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Upcoming Events

 FALL 2019

Homecoming Weekend (Open House)

Friday | 20 September | 3:30 - 5 pm | LT 1310

Family Weekend Reception

Friday | 11 October |  3:30 - 5 pm | LT 1310

Ariana Harwicz Campus Visit

Sponsored by Judaic Studies and Comparative Literature

Tuesday | October 22 | 11:40 a.m. - 01:05 p.m. | FA 244
Class visit - COLI 110 - "World Literature I"

Public Lecture | TBD

Ariana Harwicz
 is the young Jewish-Argentinian author of the novels Feebleminded and Die, My Love, the latter of which is being performed in Israel and soon in NYC.

Halloween Movie Night

Thursday| 31 October |TBD
This event is free and open to the public
The Judaic Studies Department and Center for Israel Studies present
Public Screening of a Israeli horror film (TBD)

SPRING 2019 

Judaic Studies Alumni Reception

Thursday | 6 June | 6 - 8 pm |Princeton Club of New York (15 W. 43 St., Manhattan, NYC)

Please join us for a reception at the Princeton Club in NYC. Meet other BU alumni, get an update on the Department from its Chair, and hear a brief presentation by Prof. Allan Arkush.

Details and RSVP.

Spring 2019 Judaic Studies Graduation Reception

Friday| 17 May| 2-5 pm | LT 1310 
Refreshments will be served

The Department of Judaic Studies is planning an exciting special reception to honor our graduating majors and minors.
We hope you will come to pick up your graduation cords, enjoy some kosher refreshments and say goodbye to your favorite faculty! Your family and friends are welcome too!

Judaic Studies is proud of all its majors and minors, and we want to acknowledge you and all our graduates personally. Please take a few minutes to fill out this form and submit it by April 30, 2019.

POSTPONED TILL FALL 2019 -> CIS Simulation: "Deal of the Century" in Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations

Sponsored by Israel Institute Support for CIS

Please join the Center for Israel Studies for a Simulation of the so-called "Deal of the Century" and Israel-Palestine negotiations, directed by Dr. Ilai Saltzman.
Students will be divided into small working groups (e.g., Palestinian Authority, Israeli Government, Hamas, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, etc.), and assigned roles (Prime Minister, Foreign Minister) that they will research and then role-play. The simulation will work through two rounds and last approximately 2 hours. Refreshments provided.

Dr. Ilai Saltzman is Associate Director for Academic Programs of the Israel institute. He previously served as a visiting professor at Claremont McKenna College where he taught classes on International Relations theory, US foreign policy, and Israeli foreign and security policy. He is the author of Securitizing Balance of Power Theory: A Polymorphic Reconceptualization (2012), which identified and contextualized different patterns of counterbalancing emerging threats. Ilai has published articles in professional academic journals such as Foreign Policy Analysis, Orbis, Contemporary Security Policy, and International Studies Review. Ilai earned a Ph.D. with a focus on international security from the University of Haifa.

If you want to participate, please sign-up here.


Richard McCarty's  Campus Visit

Thursday | April 4, 2019 | 5 - 6:30 pm | LN 1106
Richard McCarty presents: "Play and Promiscuity in the Ethics of Sex"

Christian sexual ethics have often been controlled by norms of marriage, monogamy, and procreation. However, in the early twentieth century the general Protestant affirmation of contraception opened Christian reflection on sexuality to include the value of intimacy apart from procreation. With the rise of critical biblical and theological studies, Christians have sometimes been divided on the moral status of same-sex relationships, and whether marriage or monogamy are required for sexual virtue.

Richard W. McCarty
is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Mercyhurst University, who discusses sexual diversity, religion, and LGBTQ community

Sponsored by Judaic Studies Department, Religious Studies and Grabel Memorial Fund for Judaic Studies

Yael Kenan's Campus Visit

Friday| 29 March | 11 am - 12:15 pm | LT 1506
Yael Kenan's presents: "The Politics of Comparison: The Dead-living and the Living-dead in Israeli and Palestinian Literatures."

Sponsored by Israel Institute Support for CIS and Comparative Literature Department

This talk brings two literary (and political) figures into conversation with each other: the dead-living in Hebrew poetry, and the living-dead in Palestinian literature. Both figures muddle the distinction between life and death, living and dying, and have a fraught relation to their own bodies. But, importantly, the figures exist on opposite sides of the power differential in Israel/Palestine, making comparison both necessary and particularly complex. The lecture offers a reading of each text on its own terms, but likewise probes the possibility of comparison in a context of ongoing power imbalance.

Yael Kenan is a PhD candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature at
the University of Michigan. Her dissertation focuses on intersections of mourning
and nationalism in Palestinian and Israeli literatures after 1948.


Lunch Talk with Prof. Keith Weiser: "Old and New Theories about the Origins of Yiddish (and of Ashkenazic Jews)"

Thursday | March 14, 2019 | 1 - 2pm | LT 1310
Sponsored by the Richard J. Byrne '83 Endowment for Judaic Studies

When, where, why, and how did Yiddish come into being? Since at least the 19th century, scholars have debated where Yiddish comes from and what that tells us about the origins and migrations of Ashkenazic Jews. A variety of answers have been proposed by linguists and historians, usually to promote a specific political or ideological goal. In recent years, genetics has entered the fray, yielding sometimes surprising new arguments. This talk will explore and evaluate various theories, including the recent controversy surrounding the claim that Yiddish originates among medieval converts to Judaism in central Asia.

Keith (Kalman) Weiser is the Silber Family Professor of Modern Jewish Studies at York University in Toronto. He has written extensively about Jewish nationalism and language politics, especially in eastern Europe. He is currently editing Key Concepts in the Study of Antisemitism and working on a new book, Confronting Hitler's Professors, about the relationship between Jewish scholars of Yiddish and German colleagues who served the Third Reich and then established the field of Yiddish in post-WWII Germany.

 RSVP and more details here.

The Great Latke v. Hamentashen Debate

Tuesday | 19 February | 7:30pm | Lecture Hall 7

Ever wonder which which is better, Latkes or Hamentashen?

Professor Friedman and Professor Arkush will debate Latke v. Hamentashen. Moderated by Professor Krasno (Political Science).

Sponsored by Oy Gavald Think Tank at Binghamton University. Hosted by Chabad at Binghamton and Hillel at Binghamton.



Tim Ternes and the St John's Bible Project

Thursday | 14 February | 5 - 6:30 pm | University Art Museum Main Gallery (FA 213)
A presentation of The Saint John's Bible by project director Tim Ternes

Funded and organized by Religious Studies, Judaic Studies, Department of Art and Design, CNES, and the Richard J. Byrne '83 Endowment for Judaic Studies

Tim Ternes of the St. John's Bible Project ( will be coming to discuss a unique modern artifact - the "first handwritten, illuminated Bible commissioned by a Benedictine monastery in the modern era."
Prints from the St. John's Bible will be exhibited in the Kenneth C. Lindsay Room at the Art Museum, February 12-25th. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Prof. Erez Tzfadia's Campus Visit

Monday | 11 February | 3:30 - 6:30 PM | FA 258
"The Ancestral Sin" - A Documentary Series by David Deri, Doron Galezer and Ruth Yuval
Screening and Discussion with Prof. Erez Tzfadia

Prof. Tzfadia was the scientific adviser of The Ancestral Sin, which tells the story of Jewish-Arab immigrants in the early days of the Israeli state. The documentary sparked a public storm about the role of ethnicity and race in Israeli culture and politics. In the faculty seminar, Prof Tzfadia will discuss the public reception of the film as a way of opening a broader conversation about tensions that lie between theory and practice, and more.

"The Ancestral Sin" is the story of Israel's 'development towns' in a chilling documentary, as never told before: Testimonials and previously sealed transcripts reveal a method, an ideology and a cruel practice of law enforcement and decision makers behind the 'population dispersal' policies in the first two decades of independence. The director's family, like others, was taken to Yeruham, a development town in the Negev desert. Their personal stories recount of the price immigrant-families pay and the price still paid by Israeli society, unwilling to deal head-on with those early years and forgotten towns."

Professor Erez Tzfadia is the scientific advisor of the series. He is Associate Professor of Public Policy and Administration at Sapir College, Israel. His work focuses on spatial policy and politics. He was an Israel Institute Visiting Scholar at Rutgers University (2015-6), and he headed the department of public policy and administration at Sapir Collage (2011-5). Tzfadia is the chairperson of BIMKOM – Planners for Human Rights (an Israeli NGO).

Funded and organized by Center for Israel Studies and and a grant from the Israel Institute


Past Events

FALL 2018

"Race, Ethnicity, and being Jewish in America"

Wednesday | 14 November | Noon | LT 1310

Funded by the Richard J. Byrne '83 Endowment for Judaic Studies

Associate Professor John Cheng

Binghamton University

Department of Asian and Asian American Studies

Details and RSVP here by Monday 12 November


Center for Israel Studies presents "Reviving the Dead Sea"

Tuesday | 13 November | Noon | LT 1310

Funded by the Center for Israel Studies through a grant from the Israel Institute

Lunch and Talk with Noam Bedein, Director of the "Dead Sea Revival Project"

Details and RSVP here by Friday 9 November

"Josephus and Jewish History"

Thursday | 8 November | Noon | LT 1310

Funded by the Richard J. Byrne '83 Endowment for Judaic Studies

Lunch and Talk with Dr. David Friedman

Junior Research Fellow
Darwin College
Faculty of Classics
University of Cambridge

Come learn about the 1st Century Jewish historian Josephus, author of The Jewish Wars and Antiquities of the Jews.

Via Skype

Details and RSVP here by Tuesday 6 November

Conversations about recent Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting and anti-Semitism

Friday | 2 November | 9 am - 3pm | LT 1310

You are invited to come by the Judaic Studies Seminar Room to talk about Pittsburgh shooting and anti-Semitism.
Faculty members will be talking very briefly, and then listening.

Halloween Movie Night

Tuesday | October 30, 2018 | 7.30 - 9.30 pm | Admissions Center 189
This event is free and open to the public
The Judaic Studies Department and Center for Israel Studies present
Public Screening of a Israeli horror film Big Bad Wolves

Israel 2013 | 1h 50min | Hebrew, English subtitles
Directors/Writers: Aharon Keshales, Navot Papushado
A series of brutal murders puts the lives of three men on a collision course: The father of the latest victim hungry for revenge, a vigilante police detective operating outside the boundaries of law, and the main suspect in the killings - a religious studies teacher arrested and released due to a police blunder.


Two-day Symposium on Early Modern Jewish History Oct 28-29

The Judaic Studies Department present this year's Rabbi Moses Margolis Memorial Lecture and Symposium on Early Modern Jewish History with contributors and editors of the The Cambridge History of Judaism: Volume 7, The Early Modern World, 1500-1815.

Sunday |October 28, 2018 | 7 - 9 pm | University Union 215
Margolis Lecture "Joseph and His Brothers: The Notorious Trial and Execution of 'Jew Süss' (1737-38) from a Jewish Perspective" presented by Yair Mintzker from Princeton University.
Light refreshments will be served, sponsored by Cambridge University Press.
This event is free and open to the public.

Monday |October 29, 2018 | 9 am - 1 pm | Library North 1106
Discussion Panel
Guest Participants are: Yair Mintzker (Princeton University), Adam Sutcliffe (King's College London, UK), David Ruderman (UPenn - Philadelphia), Francesca Bregoli (Queens College - NYC), Glenn Dynner (Sarah Lawrence - Westchester), Elisheva Carlebach (Columbia - NY), Todd Endelman (University of Michigan), Allan Arkush (Binghamton University), Randy Friedman (Binghamton University), Heather Welland (Binghamton University) - hosted by Jonathan Karp (Binghamton University).
Co-sponsored by Temple Beth El Endowment, Cambridge University Press, History Department, and CEMERS.

Lunch Talk with Prof. Keith Weiser: "What's in a Name? On the Uses and Abuses of Jewish Names"

Thursday | October 18, 2018 | Noon to 1pm | LT 1310

Sponsored by: Judaic Department and Temple Beth El Endowment

Professor Keith Weiser is an Associate Professor in the Division of Humanities of York University - Toronto, ON. His research focuses in the area of modern Jewish history and culture, specifically about language issues in Jewish life.

This talk explores how Jews - chiefly Ashkenazi ones - got "Jewish" first names and family names in the modern era and how their naming practices have not only served as a source of identity but also one of conflict within Jewish communities and at times a problem in Jews' interactions with state bureaucracies.

Essentially, Prof Weiser briefly examines what is a "Jewish" name and explain how Jews obtained their names before exploring some debates about adopting non-Jewish names in Europe (e.g. traditionalists opposition to 'gentile names', the movement to register "correct," i.e. modern Hebrew names, on state records in interwar Poland) and some of the problems that Jewish names have created in interactions with both benevolent and not so benevolent bureaucrats in Europe, North America, and Israel (e.g. problems of military induction of deceased children, use of names for racial profiling in eastern Europe; writing names 'wrong' on tombstones).


Center for Israel Studies presents Screening of Ran Tal's film "The Museum"

Tuesday | October 16, 2018 | 7 - 9 pm | Admissions Center 189
This event is free and open to the public

October 16 | 9 am - noon | LT 1310 
Special Workshop with the Director

The Judaic Studies Department and Center for Israel Studies present public screening of Ran Tal's latest documentary The Museum about the Israel Museum.
Q&A session with the director.

The Museum
Israel 2017 | 74 minutes | Hebrew, English | Hebrew, English subtitles
The Museum is a film that observes, examines and ponders Israel's most important cultural institution, the Israel Museum. The film follows the visitors, observes the observers, listens to the speakers and descends to the storerooms, labs and conference rooms.
The American museum director, the singing security guard, the Jerusalemite curator, the Haredi kashrut inspector, the Palestinian guide and the visitor who lost her vision are some of the characters that take part in a chain of activities which add up to the museum. For about 18 months director Ran Tal collected footage of the daily routine of the museum that seeks to both reflect and mold the Israeli legacy and culture.

Ran Tal, born in 1963, graduated the Tel Aviv University Department of Film in 1994. Tal is an independent director whose documentaries focus on Israeli reality through an historic social perspective. Tal's main focus is on documentary films, in addition to which he directs diverse television projects and is editor of artistic social endeavors.

Tal is the recipient of the Ophir Prize, the Jerusalem Film Festival Volgin Award, the DocAviv Film Festival Award, the Forum for the Preservation of Audio Visual award and the Documentary Forum award. Tal also won the Ministry of Culture Cinema Art prize and the Mifal Hapayis Landau Award for Stage Art.

Tal teaches cinema at the Film Departments at Sapir College and Tel Aviv University.
He is the founder and editor of Takriv (Close Up) online magazine for discussion and critique of documentary film (together with Anat Even) and one of the founders of the Keshet Broadcasting and Mifal HaPayis "Looking Forward" social project.


Lunch with Rabbi Rachel Beit-Halachmi

Funded by the Temple Beth El Endowment

"Gender and Power in Rabbinic Literature"

Monday | October 15 | Noon | LT 1310
Judaic Studies Conference Room (Library Tower 13th Floor)

Please RSVP by Friday, October 12 here.

Lunch provided (Kosher food provided, Veggie Option Available)

Rabbi Sabath serves the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion as Assistant Professor of Jewish Thought and Ethics and is the National Director of Recruitment and Admissions. In 2013 she was also appointed President's Scholar. Prior to this appointment, Rabbi Sabath served as Vice President of the Shalom Hartman Institute and for over a decade as a member of the Institute's faculty, while directing the Hartman Lay leadership, Rabbinic leadership, and Christian leadership programs. Concurrently, she also taught liturgy and theology at HUC-JIR in Jerusalem. Ordained at HUC-JIR in New York, Rabbi Sabath also earned a Ph.D. in Jewish philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Homecoming Weekend Reception

Friday | October 5, 2018 | 3 - 5 pm | Library Tower 13th floor
Please join us for an Open House and Reception.
Light refreshments will be served.

Ruth Gavison's Campus visit Oct 3-4

Wednesday | October 3, 2018 | 3pm - 4.30pm | Admissions Center 189

The Judaic Studies Department presents Ruth Gavison who will hold a public lecture on the new Nationality Law "Is Israel STILL a Jewish and Democratic State?"
This event is free and open to the public.

Thursday | 4 October 4, 2018 | 12pm - 1pm | Library Tower 1310

Roundtable with students.

Ruth Gavison is an emeritus law professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has taught in the law schools of Yale University and the University of Southern California.
Her areas of research include Ethnic Conflict, the Protection of Minorities, Human Rights, Political Theory, Judiciary Law, Religion and Politics, and Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. She is a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
Prof. Gavison has been appointed to several governmental committees, including the Winograd Committee, which investigated the lessons of the Second Lebanon War. A founding member of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Prof. Gavison is also the founding president of the Metzilah Center for Zionist, Jewish, Liberal and Humanist Thought.

Hasmonean and other Ancient Jewish Coins: In the Classroom with David Hendin

Monday | September 17, 2018 | 6 PM | SW 110

Are you interested in the history of Jewish Resistance? In the Maccabees? In the materiality and artifacts of (the) revolt? Do you like physically handling historical objects, tokens of (successful) rebellion? Then come to this special event with David Hendin, from the American Numismatic Society (ANS) in Manhattan!! David will be bringing a significant selection of actual Hasmonean and other ancient Jewish coins to the second half of the regular weekly meeting of JUST287A. You will be able to handle the coins, listen to a historical introduction by David, and be part of a class discussion on the Maccabees. We'll have light refreshments... did someone say Bissli?

David Hendin is a specialist in weights and currency of the ancient Levant, especially Judaean and biblical, local provincial, and Nabataean numismatics. He is author of Guide to Biblical Coins (2010), now in its fifth edition, Ancient Scale Weights and Pre-Coinage Currency of the Near East (2007) and 10 other books. Hendin is author of more than 20 articles in scholarly journals as well as his monthly column for The Celator. In 1985 and 1986 he was chief numismatist of the Joint Sepphoris Project under the auspices of Duke University (Eric and Carol Meyers) and The Hebrew University (Ehud Netzer). Hendin edited Ancient Jewish Coinage Vols. I & II, by Ya'akov Meshorer and the English edition of A Treasury of Jewish Coins by Ya'akov Meshorer. In 1992, he was elected a Fellow of the ANS and is now a Life Fellow.
For more information on the event contact Dr. Michael J. Kelly.


AY 17/18

The Burden of Memory: Thane Rosenbaum Reading from "The Golems of Gotham"

Tuesday | April 10, 2018 | 6:30pm | Fine Arts 258
This event is free and open to the public 
There will be a book signing and an informal reception following the reading

The Judaic Studies Department and the Rabbi Moses Margolis Fund present the award-winning author, Thane Rosenbaum, who will read from and discuss The Golems of Gotham, a Post Holocaust novel. 

Rosenbaum, a second-generation Holocaust survivor, is an essayist, law professor, and author of several novels including Second Hand Smoke, Elijah Visible, and The Golems of Gotham. His articles, reviews, and essays appear frequently in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Haaretz, Huffington Post, and Daily Beast. He is a Distinguished Fellow at New York University School of Law where he directs the Forum on Law, Culture, and Society. He also moderates The Talk Show, an annual series of discussions on culture, world events, and politics at the 92nd Street Y.

Community Internships and Honors Theses

Congratulations to Madison Jackson and Wade Melnick who completed two Internships. Madi put together the Hanukah House exhibition on Jewish Food from Around the World, and Wade sorted, cathalogued, digitized parts of the Temple Concord Archive.

And congrats to Arly Mintz researched, wrote, and defended and received honors for her Pell Thesis on globalization and religious nationalism in Israel.

mintz madi


"Jewish Food from Around the World"hhouse

Friday |December 8, 2017 | 1:30pm
Temple Concord
9 Riverside Dr, Binghamton, NY 13905

The Department of Judaic Studies Community Internships Project

You are cordially invited to hear Madison Jackson present on her Internship project.

Light refreshments (from Wegmans) will be served as we congratulate Madison Jackson and Wade Melnick on the completion of their Internship projects.

Video of Madison Jackson's Exhibition at the Hannukah House Museum, November 2017

 "Genealogies of the Future" with Jonathan Boyarin

Thursday | November 30 2017 | 7:30 pm
Library Tower, Rm 2207 (second floor)
The lecture is free and open to the general public


Jonathan Boyarin, Mann Professor of Modern Jewish Studies and Professor of Anthropology at Cornell University, will present this year's Rabbi Moses Margolis Memorial Lecture, entitled "Genealogies of the Future."

Drawing on documents ranging from the stories of Grace Paley, to the ethnography of Yiddish philanthropy, to artistic re-imaginings of a lost family album, Professor Boyarin discusses what happens when we start to think of Jewish genealogy and 'blood ties' as oriented towards the future rather than the past.

Professor Boyarin's many books include Mornings at the Stanton Street Shul: A Summer on the Lower East Side and Jewish Families (Key Words in Jewish Studies)

For more information, contact the Judaic Studies Department, 777-3070.



"Fighting with Faith: Jewish Chaplains and the American State"

Thursday | November 9, 2017 | 7pm
Science Library 206

Lecture by Ronit Stahl, Postdoctoral Fellow at UPenn


"Race, Ethnicity, and being Jewish in America"

Wednesday | October 18, 2017 | Noon
Judaic Studies Conference Room LT 1310 (Library Tower 13th Floor)

Associate Professor John Cheng
Binghamton University
Department of Asian and Asian American Studies
M.A./Ph.D., History, University of California, Berkeley
A.B., History and Science, Harvard

Funded by the Bernard Lasky Endowment Fund 

Last Updated: 8/7/19