scrolls
Scripture, Law and Life in the Dead Sea Scrolls
Professor Anita Norich, University of Michigan
“Speaking in Tongues: Translating Yiddish in the 20th Century”
How Tevye Learned to Fiddle
Remembering the Past in Yiddish
Professor Aron Rodrigue, Stanford University
“Sephardi Jewries and the Holocaust”
The Holocaust and the End of Judeo-Spanish Culture in the Balkans
Rhodes: The Island of Memory
Professor Susan Handelman, Bar-Ilan University, Tel Aviv
“Find Yourself a Teacher: The Mentor/Disciple Relation in Classical Jewish Thought and Contemporary Practice”
Teachers and Study Partners
Becoming a Living Book
Professor Chava Weissler, Lehigh University
“Spirituality in America: The Jewish Renewal Movement”
Jewish Renewal in the American Spiritual Marketplace
Four Worlds and Kabbalah
Gender and Jewish Renewal
Professor Michael Stanislawski, Columbia University
“Autobiographical Jews: Essays in Jewish Self-Fashioning”
Asher of Reichshofen and Glikl of Hameln
Two Russian Jews: Moshe Leib Lilienblum and Osip Mandelstam
Autobiography as Farewell: Stephan Zweig and Sarah Kofman
Professor Paul Mendes-Flohr, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
“Post-Traditional Jewish Identities”
Cultural Disjunctions and Modern Jewish Identity
Jewish Cultural Memory: Its Multiple Configurations
Jewish Learning, Jewish Hope
Professor Calvin Goldscheider, Brown University
“Studying the Jewish Future”
Centrality of Jewish Values in Shaping the Jewish Future
The Future of Contemporary Jewish Communities: Israel, America and Europe