Though we have written about some of the events held by the Jewish Studies department this year already, several more have passed unmentioned. Here is a quick recount of the various ones we have missed.
The department co-sponsored not one, but two book launches.
On January 28 we co-hosted with the Department of History and the McGill Bookstore the launch event for McGill professor Gil Troy’s book Moynihan’s Moment: America’s Fight against Zionism as Racism on campus. The book deals with the American efforts to prevent the 1975 U.N. resolution that equated Zionism with racism. The event included a short lecture from Prof. Troy and a book signing.
On February 21, we co-sponsored an event at the Jewish Public Library for Pierre Anctil’s book, Jacob Isaac Segal 1896 – 1954: un poète Yiddish de Montréal et son milieu, on the Montreal Yiddish poet Jacob-Isaac Segal. The event included poetry readings, an introductory talk, a book signing and a wine and cheese reception.
Additionally, our department hosted Josh Lambert for his lecture “Vulgar Words and Belles Lettres: Yiddish Literature and American Obscenity” on the unmatched freedom which American Yiddish writers had in the early 20th century compared to English writers in writing on sex. The lecture took place on October 25th, 2012.Two classes also featured particularly noteworthy guest lecturers.
On October 17th, 2012 Rabbi Arthur Green, PhD was a guest speaker in Eric Caplan’s class, Denominations in North American Judaism. Rabbi Green, a nationally recognized historian of Jewish religion and a theologian, is the founding dean of Hebrew College’s non denominational Rabbinical School. Green described his spiritual development and presented his personal understandings of Judaism which are equally inspired by Hasidic writings and by liberal Jewish thought. Students were impressed by his heartfelt embrace of pluralism within Judaism, his provocative analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Renewal and Orthodox Judaisms, and by his description of how Hebrew College prepares rabbis to deal with the variety of challenges that they will encounter in their congregations.
Liane Altowski’s Sephardic Footprints in World Music class featured Orel Gozlan in a performance and a lecture on March 12, 2013. Orel is currently enrolled at the University of Montreal where he is studying to become a high school French teacher. He also currently works as a chazzan at the synagogue Or Shalom, on the West Island. Orel spoke about “The Art of the Piyut,” regarding the unique elements that pertain to Sephardic religious music from his own deep interest and personal history with this rich musical heritage. With poise and humor Orel gave a lively explanation on the various elements that pertain to Sephardic liturgical music for students coming from both Ashkenazi and Sephardic traditions. He discussed the distinct roles of the Paytan and the Chazzan and he also elaborated on the musical properties of the Maqam and the Muwal. Orel’s lecture was multidimensional as he effortlessly weaved in melodic fragments of Bakashot as examples of piyutim with Spanish and Andalusian influences. Orel Gozlan proved that he is not only a gifted chazzan, but also a gifted and inspiring educator – someone to watch! We wish all our readers a good summer, and hope to see you at some of the various events we will undoubtedly hold next year.
This past year, the Jewish Studies Students’ Association successfully launched the 13th volume of its undergraduate journal, Dorot. This issue was edited
by Ricky Kreitner, Michael Schwartz, Lauren Silver, and Ellie Wall, and features articles on a wide variety of topics, all written by students in McGill’s Department of Jewish studies. The subjects include the figure of Ibn Falaquera and his philosophy, a study on the exemption of Ultra-Orthodox Jews from Israeli military service, a comparative analysis of two Yiddish short-stories, Jewish-American sexuality, and Walter Lippmann and his relationship to the broader Jewish community. The entire issue is currently available to read and download online here. We would also hope you check in with our blog regularly in the future for when this year’s volume is published as well, which took submissions recently.
- Elay Kornecki
A recent graduate of Stanford University’s doctoral program in History, Daniel joins us from the University of Washington, where he was awarded the prestigious Hazel D. Cole Fellowship in Jewish Studies for the 2012-2013 academic year. His dissertation, “The Rise of the Zionist Right: Polish Jews and the Betar Youth Movement, 1922-1935,” explored the history of one of the largest and most influential Jewish youth movements to emerge in interwar Europe, and drew upon archival research across Poland, Israel and the United States. His current research interests include the role of youth in modern Jewish politics, the influence of Polish political culture on the development of Zionism in Mandate Palestine, and Jewish political activism in small-towns across Poland between the two world wars.
Daniel’s award-winning research and writing have received recognition from the Mellon Foundation, the YIVO institute for Jewish Research, and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. While at Stanford, Daniel was also recognized for his teaching, where he he received the History Department’s award for best new course in 2011. Daniel is delighted to join McGill’s Department of Jewish Studies, and looks forward to teaching a range of courses on the history of Jews worldwide—from introductory surveys on modern Jewish politics, culture and society to seminars on Polish-Jewish Relations, the Holocaust and the history of Israel. Daniel will be teaching “Jewish History: 1000-2000” (HIST219) and the “History of Zionism” (JWST366) during the 2013-2014 academic year.
— Eric Caplan
As you may remember, last year, three Jewish Studies scholars were inducted into the Royal Society of Canada (one of which was our own Prof. Gershon Hundert).
The three agreed to hold a conference on the state of Jewish Studies today in McGill, which Prof. Eric Caplan moderated. Here are some of the highlights of that conference. Enjoy.