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Huqoq-mosaic-fish--300x210Excavations this summer in the Late Roman (fifth century) synagogue at Huqoq, an ancient Jewish village in Israel’s Lower Galilee, have revealed stunning new mosaics that decorated the floor. The excavations are directed by Jodi Magness, a professor in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill College of Arts and Sciences, along with Assistant Director Shua Kisilevitz of the Israel Antiquities Authority.The mosaic panels decorating the floor of the synagogue’s nave (center of the hall) portray two biblical stories: Noah’s Ark and the parting of the Red Sea. The panel with Noah’s Ark depicts an ark and pairs of animals, including elephants, leopards, donkeys, snakes, bears, lions, ostriches, camels, sheep and goats. The scene of the parting of the Red Sea shows Pharaoh’s soldiers being swallowed by large fish, surrounded by overturned chariots with horses and chariot drivers.

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Berlinger.exhibit.may16webOn Wednesday, May 4, students in Dr. Gabrielle Berlinger’s JWST 697: The Material Life of Jewish America (Jewish Studies Capstone Seminar) opened the exhibition “From T-Shirts to Tattoos: Jewish Material Culture at UNC-Chapel Hill“.The student-curated exhibition is housed at the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies.
PrintThank you to all who attended the conference. We have recently added the following: program guide, photos and videos and student research posters from the conference.

Reconsidering Antisemitism: Past and Present
April 10-12, 2016, UNC Friday Center
The Center hosted a conference on Antisemitism, which was free and open to the general public. This three-day conference featured academic panel discussions, two keynote lectures, and student research.

Maymester 2016 course: Beyond Hostilities: Israeli-Palestinian Exchanges and Collaborations in Cinema, Literature, and Music

Monday to Friday 11:30 – 2:45 with Professor Yaron Shemer

It should come as no surprise that, for most, the mention of Israel and Palestine conjointly conjures up conflict, wars, and hostility. Yet, this course focuses on various collaborations and exchanges between Israelis and Palestinians in the realm of culture. These connections involve literature and language (Israeli-Jewish authors writing in Arabic and Palestinian writers who choose Hebrew as their language of expression), music, filmmaking, and joint educational initiatives. Maymester.Shemer.

eli.classroom.2015webDistinguished Service: For more than a decade, Eli Evans, ’58, founding chair of the Center’s advisory board, has been visiting Professor Marcie Cohen Ferris’ classroom to meet with her students. This month he combined the classroom visit with receiving the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Service in the College of Arts and Sciences, which recognizes individuals who have served the College through exceptional vision, commitment and leadership.


Spring 2016 Newsletter

07KevinGuskiewicz_lrg-200x300Kevin Guskiewicz named College of Arts and Sciences dean

Kevin Guskiewicz, a neuroscientist and internationally recognized expert on sport-related concussions and a senior associate dean in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s College of Arts and Sciences, will become the College’s 22nd dean. Guskiewicz was selected after an extensive nationwide search led by Executive Vice Provost and Chief International Officer Ron Strauss, and succeeds Dean Karen M. Gil, who will return to the College’s department of psychology and neuroscience after serving as dean for more than six years.  Read more.


View the event flyer for 2015-2016.

Learn more about the Antisemitism conference.

Fall 2015: Click here to read the fall 2015 newsletter [PDF]

travis.alexander2.2015web Investing in Students… and their Exceptional Research: Research topics explored by Carolina students have ranged from Jewish communities in Moldova, to Jewish-American composer Kurt Weill, Jewish and Islamic schools in North Carolina, Holocaust survivors in Lithuania, and Israeli medical centers. Their research topics and travel destinations are as diverse and individualized as the students themselves, but one thing remains constant—they need funding to pursue these projects. Read more about how our students spent their summer.
casualpimichaelf Michael Figueroa grew up surrounded by music and knew he wanted to base his life around it in some way or another. Regarding his new course, offered in spring 2015, he said, “I created the ‘Hearing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict’ course because studying the region’s music allows students to learn about the various cultures involved in the conflict from a much different perspective than mainstream outlets, such as cable news, print, and social media. It is important to me that students grasp the human side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and learning Israelis’ and Palestinians’ musical cultures is a powerful way to accomplish this.”    Read the profile.
Sarah outside LOC 2 Sarah Workman’s first semester at Carolina found her, begrudgingly, in a fantasy literature class. She enrolled in the course simply to meet a requirement for a 20th Century American Literature credit, but as it turns out, the class laid the foundation for her dissertation. Workman’s project examines how enchantment mediates history in contemporary Jewish American literature. She is exploring fantasy genres, magic, a return to the folkloric, whimsical nature of Yiddish storytelling, and how these elements frame the reader’s relationship to the past. Read the profile.
HuqoqTheater Mask.web Under the direction of the Center’s Jodi Magness, excavations this summer, in the Late Roman (fifth century) synagogue at Huqoq, have revealed stunning new mosaics that decorated the floor.  Read more about this year’s discoveries.

CCJS.huqoqfunded.june2015web The Center is providing essential, multi-year sponsorship support to the Huqoq dig as well as research and travel grants to individual students. Grants were provided by the Center for these students to participate in the dig at Huqoq. Read more about how our Huqoq students spent their summer.
Ruth von Bernuth.2014web Supporting graduate students makes a lasting impact on research in the field of Jewish studies and on teaching Jewish studies, not only when the students are at Carolina, but also as they move along in their careers. Their work helps to broaden our ideas of Jewish history and culture and it brings fresh ideas into the classroom. We now have about 20 graduate students at Carolina who have research interests in the field of Jewish studies, and with this expanding number comes more responsibility for supporting their studies and projects.
lilianagregory.may2015web Congratulations to our May 2015 graduates: Collin Davis (BA degree), Liliana Gregory (Minor in JS) (shown at left), Emma Woelk (PhD, Graduate Certificate in Jewish Studies) and Elisssa Sampson (PhD, Graduate Certificate in Jewish Studies).
berlinger.web Joining us this semester is a new faculty member in the department of American Studies – Gabrielle A. Berlinger, the Babette S. and Bernard J. Tanenbaum Fellow in Jewish History and Culture [shown at left]. Her research interests include Jewish folklore and ethnology. Jonathan Hess, department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, has been named co-editor of AJS Perspectives, the magazine of the Association for Jewish Studies which is published biannually. David Lambert, department of Religious Studies, has book appearing in October with Oxford University Press: How Repentance Became Biblical: Judaism, Christianity, and the Interpretation of Scripture. Marcie Cohen Ferris was recently promoted to full professor in American Studies. She is serving a two-year appointment as co-chair of the University’s Food for All: Local and Global Perspectives steering committee.
CCJSblock3 Reconsidering Antisemitism: Past and Present –
April 10-12, 2016
This April, the Center is hosting a three-day international conference titled, “Reconsidering Antisemitism: Past and Present,” a topic which is unfortunately timely in the U.S. and around the world. This event will address the modern day, worldwide issue of antisemitism while also providing a historical and academic evaluation of what antisemitism is and was.  “Reconsidering Antisemitism” will bring together a diverse group of scholars of antisemitism for in-depth discussions with students, educators, members of the media, and the community at large. The conference will offer two public keynote evening lectures, and throughout the three days there will be a series of five in-depth panel discussions. On April 9, the UNC Program for the Humanities will hold the annual Uhlman Family Seminar for the general public and K-12 educators on “Facing Antisemitism through the Ages,” which will feature speakers from the antisemitism conference and will study antisemitic material from the medieval period to the contemporary world. We will add details to our conference web pages during the fall semester.
 New Course: FOLK 490.001 – Traditions in Transition: Jewish Folklore and Ethnography
Wednesdays. Instructor: Gabrielle Berlinger
Jewish stories, humor, ritual, belief, dress, food, and more! This course explores the great diversity of folkloristic expression in today’s Jewish American communities and the ethnographies that document this expression. We will focus on Jewish storytelling, humor, ritual, custom, belief, dress, and food, among other genres of folklore, within the historical context of Jewish folklore and ethnology. Through the lens of ethnographic studies, personal narratives, historical documents, literary studies, films, and field trips, we will look at what makes these forms of vernacular expression Jewish, how source communities interpret them, and how ethnographers document them, to investigate such issues as representation, identity, memory, and tradition. Students will learn ethnographic skills to conduct a hands-on community-based fieldwork project. Multimedia projects are welcome!
Event Schedule for 2015-2016:
Aug 31 – Academic Lecture with Jack Sasson, 5:30 p.m.
Oct 12 – Community Lecture with Shaye Cohen, 7:30 p.m.
Oct 28 – Academic Lecture with Veronika Fuechtner, 12:00 p.m.
Nov 16 – Community Lecture with Aviva Ben-Ur, 7:30 p.m.
Mar 7 – Community Lecture with Sarah Stein, 7:30 p.m.
Feb 1 – Community Lecture [co-host: Duke Jewish Studies] with Anita Norich, 7:30 p.m.
Feb 15 – Community Lecture with Jodi Magness, 7:30 p.m.
Apr 10-13 – Uhlman Family Seminar and Antisemitism Conference
Please visit our events page for details. We look forward to seeing you in the fall semester!


Spring 2015: Click here to read the Spring 2015 newsletter [PDF].

 collindavis.vsm After earning his Associates Degree, Collin Davis, ’15, was looking into schools with religious studies and Hebrew programs. “Carolina clearly had the best programs, and once I started here I was able to become even more focused on Jewish studies.” This May, he completed the undergraduate B.A. degree program in Jewish Studies.
 Woelk.vsm As a Junior at Vassar, Emma Woelk intended to build a career in the biological sciences, but a study abroad experience in Germany served as the wake-up call that changed the course of her life. This May she became the first graduate of the Carolina-Duke Graduate Program in German Studies and one of the first students to earn the graduate student Certificate in Jewish Studies.
Andrea Cooper.2014web Andrea Dara Cooper, the Leonard and Tobee Kaplan Fellow in Modern Jewish Thought, has already begun to shape Jewish studies on campus by creating four new courses within her first few months at Carolina.
cassen.web Flora Cassen, the JMA and Sonja van der Horst Fellow in Jewish History and Culture, created a new course titled: Antisemitism: History, Causes, Consequences. The undergraduates learned about the history of antisemitism from the middle ages to today and wrote in-depth research papers on a wide range of topics.
HSprintzik2014web Hanna Sprintzik, lecturer in Modern Hebrew in the Department of Asian Studies, taught a new First Year Seminar this semester which introduced undergraduates to the field of Israeli popular culture.
maxlazar.vsm In January, Max Lazar, a first year graduate student in the Department of History, traveled to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. to learn about the Holocaust in the Soviet Union and materials available at the Museum’s library and archive. Lazar’s thesis examines Jewish immigration from the Soviet Union to Germany after WWII.
 CCJSblock3 This May, Elissa Sampson and Emma Woelk both  earned the graduate student Certificate in Jewish Studies. Sampson’s dissertation explored “Tenement Tales: The Fashioning of 97 Orchard Street” and Woelk’s research was titled “Folk Fiction: Yiddish and the Negotiation of Legacy in Germany after 1945.”
 Gil-Karenhigh-res.vsm On behalf of the College of Arts and Sciences, I want to thank you for your commitment to the work of the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies. Your support has contributed to its being a vibrant place for learning, discovery and engagement.
Ruth von Bernuth.2014web Nearly 1,300 students enrolled in 34 Jewish studies courses this academic year. For many students, it is their first encounter with aspects of Jewish culture, religion, and history, but for some others, it is their second, third, fourth, or maybe even tenth course.
CCJSblock3 This year, thanks to generous private support, the Center provided research and travel grants to undergraduates, graduate students and faculty, in addition to faculty course development grants, graduate student summer stipends, the graduate fellowship for dissertation completion, and several graduate student recruitment grants.


Click here to view the 2014-2015 event flyer.

Fall 2014: Click here to read the Fall 2014 newsletter [PDF].

 browning.vsm Professor Christopher Browning, distinguished professor and researcher of the Holocaust, retired this summer. To formally recognize his dedication and contributions to the field and to Carolina, the Center has created a new research grant for undergraduate and graduate students working in the field of Holocaust studies. The Christopher R. Browning Research and Travel Grant will be awarded for the first time this academic year. The new research grant will be funded through private gifts, including the Director’s Discretionary Fund and donations made specifically to support the grant.
 Andrea Cooper.2014web  Andrea Cooper joins the Center and Carolina’s Department of Religious Studies this semester as the Leonard and Tobee Kaplan Fellow in Modern Jewish Thought. She holds a Ph.D. from New York University. Joseph Lam has been promoted to a tenure-track assistant professor position in Classical Hebrew, Department of Religious Studies. He holds a Ph.D. from University of Chicago and joined Carolina in 2011 as lecturer for Classical Hebrew. Three of our faculty members— Ruth von Bernuth, Evyatar Marienberg, and Yaron Shemer— have recently gained tenure and have been promoted to Associate Professors.
 Ruth von Bernuth.2014web My “director’s desk” is currently a virtual one, since I am writing this while on my way to Chelm, the town in southeastern Poland whose inhabitants enjoy such notoriety in Jewish literature for their bottomless foolishness. But I am by no means the only member of the Center on the move this summer. Some of my colleagues are in Israel to give talks or to conduct research. Other Carolina faculty are in Europe, and elsewhere around the globe, Martin Sueldo is in Argentina, exploring the possibility of setting up a UNC summer program on South American Jewish culture in Buenos Aires.
Burney, far right, in Huqoq, summer 2014.

 Directed by Professor Jodi Magness, excavations in the Late Roman (fifth century) synagogue at Huqoq, an ancient Jewish village in Israel’s Lower Galilee, have brought to light stunning mosaics which decorated the floor. In 2012, a mosaic showing Samson and the foxes (Judges 15:4) was discovered in the synagogue’s east aisle. In summer 2013, a second mosaic was found which shows Samson carrying the gate of Gaza on his shoulders (Judges 16:3). This summer, a third mosaic was discovered in the synagogue’s east aisle, which includes a scene of soldiers and elephants. The identification of the figures in this mosaic is unclear because there are no stories in the Hebrew Bible involving elephants.  A group of seven students, shown at left, participated in the dig with the assistance of research and travel grants from the Center, including, from left to right: Lauren Garrett, Austin Andrews, David Culclasure, Daniel Schindler, Brian Coussens, Bradley Erickson, and Jocelyn Burney. Photo by J. Haberman.
 lilliana1.web Undergraduate Student Profile:  Liliana Gregory, ’15: “What drove me to declare the Jewish Studies minor was Professor Ewa Wampuszyc’s 20th Century Polish Literature and Culture course. It showed me how integrated Central European Studies and Jewish Studies are. I wanted to take this academic knowledge and somehow turn it into practical experience. This led me to an internship at the Galicia Jewish Museum in Kraków, Poland during summer 2013.”
 guy.shalev1.web  Graduate Student Profile:  Guy Shalev: After earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in Israel, Shalev developed a commitment to an anthropological study in healthcare settings. This directed him to the medical anthropology Ph.D. program at Carolina.
 hannah2.web The Hidden Jews of Ethiopia, By Hannah Nemer, ’14: “I spent this past spring break traveling through Ethiopia, visiting with members of the Beta Avraham Jewish community to record their stories of faith, oppression, and resilience. The funding I received from the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies has proven invaluable during this process.”
 CCJSblock3  Graduate Student Recruitment: This past spring the Center offered recruitment grants and “top-up” grants to prospective outstanding graduate students with an interest in a field related to Jewish Studies. Applicants to Carolina were nominated by their academic departments. This fall, Carolina welcomes Tine Rassalle, in the Department of Religious Studies, who received the Tau Epsilon Phi Graduate Student Fellowship in Jewish Studies, which includes a stipend, full tuition, fees, and health insurance for the first and fifth year of study, and Robin Buller and Max Lazar, both in the Department of History, who received $7,000 top-up grants.
 ferris cover The Edible South: Marcie Cohen Ferris. associate professor, Department of American Studies, has a new book being published this fall titled: The Edible South: The Power of Food and the Making of an American Region. For more information, visit the UNC press.  Jewish Studies Faculty News: Flora Cassen, the JMA and Sonja van der Horst Fellow in Jewish History and Culture and assistant professor, Department of History, will serve as faculty liaison to the Center’s advisory board for this coming academic year. David Lambert, assistant professor, Department of Religious Studies, will serve the Center as curriculum advisor this year. Joseph Lam, shown at left,will serve as undergraduate student liaison.
kessler Archival Work at the National Library of Israel, Jerusalem, By Samuel J. Kessler, graduate student, Department of Religious Studies: “For anyone who spends even a little time in Jewish studies, one quickly learns that the National Library in Jerusalem is full of characters and an endless number of anecdotes about them. What I came to the NLI to find is contained in 82 folders spread over three boxes. To start my work each morning I sit at a desk and am handed a folder—I began with number one and will end with number 82. The excitement of this life is in the minutia: I never quite know what I will find when I open each new folder.”


July 2014: A team led by our archaeologist Jodi Magness has discovered a third mosaic in ongoing synagogue excavations at Huqoq, in Lower Galilee. This new mosaic is the first time a non-BiHuqoqstudents14 habermanblical story has been found decorating any ancient synagogue. UNC students participated in the dig, including seven who were supported by grants from the Center, shown at right.

Summer 2014 interviews with Professor Magness:

WUNC, July 2014
Biblical Archaeology, July 2014


Spring 2014 Click here to read the full story in our newsletter [PDF]

karen_auerbach  “The House at Ujazdowskie 16” by Karen Auerbach, Carolina’s newest Jewish studies faculty member, tells of the personal journey of post-World War II Jewish families. The book is also the result of Auerbach’s own journey, which began as a simple desire to learn more about her grandmother’s life but then evolved into a major career change, years of living abroad, and an intensive research project.
Professor Jodi Magness and UNC Chapel Hill students with the Sam Student Profiles: Jocelyn Burney, ’14, had a childhood dream of being an archeologist and plans to pursue a graduate degree in Religious studies. Tony Botros, ’14, is a chemistry and biology double major who plans on enrolling in medical school this fall. For very different reasons, both participate in the summer excavations in Huqoq.
GilKaren.vsm With your support, the Carolina Center has made remarkable gains. Jewish Studies now has an outstanding assemblage of faculty, a robust public lecture series, two successful academic minors (Jewish Studies and Modern Hebrew), and an exciting new undergraduate major. As a result, Carolina is becoming a leader in the field, by enhancing understanding of Jewish history and culture on campus and in the world.
von bernuth.vsm This year, the Center also continued to reach out to new academic fields, and a remarkable 10 new courses in Jewish Studies were submitted to the Undergraduate Bulletin in the fall, including courses on Arab-Jews, the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain, and Urban Life in East European Jewish History. We are able to support our undergraduate, graduate students, our faculty and to invite so many speakers due to your ongoing support. Thank you for your continued interest in, and support of, the Center.
ccjs-logo Thanks to generous private support, this year the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies was able to offer more funding awards than ever before to undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty. Funding for these awards was made possible by the Frenkel Foundation, the Joseph Kittner Endowment Fund, the Howard R. Levine Student Excellence Fund, the Shapiro/ZBT Undergraduate Research Fund, the Rhonda A. and Robert Hillel Silver Fund for Graduate Support, the Jack O. Spies and Family Jewish Studies Fund, the Advisory Board Director’s Expendable Fund, and the Fund for Jewish Studies.
200px-Anne_Frank The Uhlman Family Seminar is offered by the UNC Program in the Humanities, in collaboration with the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies and Raleigh’s Burning Coal Theatre. The 2014 seminar, was held April 12, 2014, and was titled: Diaries, Dreams, and Desires: Anne Frank and Jewish Private Life. Presentations explored the domestic worlds that Anne Frank and millions of Jewish families enjoyed before the war, how they’ve been portrayed, and the disruption wrought on them by the Holocaust. The seminar was capped with a presentation from Burning Coal Theatre on producing the “Diary” as a play, and included performances of key scenes from the production.



imaxA new IMAX film featuring our own Jodi Magness is coming to Raleigh’s Marbles Museum. Filmed in 3D for the giant screen, Jerusalem immerses audiences into one of the world’s most beloved cities. Discover why this tiny piece of land is sacred to three major religions through the stories of Jewish, Christian and Muslim families who call Jerusalem home. Join renowned archaeologist and UNC Distinguished Professor, Dr. Jodi Magness, as she travels underground to solve some of this city’s greatest mysteries. Unprecedented access to the city’s holiest sites, as well as rare and breathtaking aerial footage of the Old City and the Holy Land, combine to make Jerusalem a unique and stunning cinematic experience. The Raleigh opening: Saturday, February 22, 2014. Length: 40 minutes. Visit Marbles Museum for screening details. On March 2nd, the alumni association is hosting a talk by Professor Magness and film screening. For details, and to register, please visit the alumni association.