A New Yorker cartoon of a few years back shows Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. Looking at Moses, one Israelite says to the other, “Well, he’s alright, but I wish he were a little more pro-Israel.”The leadership of American Jewish community organizations never has to worry about such criticism. For the officials of the self-described “major” American Jewish groups, “strong on Israel” is the first qualification of leadership, and “pro-Israel” means one thing: justifying and defending all actions of the… read more about Quashing Jewish Dissent on Israel »

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that the Duke Center for Jewish Studies and the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library announce that the Abraham Joshua Heschel papers collection guide is now live and the collection is open to research:… read more about Abraham Joshua Heschel Papers are open! »

Follow Jill Rubin, rising senior in the History Department at Duke, as she writes about her experiences in NYC while interning at the Union for Reform Judaism in NYC.  Ms. Rubin's honors thesis, which she is working on both this summer, and through the academic year, focuses on Jewish and African-American relations in the post-civil rights era.  Ms. Rubin will make a presentation on her research during the academic year, to which all of our friends and colleagues will be invited.Her blog details her impressions as an intern… read more about Working at the URJ: My Summer in NYC »

This article originally appeared on ISLAMiCommentary at:“A Christian, a Muslim and a Jew walk into a… “Sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it’s a serious refrain that’s become especially familiar over the last few weeks.In May, the Pope makes a Holy Land pilgrimage to Amman, Bethlehem and Jerusalem with Argentinian colleagues and friends Sheik Omar Abboud and Rabbi Abraham Skorka. And then this past… read more about Pope Francis and the Holy Land: Is Religion the Pathway to Peace? »

This article originally appeared at: to the Poem here “An introduction of words and a beginning of speech:From the first, I request authority and permission…”Thus opens the famous and enigmatic piyyut—liturgical poem or hymn—of the Shavuot festival, Akdamut Milin.  This lengthy Aramaic poem, ninety mono-rhymed lines in all, now functions as an extended… read more about The Piyyut (Poem) Akdamut Milin: The Enigma and Perseverance of Tradition »

Selfie MilitarismRebecca L. Stein and Adi Kuntsman 23 May 2014This article originally appeared at: In late April, an amateur video of Israeli army aggression in the occupied West Bank began to circulate online. The content was neither new nor surprising: a soldier shoving, kicking and pointing his gun at unarmed Palestinian teenagers in Hebron’s old city. What was new, however, was the form and scale of the public response.… read more about Selfie Militarism »

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Vladimir Putin painting by Former President George W. Bush via Shalom GoldmanIn June of 2001, George W. Bush famously claimed that he had looked into the eyes of Vladimir Putin and “found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy, and we had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul.”This month, after Putin’s speech on the Russian claim to Crimea and his subsequent annexation of the peninsula, Bush’s comment about Putin… read more about Religion, Nationalism, and “Ancestral Homelands” »

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the start of a months-long carnage that claimed the lives of about 800,000 people in Rwanda. We’d like to believe it took us by surprise, but there is just too much evidence to the contrary. It was reported in real time, and we looked away. Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style… read more about The Use and Abuse of the Holocaust in Marking the Rwandan Genocide »

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On Wednesday, April 2 the Jewish Studies Seminar welcomes Dr. Grit Schorch.  The topic is:  “Moses Mendelssohn’s Bilingual Language Philosophy and the Modern Language Discussion.” Her visit is sponsored by the UNC Center for Jewish Studies. paper available   JSS – Schorch   read more about Wednesday April 2 seminar with Dr. Grit Schorch »

The next Jewish Studies Seminar will meet Sunday, March 23. Michael Silber from the Hebrew University will lead a seminar on "In Dreams End Responsibilities: Spirituality, Gender and Fundamentalism in the Dreamworlds of a 19th Century Ultra-Orthodox Couple." paper available  JSS – Silber event flyer  JSS – Silber flyer read more about Next seminar March 23 with Prof. Michael Silber »

In this lecture, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Duke, Kalman Bland, discusses "Medieval Jewish Perspectives on Human Rights" as part of the on-going series "The Jewish Tradition & Human Rights" read more about Kalman Bland Discusses "Medieval Perspectives on Human Rights" »

The Mystery of the Bible’s Phantom CamelsA new study reignites the thorny debate over biblical accuracyBy Elizabeth Dias @elizabethjdiasFeb. 11, 201442 Comments Getty ImagesOnce upon a time, Abraham owned a camel. According to the Book of Genesis, he probably owned lots of camels. The Bible says that Abraham, along with other patriarchs of Judaism and Christianity, used domesticated camels — as well as donkeys, sheep, oxen and slaves — in his various travels and trade agreements. Or did he? Last week, archaeologists… read more about The Mystery of the Bible’s Phantom Camels »

by SHALOM GOLDMAN for ISLAMiCommentary on FEBRUARY 21, 2014:  Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-… read more about Shalom Goldman on Religion, Intermarriage, and the Peace Process »

Duke is proud to present “The Earth is the Lord's”: Psalms and Songs of Exile and Return; contemporary settings of Biblical texts for baritone and piano.The performance will take place on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 10:00am in Goodson Chapel at the Duke Divinity School.  Duke's very own Eric Meyers (baritone) and J. Samuel Hammond (piano) will perform music by Penka Kouneva (Ph.D., Duke University), and Patrrick Norman Hunt (Stanford University), in an exciting composition that makes use of ancient melodies,… read more about “The Earth is the Lord's”: Psalms and Songs of Exile and Return »

The next Jewish Studies Seminar will meet Sunday, February 16. Our presenter will be Prof. Karen Auerbach, Department of History, UNC-Chapel Hill. She will lead a discussion on ” ‘Nusekh Poyln‘?  Jewish Integration and Its Obstacles in Poland after the Holocaust.” paper available  JSS – Auerbach chapter4 event flyer   JSS – KAuerbach_Feb16 Flyer read more about Next seminar February 16 with Karen Auerbach »

    Holy Smoke  By Shalom GoldmanSince the 1960s many in America’s alternative religious communities have embraced the use of marijuana and other mind-altering substances in their religious rituals. By hearkening back to Native American rites, these religious practitioners can point to a long tradition of American spirituality that had its religious experiences enhanced by intoxicants. With very few exceptions, federal law is reluctant to let these groups possess what are under American law “… read more about Holy Smoke »

The next Jewish Studies Seminar will meet Sunday, January 19. Our guest will be Brian Horowitz, Professor of Russian and Jewish History, Tulane University. He will lead a discussion on ”Jabotinsky and Authority, 1928-1933." paper available  JSS – Horowitz version2 event flyer JSS – Horowitz flyer   read more about Next Seminar January 19 with Brian Horowitz »

Professor Evyatar Marienberg (UNC-Chapel Hill), gives a lecture entitled "The Rabbis and Human Rights: The Ancient Period" as part of "The Jewish Tradition and Human Rights" lecture series.The lecture series is generously sponsored by the Duke Center for Jewish Studies, The Kenan Institute for Ethics, Jewish Life at Duke, and the Duke Human Rights Center.The series will continue this Spring:February 3rd: Kalman Bland (Duke): "Medieval Jewish Perspectives on Human Rights"April 7: Zachary Braiterman (Syracuse): "What's Human… read more about The Rabbis and Human Rights: The Ancient Period »

“And a Merry Christmas to You, Mr. Netanyahu!”January 6, 2014By Shalom Goldman, Duke UniversityAmerican Jews have long struggled with the Christmas Season. It may not be our holiday, many Jews have felt, but it is after all a great American holiday. How then are we to relate to it?For more traditional Jews, the national Christmas celebration generates anxiety about their place in the American religious landscape. In the second half of the 20th century, as Jews became more assimilated to… read more about “And a Merry Christmas to You, Mr. Netanyahu!” »

 The Center for Jewish Studies at Duke University invites applications for the Perilman Post-Doctoral Fellowship in any field of Jewish Studies for the 2014-2015 academic year, with the possibility of renewal for the following year. The Fellowship provides a stipend of $39,264 (US) per year, as well as benefits, for one full year.  The Fellow will be expected to present a public lecture on his or her research in the Fall of 2014, to teach one undergraduate course in Spring 2015, and participate in the intellectual life of… read more about Duke CJS Announces: Perilman Post-Doctoral Fellowship »

Carol Meyers, Mary Grace Wilson Professor of Religion at Duke University and current president of the Society of Biblical Literature, delivered the presidential address in a plenary session of the annual meeting entitled "Was Ancient Israel a Patriarchal Society?"For more on the address, as well as the annual conference, please visit the SBL website at:  read more about Carol Meyers Delivers Presidential Address to SBL »

Bob Dylan connects religion and pop culture Amanda Brumwell / The ChronicleFaculty jam out to a repertoire of Bob Dylan songs at Goodson Chapel Thursday. By Zaynah Alam | October 4, 2013     Students, faculty and community members were knocking on heaven's door in Goodson Chapel Thursday evening. Gotta Serve Somebody—an event organized by Shalom Goldman, professor of religion and Middle Eastern studies, to celebrate the achievements of iconic singer-songwriter Bob Dylan—featured discussions of song lyrics and live… read more about Gotta Serve Somebody: Bob Dylan in American Religion and Culture »

David Halperin,  SOME THEMES IN THE BOOK VA-AVO HA-YOM EL HA-'AYIN Pawel Maciejko, Coitus interruptus in And I came this day unto the fountain 24 November @ 7pm, Franklin Center, 2204 Erwin Road, Room 240 Coitus interruptus of Va Halperin.Duke-UNC paper read more about Jonathan Eybeschutz: Sabbatianism, Christianity & World Religion »

Processing the materials in the Abraham Joshua Heschel papers over the past three months has presented interesting challenges, including deciphering a wide assortment of languages represented in the collection (we’re up to nine languages thus far) and determining date ranges for the materials. As a result, we’ve come up with some creative, yet practical solutions to address these challenges and are hopeful they will positively affect how researchers interact with and interpret the materials in the collection.Language… read more about Heschel Highlights, Part 2 »

This article originally appeared on Patheos By Shalom Goldman, Duke UniversityJohnny Cash died on September 12, 2003, and as we approach the tenth anniversary of his death, his reputation as an American musical master seems only to grow. His recordings continue to sell briskly, particularly the Bootleg items released by Columbia Records. When I mentioned him to the college freshmen in my classes, who were born in 1994-5, they all knew Cash’s music.… read more about Johnny Cash Is In the Promised Land »

Three of the Rabbi Nathan J. Perilman fellows from the Center for Jewish Studies have been awarded European Studies Research Scholarships for the academic year 2013-2014. Giuseppe Prigiotti (Romance Studies), Rachel Bessner (History), and Annegret Oehme (German), will be participating in a working group on Jews & Muslims: Histories, Diasporas and the Meaning of the ‘European.’  The scholarships are awarded by the Center for European Studies.The scholarship supports graduate and professional students, as well as postdocs… read more about Perilman Fellows Win Research Scholarships »

Learn more about this gripping course that looks at one of the most important question in modern European History, and German studies - how Germans have dealt with the past, and the Second World War through literature, film, and some of the very special collections held here at Duke in the Rubenstein Library.Enroll NOW for this course - German 387 or Jewish Studies/ Literature 369. This course is taught in English, and is open to first-year students. read more about Germany Confronts Nazism and the Holocaust - This Fall »

Internalizing Israeli Violence by Shai Ginsburg on Aug 14, 2013 • 11: 14 UTC No CommentsAs in 2012, the biggest winners of this year’s Jerusalem Film Festival were debuts by two young and promising directors. Tom Shoval’s Youth received The Haggiag Awards for Israeli Cinema for Full Length Film, and Maya Dreifuss’ She Is Coming Home received the Pirchi Family Award for Best Debut. This is both good and bad. Good, because the two films serve as further testimony to the ongoing robustness of the small Israeli film… read more about Internalizing Israeli Violence »