The Legacy Heritage Jewish Studies Project (LHJSP) is a collaboration of the Legacy Heritage Fund and the Association for Jewish Studies (AJS). This initiative aims to promote sustained Jewish studies programming in small to mid-sized cities, foster relationships between scholars and the wider communities in which they work, encourage innovative and accessible teaching by AJS members, and highlight the nexus of Jewish studies and the study of world civilizations and cultures. It is the first program by the AJS to support the work of Jewish studies scholars as public intellectuals, pioneering programmers, and community builders.
The Legacy Heritage Jewish Studies Project is based on the idea that the Jewish studies scholar has a critical role to play as a mediator of Jewish history and culture, the humanities, and social sciences not only on the college campus, but also in the broader community. This role is mutually beneficial: To the general public, the Jewish studies scholar brings expertise, depth of knowledge, and extensive teaching experience -- traits that can open up Jewish topics in new and innovative ways, inspire intellectual excitement and appreciation for Jewish studies, and intellectually engage the public beyond campus walls. For the scholar, teaching outside of the college classroom brings a wider audience to one’s work and a broader range of perspectives and experiences to bear on one’s topic. This kind of programming helps to bridge the “town-gown” gap between colleges/universities and the cities within which they reside, promoting the view that Jewish studies programs have vital resources for a diverse community of learners and that the college/university is an essential and active community partner. Indeed, Jewish studies -- with its focus on minority/majority relations and on the constant negotiation between particularist and universalist concerns -- is ideally situated to serve as such a bridge between the academy and the public.
II. LHJSP Recipients
Directed by: David Freidenreich
Telling the Stories of Maine’s Jewish History
Telling the Stories of Maine’s Jewish History seeks to foster new and renewed reflection on Jewish experiences in Maine by sharing Freidenreich’s research, along with that of his students, and by providing Jewish Mainers with opportunities and resources to learn more about their own local heritage. Freidenreich will offer a series of evening programs, more storytelling than lecture, in Jewish communities across the state. In these programs, Freidenreich will offer a framework for recounting the history of Jewish experiences in Maine, illustrating it with anecdotes gleaned from oral histories, and will invite audience members to contribute their own stories to the mosaic. Colby will host a one-day conference on Maine’s Jewish history that will provide opportunities for student, amateur, and professional historians to exchange information about Maine’s Jewish history and place this information in broader historical context. Colby will also host a student-curated exhibition on Maine’s Jewish history (with a web-based component). Student curators will design a curriculum for public school group visits to this exhibit and the collections of the Colby Art Museum on the subject of “Life in Maine”; this program will directly complement the Maine history component of the state curriculum.
College of Charleston
Directed by: Adam Mendelsohn
Jews, Slavery and the Civil War
The Jewish Studies Program at the College of Charleston plans to organize a year of programming to coincide with the sesquicentennial commemoration of the outbreak of the Civil War. Our theme of Jews, Slavery and the Civil War will allow us to examine a variety of larger issues relating to the troubled past of a city that was at once accommodating to Jews and a center of slavery and secessionism. We plan to arrange several guided walking tours of sites in Charleston and its surrounds associated with Jewish slaveholding, a series of public lectures, and a conference in May 2011. We will also engage our students through a project that will involve them in the research and publication of a guide to sites connected with Jews, slavery and the Civil War in historic Charleston. As much as possible, these events will be integrated into the city-wide planning for the anniversary.
Directed by: Andrea Lieber
Hazan Et HaKol: Jewish Perspectives on Food and Environmental Sustainability
|Food sustains the Jewish people in many ways—from the laws of kashrut (dietary laws) to the Passover seder, from bagels and lox to the deli counter, food is an integral part of Jewish religion, culture and history. But, what does Jewish tradition have to say about the relationship between food and environmental sustainability? Where does our food come from and why does it matter? Through the study of Jewish texts from antiquity to the present, our series of programs considers the centrality of food in crafting a Jewish environmental ethic for the 21st Century. Key note events feature a kickoff event with Nigel Savage, founder of HAZON, and a closing session with Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, General Consultant for COEJL and Director of the Baltimore Jewish Environmental Network (BJEN). Through pod-casts and the use of distance learning technology available to us through the Penn State/Dickinson School of Law, our program will be enhanced by opportunities for collaboration with Penn State's LHJSP program.
Pennsylvania State University
Co-directed by: Brian Hesse, Margaret Cohen, and Paula Wapnish
Tend and Sustain It Forever
Modern Jewish food movements, including Jewish farming movements, organizations like Hazon, the development of ethically based kashrut designations, and other topics surrounding Jewish religious and cultural attitudes toward food production, sustainability, and eating practices, are increasingly occupying the minds of Jewish thinkers, theologians, and eaters. Tend and Sustain It Forever will offer a series of workshops, public lectures, and community action events in which Penn State students and faculty connect with members of the wider State College community to engage in discussion, come together in action, and enjoy opportunities to debate, work and eat together. Our location in central Pennsylvania provides a wonderful venue in which to study and then project the traditions and insights born by a small, but vibrant and diverse, local Jewish community into the surrounding rings of towns and farming communities that circle State College, home of Penn State. This series is designed to bridge the “town/gown” divide by encouraging direct interaction among educators, students, community members, religious leaders, and the agricultural community. The structure of Tend and Sustain It Forever reflects our commitment to this goal. Our first events will focus on providing information and education about Biblical and Talmudic issues surrounding Jewish food and food production and will also include a forum for active participation. The series then moves on to address modern Jewish appropriation and re-imagination of ancient traditions, and combines public education with opportunity for in-depth discussion by participants. Concluding the year are two capstone events which focus on community action. The field trip to a Jewish farm and the community meal are designed to be opportunities for students and community members to put the many Jewish traditions explored throughout the year to work in a real and physical way.
|University at Albany, SUNY
Directed by: Barry Trachtenberg
Jewish Renegades in the Arts
|The University at Albany, SUNY’s Legacy Heritage Jewish Studies Project series, Jewish Renegades in the Arts, combines lectures, book discussions, film screenings, and presentations on music and graphic arts, all of which demonstrate how Jewish artists have explored themes of rebellion, self-doubt, and the creative impulses that emerge from challenging the status quo. The program, which capitalizes on the strengths of Judaic Studies faculty members in modern literature, theatre, and film, looks at iconic as well as lesser-known artistic figures and phenomena as they challenge conventional wisdom, Jewish tradition, and societal norms. Individual programs include film screenings and discussions of Jewish jazz singers and leading men, book discussions on Philip Roth and other contemporary writers, and presentations on Yiddish drama, Jewish graphic novels, and the music of Ugandan Jews.
Michigan State University
Directed by: Kirsten Fermaglich
Telling Family Stories: Jews, Genealogy, and History
Ethnic Americans—including Jews—are always telling family stories, in literature, in memoir, in film and in television, in family trees, and around the kitchen table. What do these stories mean? How do they help Americans understand their community, their ethnic identities, and their origins? And how are these stories related to the academic study of families? The program, “Telling Family Stories,” will explore the intersections between personal family stories as they are understood by members of the Jewish community (and other ethnic and religious communities), and academic research in the fields of history, anthropology, sociology, and literature. The program will provide a venue for productive dialogue between academics who study Jewish families and Jewish history and laypeople interested in exploring their own personal family histories. Programming features: a keynote speech from Sallyann Sacks, the founding editor of Avotaynu, the journal of Jewish genealogy; a conversation with novelist Faye Moskowitz, whose novels explore the intricacies of Jewish family relationships; and a hands-on seminar with Randy Riley, the genealogy librarian at the Library of Michigan.
University of Colorado at Boulder
Directed by: David Shneer
Jewish Visual Culture in Boulder and Beyond
CU’s Jewish Studies program has a cluster of faculty working in visual culture, and as a field in the arts and humanities, visual studies is booming. CU just opened a new $63 million Visual Arts Complex, the art history program is applying to become a Ph.D. granting program, and digital media is expanding. Jewish Studies needs to be at the forefront of this revolution in the humanities. To that end, Jewish Studies is creating a program in Jewish visual culture, done jointly with the CU Art and Art History department and the CU Art Museum and will also work with Jewish communal organizations in Boulder looking to the university for leadership on questions of Jewish culture. The project will include Shneer’s exhibition on Soviet Jewish photographers and the talks by CU Faculty Davide Stimilli (Art of Aby Warburg) and Robert Adler Peckerar (Photography of the Polish Yiddish Press). The year-long project will highlight the scholarly work CU Jewish Studies faculty are doing in visual studies as well as bring the work of artist Jewlia Eisenberg (The Bowls Project) to Boulder. Jewish Visual Culture will literally and figuratively be put at the center of the campus and the community’s conversation about the visual.
University of Washington
Directed by: Noam Pianko
Community Building 2.0: Visions of Justice in the Jewish Tradition
As a tech-savvy city, Seattleites are rarely seen in public without a smartphone, iPad or netbook. Tapping into this new style of communication and inter-personal engagement, the Stroum Jewish Studies Program at the University of Washington proposes the creation of innovative and engaging public programs supported by a blog. The blog would serve as the magnet for this population to participate in learning about Judaism and discussing the Jewish world. Once connected with the blog, followers will receive invitations to come together with top scholars from UW and around the nation to engage in sophisticated conversations on topics of interest. The Program views this project as a way to advance its mission of contributing to the vitality of the community and sharing its scholarship through innovative means.
Each year, the blog will be managed by one to two faculty members who will select an annual theme with input from the blogging community. The theme will be featured on the blog and carried through in all associated public programming. For the first year, the theme will be “Visions of Justice in the Jewish Tradition.” Public programs and on-line content will raise important questions about the meaning of Justice in the Jewish tradition. Potential topics include, “Local and Global Justice: Does Judaism Distinguish?,” “Service, Justice, and Activism: Is there a difference,” and “Building a Just Seattle: How Can We Transform our Community?”
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Co-directed by Joel Berkowitz and Lisa Silverman
Jewish Roots and Restlesness: Jewish Lives at Home and Abroad
The LHJSP series at the Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, aims to explore the roots of many local community members in both the United States and Europe, and then branch out to cover a wider geographic area in the second year of programming. The first year's programs include lectures by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee faculty on such topics as “the Austrian Dreyfus Affair” and FDR's relationship with American Jews; a lecture and presentation on how the simulated world Second Life is being used to explore the Holocaust; and a staged reading of a new translation of a Yiddish play by Kadya Molodowsky. From beyond the campus, Henry Sapoznik will give audiences a guided tour of how the series theme played out in American Yiddish music and on the radio, and writer Lev Raphael will read from and discuss his memoir, My Germany: A Jewish Writer Returns to the World His Parents Escaped.
Upcoming 2012-13 Programs
College of Charleston
Project Director: Adam Mendelsohn
Jews and Social Justice
College of Charleston's theme, Jews and Social Justice, allows the exploration of a variety of contemporary ethical issues and moral concerns that confront contemporary Jews: gay rights within the Jewish community, Jewish responses to immigration reform, Jews and the environmental movement, and social inequality within Israel. College of Charleston sees its events -- lectures, seminars, and an exhibit -- as an exercise in consciousness-raising and public education, and as an opportunity to court a constituency that rarely engages with Jewish life in Charleston, establish new and more varied partnerships with groups on campus and within the community, and refocus their attention from a divisive history to contemporary concerns.
Project Director: Andrea Lieber
SIPPUR: Telling Jewish Stories Through the Arts
Jews love to tell stories. While this passion for the narrative arts may have started with the Torah, it certainly didn't stop there. This series features an interdisciplinary mix of experts to explore the process of Jewish storytelling through the cultural arts of performance, literature, theatre, music, TV, and film.
Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA
Project Director: Jessica Cooperman, Posen Post-Doctoral Fellow, Religious Studies
Jews, Money, and the Development of Industrial Capitalism
This program will focus on the complex relationship between Jews and economic life. Through events ranging from lectures and classes, to film screenings at local theaters and coffee shop discussion groups, the program will examine the theme from both local and international perspectives. Muhlenberg College is located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, a city which offers rich examples of the changing ways that capitalism, industrialism, and economic booms and busts shape and reshape communities. Using a combination of local academic expertise and invited speakers, Mulhenberg aims to create a community-wide discussion of the connectionsóboth real and imaginedóbetween Jews, money, and the development of modern industrial capitalism. The series promises to create dynamic partnerships with on and off campus co-sponsors and venues, including the Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding, the 19th Street Theater, The Wise Bean Coffee Shop, The Steel Stacks Art Center, several synagogues, the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley, the JCC of Allentown, as well as the History, English, Business, and Economic Departments (to name a few).
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville,
Beyond the Holocaust
Project Director: Jennifer M. Hoyer, Assistant Professor, German Studies & Philosophy
Beyond the Holocaust will address the dearth of Jewish-related programming in Northwest Arkansas. Legacy Heritage funding will enable the University to produce the Northwest Arkansas Holocaust Education Conference, a critical event for a state which does not mandate or recommend the teaching of the Holocaust in K-12 curricula. Additional programming over the year will include film screenings, lectures and colloquiums on Jewish life and culture in various countries and time periods, and weekend Yiddish and Hebrew workshops. The events will be tied directly to two courses, and additional faculty plan to build the courses into their syllabi. Extensive outreach is planned and intended to reach students, faculty, community members, youth, and families--both Jewish and non-Jewish. Affiliated organizations include The Multicultural Center, the OMNI Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology, the OSHER Center for Continuing Education, The Jewish Federation of Arkansas, and Temple Shalom.
University of Mississippi
Project Director: Willa Johnson, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Intertwining Legacies: A Lecture Series on Jews and African-Americans in the Deep South
This project features four events focusing on aspects of Jewish and African-American history. Three of the four events will feature guest lecturers who will explore various aspects of the legacy of anti-Semitism and racism in the Deep South, as well as the relationship between Jews and African-Americans. Lectures will be followed the day after by panel discussions with the featured guest speaker and two faculty members or community workers familiar with the subject. All events will include a question and answer period followed by a reception so that students and community members may have the opportunity to pose questions, engage in dialogue, and form new connections within the community. The final event, a panel discussion, will feature Shoah survivors and African-American World War II veterans.
University of Pittsburgh
Director: Adam Shear, Director, Jewish Studies Program
Squirrel Hill, the Jewish Community of Pittsburgh, and American Urban History
Squirrel Hill is one of Pittsburgh's most dynamic urban neighborhoods, with a vibrant business district and a stable population. Squirrel Hill is anomalous in that as a 1920s-era Jewish neighborhood, it has remained the center of Pittsburgh's Jewish population into the 21st centuryówhile so many urban Jewish communities have scattered due to urban blight. This project aims to explore the history of the Pittsburgh Jewish community, the history of Squirrel Hill in particular, and larger patterns in Pittsburgh's history, and in American Jewish and urban history. Events marry the subject matter with myriad creative formats. The proposed schedule includes neighborhood walking tours, a presentation and hand-on workshop at the Ruah Jewish archives, film screenings, and a potential exhibit on the history of Jewish Pittsburgh. In coordination with the Agency for Jewish Learning and the Rauh Jewish Archives, the material from this series will be incorporated into a curriculum on local Jewish history for K-12 day and supplemental schools. In addition, the University has a savvy marketing and outreach plan in place which includes creating podcasts of the events which help make the programming accessible to a wider audience.
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