Spring 2015: Click here to read the Spring 2015 newsletter [PDF].
|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 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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.”|
|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.|
|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.”|
|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.|
|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.|
|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-Biblical 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:
A 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.