University of Minnesota
Center for Jewish Studies

Center for Jewish Studies

Center for Jewish Studies

About Us

At the Center for Jewish Studies, we are dedicated to exploring the important questions about Jewish history and culture from antiquity to the modern age. Our acclaimed faculty, path-breaking research, expanding undergraduate program, and focus on deepening ties within the University attest to the success and ongoing promise of our mission: to foster a new understanding of Jewish culture and history.

We support the academic study of the historical, cultural, linguistic, ethnic, geographic, and religious diversity of the full range of peoples who identify themselves as Jewish, while fulfilling the educational mission of the liberal arts to promote critical thought, reflection on values, and analysis of sources.


  • "A Sephardic Journey Through the Twentieth Century" - Sarah Abrevaya Stein

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    A lecture by Sarah Abrevaya Stein, Professor of History and Maurice Amado Chair in Sephardic Studies at UCLA.

    Thursday, February 12, 2015 @ 7:30 P.M.
    Adath Jeshurun Congregation
    10500 Hillside Lane W.
    Minnetonka, MN 55305

    When the Ottoman Empire entered the First World War on the side of the Central Powers, thousands of Ottoman-born Jews lived in France, Great Britain, and their colonies. According to the logic of war, these Sephardic Jews ought to have been deemed 'enemy aliens;' subject to surveillance, deportation, and internment. However, they were granted novel legal identities, which allowed countless émigré Ottoman-born Jews to acquire the passports, residency permits, and official papers that were ever more indispensable to the modern world. This talk, built on a deep knowledge of Sephardic culture and European history, considers why the allied states inventively accommodated this immigrant population, and how individual Jewish women and men of Ottoman origin navigated a war-torn Europe.

    Sarah Abrevaya Stein is Professor of History and Maurice Amado Chair in Sephardic Studies at UCLA. Co-winner of the 2010 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, her award-winning books include Plumes: Ostrich Feathers, Jews, and a Lost World of Global Commerce, Making Jews Modern: the Yiddish, and Saharan Jews and the Fate of French Algeria published by University of Chicago Press in 2014. An elected member of the American Academy for Jewish Research, Stein has also published widely in scholarly journals and has recently been appointed co-editor of Jewish Social Studies and co-series editor of the Stanford University Press Series in Jewish Culture and History.

    This series is made possible by a generous gift in memory of Julia K. & Harold Segall.

    Co-sponsored by Department of History, the Institute for Advanced Study; Adath Jeshurun Congregation.


    (Continue Reading)10/30/14
  • "Strange Times to Be a Jew: The New American Jewish Literature" - Josh Lambert

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    A lecture by Josh Lambert, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts

    Monday, March 2, 2015 @ 7:30 P.M.
    Shir Tikvah Congregation
    1360 W. Minnehaha Pkwy.
    Minneapolis, MN 55419
    This event is free and open to the public

    The turn of the millennium saw a remarkable boom in the production of Jewish literature in the United States. A generation of young writers including Nathan Englander, Michael Chabon, Jonathan Safran Foer, Dara Horn, Gary Shteyngart, and Nicole Krauss quickly achieved a level of national celebrity and critical acclaim in a way that seemed to echo a similar development in the mid-20th century, when Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Grace Paley, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Cynthia Ozick collectively rose to national prominence. Why did this sort of fiction attract so much attention, once again, particularly at the dawn of the 21st century? What do these writers' works tell us about Jewish life in our time?

    Josh Lambert is the Academic Director of the Yiddish Book Center and Visiting Assistant Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is the author of American Jewish Fiction: A JPS Guide, and Unclean Lips: Obscenity, Jews, and American Culture, which won a Canadian Jewish Book Award in Jewish Thought and Culture. Lambert serves as contributing editor to Tablet, as well as contributing book reviews and essays to the Los Angeles Times, Haaretz, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Globe & Mail, and the Forward.

    This series is made possible by a generous gift in memory of Julia K. & Harold Segall.

    Co-sponsored by the Department of English; Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council, and Shir Tikvah Congregation.


    (Continue Reading)10/30/14
  • Welcome Ido Zelkovitz, 2014-15 Schusterman Visiting Professor

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    The University of Minnesota received a grant from the Schusterman Foundation to invite
    an Israeli scholar to spend the academic year 2014-2015 with us. Professor Ido Zelkovitz
    is a Research Fellow with the Ezri Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies at the
    University of Haifa, and is a lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern History and the
    Department of Multidisciplinary Studies. Dr. Zelkovitz was a postdoctoral research fellow inThe Institute of Sociology at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany. Dr. Zelkovtiz is also a Member of Mitvim - The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies: an independent think tank that envisions a fresh start for Israel among the nations. His research, academic courses, and public lectures reflect a focus on cross-disciplinary analysis of Palestinian history and politics and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Israel's geopolitical situation in the Middle East and the role of Higher Education and students in building national identities in the Middle East. He is the author of two books and has been published in many academic journals such as Middle Eastern Studies, Israel Affairs, and Ha-Mizrah Ha-Hadash.

    While at the University of Minnesota, Prof. Zelkovitz will teach three courses, including a freshman seminar, "Wars, Memory, and Political Identity in Israel and the Middle East" in the Fall. He will also teach adult education courses at both the Minneapolis and St. Paul Jewish Community Centers, and will give CJS' second Community Lecture of the season at Temple of Aaron on October 22, 2014.

    (Continue Reading)07/10/14


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