The Jews Are Coming: Biblical Satire and Modern Israeli Culture

Sunday, October 25, 2020 - 1:30pm

Throughout modern Israeli history, satire has evolved as a powerful and ubiquitous outlet for social, religious and political commentary. Ha’Yehudim Ba’im (The Jews Are Coming) is an Israeli satirical TV show that first aired in 2014 and turns to the Holy Bible, the Jewish past and other themes in Zionist/Israeli history to tease and provoke contemporary Israel. Often sparking controversy, this show touches on many sensitive subjects and polemics.   Join us for a special event with Professors Sarah Baker, Marc Brettler, Shai Ginsburg and Eli Sperling as we watch clips of Ha’Yehudim Ba’im and unpack some of the major themes present in the show discussing what they tell us about contemporary Israel.

This event can be accessed via the following zoom link:

Meeting ID: 942 4850 1972

Sarah Baker is Assistant Professor Of The Practice in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and has a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (with a specialty in Hebrew Bible/Ancient Near East) from the University of Texas at Austin, where she taught both Biblical and Modern Hebrew for several years.  Her research and publications engage the topics of Hebrew language pedagogy, the social significance of biblical texts for the communities that composed and transmitted them, and clarifying linguistic and literary features of these texts in order to achieve more precise readings. Her present research focuses on practical techniques for fostering genuine language acquisition in the ancient language classroom by integrating key principles of modern language pedagogy. 

Marc Zvi Brettler is the Bernice and Morton Lerner Professor in Judaic Studies.  He earned his B.A., M.A., and PhD from Brandeis University, where he previously served as Dora Golding Professor of Biblical Studies. He researches biblical metaphors, the Bible and gender, biblical historical texts, the book of Psalms, and the post-biblical reception of the Hebrew Bible, including in the New Testament. He is a co-founder of the website, which integrates critical and traditional methods of studying the Bible.  His many books and publications include The Jewish Study Bible, for which he won the National Jewish Book Award; and, most recently, The Bible With and Without Jesus: How Jews and Christians Read the Same Stories Differently, co-authored with Amy-Jill Levine, with whom he also co-authored The Jewish Annotated New Testament

Shai Ginsburg is Associate Professor and Chair of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies whose work focuses on Israel and its culture in its relation to Jewish nationalism and its variants.   He holds a PhD from the University of Michigan, an MA and BA from Hebrew University, and has written extensively on Israeli and Jewish-international cinema, Hebrew literature, Israeli historiography and Jewish politics of the 19th and 20th century.  In addition to his many publications, he is the author of Rhetoric and nation: The formation of Hebrew national culture, 1880–1990, and the co-author of Jews and the Ends of Theory.  He is also the Director of the Duke GameLab which explore games and gaming throughout history and in contemporary society, from local to global contexts.  His current focuses on how cultural works shape the political imagination and conversely, how political engagement shapes perceptions of culture, society and history.

Eli Sperling is the Post-Doctoral Associate in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and has a PhD from Ben Gurion University of the Negev and an MA in contemporary Middle Eastern history from Tel Aviv University.  His research focuses on the proliferation and use of Hebrew music from Palestine in the American Jewish community between 1920 and 1948. He investigates how this music played a role in a greater process through which varying streams of transnational Zionism became enmeshed in American Jewish institutional, congregational, educational and communal life.

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Serena Bazemore