Faculty and Student News and Awards

Faculty News and Awards

Rutie Adler

Lecturer in Hebrew. Linguistics, Hebrew linguistics.
Coordinator; Hebrew Language Program.

Recent Talks:

“The Use of Film Clips to Teach Contentious Israeli Issues in Elementary Hebrew,“ as part of a BLC panel titled “Teaching the Conflicts in Foreign Language Education.“ 4/9/2021

 

Robert Alter

Emeritus Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature 

Robert received several awards for his work, including the Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, the Panunzio Award from the University of California, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Jewish Book Council. In addition, his book The Art of Bible Translation was released by Princeton University Press.

 

Isaac L. Bleaman

Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics

Isaac recently published the following:

He also gave the following talks this past academic year:

  • 2021. “Borokhovs yidishe filologye un di legitimkayt fun der yidisher shprakh” [Borokhov’s Yiddish philology and the legitimacy of the Yiddish language]. Workshop (in Yiddish) at graduate research seminar on “The Yiddish Object,” University of Wisconsin-Madison, Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture (Zoom).
  • 2021. “The Yiddish sentence: Social meaning reflected in grammatical variation.” Lecture at graduate research seminar on “The Yiddish Object,” University of Wisconsin-Madison, Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture and Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies (Zoom).
  • 2021. “Der onhalt fun yidish in nyu-york un di batsiung tsum inyen shprakhnbayt” [Attitudes toward change in a maintained language: Yiddish in New York]. Talk (in Yiddish) given at the Ada Rapoport-Albert Seminar Series in Hasidic Yiddish, University College London (Zoom).
  • 2020. “Attitudes toward change in a maintained language: Yiddish in New York.” Talk given at AJS 52, Washington, DC (Zoom).
  • 2020. Respondent on panel, “Minority Jewish languages in Israel: Documentation and development,” AJS 52, Washington, DC (Zoom).

 

Robert Braun

Center for Jewish Studies faculty member and Assistant Professor of Sociology 

Robert received numerous awards for his book, Protectors of Pluralism, including the Barrington Moore Best Book Award and the Charles Tilly Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award 2020.

 

John Efron

Director, Center for Jewish Studies

In the Fall of 2020, I was on sabbatical, working on my book All Consuming: Germans, Jews, and the Meaning of Meat. On July 1, 2021 I assumed the directorship of the CJS. In 2021, I published  an essay on modern Jewish historiography, “Modern Jewish History in the Proceedings of the American Academy of Jewish Research” in David Sorkin, ed., A Commitment to Scholarship The American Academy for Jewish Research, 1920—2020 (American Academy of Jewish Research, 2020), 157-204.

In 2019, the 3rd edition of The Jews: A History, a book that John co-wrote with Matthias Lehmann and Steven Weitzman was published by Routledge.

 

Ethan Katz

Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies

Recent Publications:

  • Antisemitism in Our Midst: Past and Present, co-written with Adam Naftalin-Kelman and Steven Davidoff Solomon, produced by Sarah Lefton (2021). Film. 11 minutes. Independently made.
  • “Muslims as Brothers or Strangers? French Jewish Thinkers Confront the Moral Dilemmas of the French Algerian War.” Extended interpretive essay followed by four short translations from French. Invited chapter in The Stranger in Early Modern and Modern Jewish Tradition, eds. Catherine Allache-Bartlett and Joachim Schlör (Leiden: Brill, 2021).
  • “Who Were the Jewish Underground of Algiers? A Sectorial Analysis of the Paths to Resistance,” in Aviad Moreno, et al., eds., The Longue durée of Jews from Islamic Lands [Hebrew] (Sde-Boker: The Ben-Gurion Institute for the Study of Israel & Zionism, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 2021).
  • “Les chemins variés de la Résistance vers le 8 Novembre 1942: Juifs et Musulmans,” in Nicole Cohen-Addad, Aissa Kadri, and Tramor Quemeneur, eds., 8 novembre 1942. Résistance et débarquement allié en Afrique du Nord (Vulaines-sur-Seine: Éditions du Croquant, 2021).
  • “Le décret Crémieux et son abrogation: Implications pour les participants au 8 Novembre 1942,” in Nicole Cohen-Addad, Aissa Kadri, and Tramor Quemeneur, eds., 8 novembre 1942. Résistance et débarquement allié en Afrique du Nord (Vulaines-sur-Seine: Éditions du Croquant, 2021).
  • “Sartre’s Algerian Jewish Question,” in Manuela Consonni and Vivian Liska, eds., Sartre, Jews, and the Other: Rethinking Antisemitism, Race, and Gender (Oldenbourg: De Gruyter, 2020).

Recent Talks:            

  • “Jewish Resisters That History Forgot: How the Jewish Underground in Algeria Helped Win World War II,” Santa Fe Distinguished Lecture Series, March 17, 2021 (via Zoom).
  • “Jews and Antisemites: The Unlikely Alliance That Paved the Way for Operation Torch,” University of California-Santa Cruz, February 18, 2021 (via Zoom).
  • “Rebel Alliance in Algiers: The Unlikely Band of Jews and Antisemites That Helped Turn the Tide in World War II,” Yale University, Program for the Study of Antisemitism, 18 November, 2020 (via Zoom).  
  • “Every Enemy a Nazi, Every Victim Like a Jew: The Omnipresence of Holocaust Talk in the French-Algerian War,” Keynote address, conference on Jewish Studies, the Study of Antisemitism and Postcolonialism: An Unacknowledged Kinship?, Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Studienwerk, Berlin, June 10, 2020 (via Zoom).

Recent Awards:

Honorable Mention for the Koren Prize, given annually for the best article on any subject of French History by a U.S. or Canada-based scholar, Society for French Historical Studies, for: “Jewish Citizens of an Imperial Nation-State: Toward a French-Algerian Frame for French Jewish History,” French Historical Studies 43, 1 (February 2020): 63-84.

 

Claude Fischer

Professor of Sociology

Recent Publications:
  • 2020 “Of Modernity and Public Sociology: Reflections on a Career So Far.” Annual Review of Sociology 46: 19-35.  https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-soc-110419-023001.
  • 2020  Fischer and Offer, “Who is Dropped and Why? Methodological and Substantive Accounts for Network Loss.” Social Networks (May) 61:70-86. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socnet.2019.08.008.
  • In Press “From the Northern California Community Study, 1977-78, to UCNets, 2015-20.” In Personal Networks: Classic Readings and New Directions in Ego-Centric Analysis, eds. M.L. Small et al. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Recent Presentations:
  • 2020 Offer and Fischer, “How New is ‘New’? Who Gets Added in Panel Studies of Egocentric Networks?,” Accepted for Presentation to the Sunbelt Social Networks Conference, June, Paris (Online).
  • 2020 Ruppel, Child, Fischer, and Botchway, “Causal Relationships between Social Networks and Health: A Comparison of Three Modeling Strategies.” Presented to the American Sociological Association, August , San Francisco (Online).

 

Sarah Levin

Lecturer in Jewish Studies

Sarah has a chapter in the works:

“The Aḥwash: Jewish and Muslim Articulations of a Shared Amazigh (Berber) Cultural Tradition in Morocco and Its Diaspora,” by Sarah Levin,
in the volume: Jews and Muslims in Morocco: Their Intersecting Worlds. Lexington Books. 2021. (Series: Sephardic and Mizrahi Studies)

Tomer Persico

Visiting faculty from Tel Aviv University

Tomer recently published “Judaism and Meditation” in The Oxford Handbook of Meditation (July 2020), and “Rabbi Shimon Gershon Rosenberg (Shaga”r) in The New Jewish Canon (August 2020), as well as two articles in Haaretz English on new Jewish identities in Israel, and the sources of white supremacy and antisemitism today.   Persico’s second book, examining the way the idea of the Image of God influenced Modern Western civilization, will be published in Hebrew by Yedioth books in winter 2020.

 

Francesco Spagnolo

Curator, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life
Francesco is also an Associate Adjunct Professor in the Department of Music and is a faculty affiliate in the Center for Jewish Studies. In 2020, he was appointed scholar-in-residence for the “Jews & Music” initiative of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. https://philharmonia.org/jews-music/

Student News and Awards

Madeline Wyse

Madeline Wyse is the recipient of the 2022 William Ze’ev Brinner Graduate Fellowship, awarded for her dissertation Reverent Irreverence: Retelling the Tales of the Bible and Qurʾān. 

“My dissertation explores the role of comedy in the rich interpenetrating literary worlds of Rabbinic and Islamic narrative exegesis. My work is grounded in traditional Rabbinic and Islamic exegetical and theological approaches to the Bible and Qurʾān, but focuses attention on the literary qualities of the interpretive texts, engaging with the literary theories of thinkers like al-Jāḥiẓ (776-868), a Muslim polymath whose provocative writings on topics like polysemy and the serio-comic were well known in later Islamic and Rabbinic circles. I have had the opportunity to workshop my ideas in a Freshman & Sophomore seminar for the Center for Jewish Studies entitled “Holy Fanfiction: Retelling the Tales of the Bible and the Qurʾān” and have presented some of my key findings at the conferences of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA) and the Association of Jewish Studies (AJS). This summer, with the generous support of the William Ze’ev Brinner Graduate Student Fellowship, I am in Cairo working with manuscripts held at the Egyptian National Library and the library of al-Azhar University. This fellowship is especially meaningful to me because the idea for my dissertation first took root in my head while I was reading a passage from the late Professor Brinner’s translation of The History of al-Ṭabarī and his work continues to be an invaluable resource for my research and teaching. ”

 

Meghana Kumar

Meghana is a recipient of the 2022 Anne and Benjamin Goor Prize in Jewish Studies, and has been awarded $2,000. Her winning paper, “What Moral? Sin and Redemption in the David and Bathsheba Story,” was written while enrolled in the Jewish Studies seminar class Holy Fanfiction: Retelling Stories from the Bible and Quran.

Holy Fanfiction was one of my favorite classes at Cal. My paper focuses on the David and Bathsheba story in the Hebrew Bible. In it, I highlight the ambiguities, contradictions, and irony in the text’s commentary on morality. I argue that rather than serving as a clear moral and theological guidebook, the story acts as a more ambiguous exploration of sin and redemption, forcing readers over time to grapple with and derive personal meaning from the tale themselves.”

 

Juliette Rosenthal

Juliette was awarded the 2022 Anne and Benjamin Goor Prize in Jewish Studies, along with a cash prize of $2,000, for her paper “Newspaper Networks: A Jewish Journalist’s Continued Connections in the Modern Mediterranean.”

“My paper is about Jewish journalists and intellectuals in the early twentieth century Middle East and the politics that animated their publications and their professional and personal relationships. In this paper, and in my research more broadly, I am interested in the unique forms that Jewish politics took in the Ottoman and post-Ottoman Middle East, especially at the intersection of Zionism and Ottomanism. In future work I hope to continue investigating the social aspect of press networks and literary production, in tracing relationships between writers that crossed boundaries (geographic, political, ethnic, and linguistic) and therefore subvert our understandings of community and politics among Middle Eastern Jews.”

Past News and Awards

2020-21 Goor Prize winners:

  • Wyatt Grauman (UG ) received $1500 for “Analysis on the Generalization of Holocaust Memory and Display”
  • Oren Yirmiya (G) received $1500 for “Forgetting World Literature: Aggadah, Wisdom, and the Crisis of Tradition in Kafka’s On Parables and Tractate Shabbat 138b-139a”

CJS Outstanding GSI Achievement Award:

  • Oren Yirmiya taught JS 39 in Spring 2020 -“Escape Artists in Jewish Popular Culture and Literature: Houdini, Kafka, Kirby, Chabon” and JS 100 in Fall 2020 – “Travelers, Immigrants, Refugees: Introduction to Jewish History and Literature”- and received very positive feedback from his students.
Appointments

 

Jewish Studies Careers Launched


Our graduates are contributing to the field of Jewish studies on local, national, and international levels. Recent graduate students secured teaching positions at prestigious universities in Israel, Canada, and the U.S — Ben Gurion University, Haifa University, University of Minnesota, McGill University, University of Illinois, Northwestern, and Vanderbilt.