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Visiting Scholar Profiles

 Every year CJS brings award-winning scholars, authors, film-makers, poets, artists, and performers to campus. Below are profiles for some of our most recent visitors and upcoming visitors.

Leora F. Batnitzky
May 21-22, 2014

About the scholar
Leora BatnitzkyLeora F. Batnitzky is the Ronald O. Perelman Professor of Jewish Studies, and is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Princeton University.

Leora's teaching and research interests include philosophy of religion, modern Jewish thought, hermeneutics, and contemporary legal and political theory. In 2002 she received Princeton's President's Award for Distinguished Teaching. She is the author of Idolatry and Representation: The Philosophy of Franz Rosenzweig Reconsidered (Princeton, 2000), Leo Strauss and Emmanuel Levinas: Philosophy and the Politics of Revelation (Cambridge, 2006), and How Judaism Became a Religion: An Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought (Princeton, 2011). Her current book project, tentatively titled "Conversion Before the Law: How Religion and Law Shape Each Other in the Modern World," focuses on a number of contemporary legal cases concerning religious conversion in the U.S., Great Britain, Israel, and India. She is also currently completing an edited volume for the Brandeis Library of Modern Jewish Thought on modern Judaism and legal theory. She is co-editor, with Peter Schäfer, of Jewish Studies Quarterly. Professor Batnitzky is the Director of Princeton's Tikvah Project on Jewish Thought, and she currently serves as Chair of the Department of Religion.

Paul Franks
May 20-21, 2014

About the Scholar
Paul FranksPaul Franks is a Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy at Yale University.

Paul's areas of focus include Kant, German Idealism, Post-Kantian Analytic Philosophy, Neo-Kantianism and Phenomenology, Jewish Philosophy, Early Modern Philosophy, Metaphysics and Epistemology, and the Philosophy of the Human Sciences.

He is the author of many publications on themes in Jewish Philosophy, including: All or Nothing: Systematicity, Transcendental Arguments, and Skepticism in German Idealism (Cambridge: Harvard University Press 2005); Franz Rosenzweig: Philosophical and Theological Writings (with Michael L. Morgan) (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 2000); "Divided by Common Sense: Mendelssohn and Jacobi on Reason and Inferential Justification," in Moses Mendelssohn's Metaphysics and Aesthetics, ed. Reinier Munk (Dordrecht: Springer 2011), 203-215; and "Inner Anti-Semitism or Kabbalistic Legacy? German Idealism's Relationship to Judaism," in Yearbook of German Idealism, Volume VII, Faith and Reason, eds. Fred Rush, Jürgen Stolzenberg and Paul Franks (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2010), 254-279.

Elias Sacks
May 21, 2014

About the Scholar
Eli SacksElias Sacks is Assistant Professor in Religious Studies and Jewish Studies at University of Colorado, Boulder.

Elias works on Jewish tradition, religious thought, and theories and methods in the study of religion. A graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he received his MA in Religion from Columbia University and his PhD in Religion from Princeton University (2012).

His research focuses on the early modern and modern periods, with particular interest in Jewish thought, Jewish-Christian relations, philosophy of religion, religion and politics, hermeneutics, and religious ethics. His current project explores the conception of Jewish practice in the Hebrew and German writings of Moses Mendelssohn, the 18th century philosopher generally seen as the founder of modern Jewish thought. Sacks served as a translator for a new English edition of Mendelssohn's writings (Brandeis University Press) which was a finalist for the 2011 National Jewish Book Award. He is currently working as a translator for a collection of works by the German-Jewish thinker Hermann Cohen (Brandeis University Press).

Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg
November 3-5, 2013

About the scholar
Rabbi Sheila WeinbergRabbi Weinberg has served in multiple capacities in the Jewish community – including Hillel director, day school teacher and community relations professional. She is a 1986 graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and has served as a congregational rabbi for seventeen years, including thirteen years at the Jewish Community of Amherst.

In the last twenty- three years Rabbi Weinberg has studied mindfulness. She has introduced meditation into the Jewish world as a form that can enliven and illuminate Jewish practice, ideas and community.
She teaches mindfulness meditation and yoga in a Jewish idiom to lay persons, rabbis, cantors and other Jewish professionals and is a senior teacher and director of community outreach of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, a retreat based program for Jewish leaders (jewishspirituality.org). She also serves as a spiritual director to rabbis, cantors and educators across the USA. She is developer and co-director of the Jewish Mindfulness Teachers' Training.

Weinberg has written extensively on a variety of subjects including Jewish spirituality, social justice, feminism and parenting. She is a major contributor to the Kol Haneshamah prayer book series. Her CD, Preparing the Heart: Meditation for Jewish Spiritual Practice integrates Jewish sacred text and meditation. Her first book, Surprisingly Happy: An Atypical Religious Memoir was published in 2010.

STEPHEN D. SMITH
October 27, 2013

About the scholar
Dr. Stephen SmithDr. Smith will speak at the 11th Annual Fred Marcus Memorial Holocaust Lecture on the use of emerging technologies by the Shoah Foundation to help optimize testimonies as an educational resource. Dr. Smith writes in the Summer 2012 PastForward digest: "[There] are as many programmers, network specialists, and education technologists working within the Institute as there are historians, social scientists, or experts in the humanities. But technology is not an end itself. What's really interesting is how the content of the testimonies is being optimized, through emerging technologies and new media, to become the worldwide educational resource it was always intended to be."

A theologian by training, Dr. Smith has a particular interest in the impact of the Holocaust on religious and philosophical thought and practice. He wrote his dissertation on the "Trajectory of Memory," examining how Holocaust survivor narrative—and in particular, visual history—has developed over time and shapes the way in which the implications of the Holocaust are understood. He founded the UK Holocaust Centre in Nottinghamshire, England and cofounded the Aegis Trust for the prevention of crimes against humanity and genocide. He was also the inaugural Chairman of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, which runs the National Holocaust Memorial Day in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Smith is involved in memorial projects around the world. He was the project director responsible for the creation of the Kigali Memorial Centre in Rwanda and provided consultation for the Cape Town Holocaust Centre, where he still serves as a trustee. He is also a member of the National Advisory Panel for the Corporation of Public Broadcasting's American Archive Content Inventory Project, whose goal is to establish a digital repository to preserve and distribute both public television and public radio content after it has been broadcast.

MIRI TALMON
October 11-13, 2013

About the scholar
Miri TalmonDr. Talmon is the Keynote Speaker for the 2013 Hebrew Seminar. Miri Talmon is a scholar of media culture, cinema, and television, who specializes in Israeli cultural history and comparative approaches to Israeli and American cultures. She has lectured at The Open University of Israel, Tel-Aviv University (Department of Film and Television), The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Department of Communication and Journalism), and Haifa University (Department of Communication), and in the United States: University of Miami, FL; Florida Atlantic University, FL; Wesleyan University, CT, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI, and The Jewish Theological Seminary in NY.

Talmon's Ph. D. was awarded by The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Communication and Journalism, her B.A and M.A by Tel-Aviv University (Linguistics, Comparative Literature, Film and Television). She is the author of Israeli Graffiti: Nostalgia, Groups and Collective Identity in Israeli Cinema, which was published by Haifa University Press and The Open University Press in 2001. She is the editor, with Yaron Peleg, of the anthology "Israeli Cinema- Identities in Motion", published in 2011 by the University of Texas Press.
Talmon's research focuses on popular media culture-both in the Israeli and American contexts, mostly film and television, on identity politics in the media and on representations of cultural history in the media and the arts.

Presently teaching at Tel Aviv University, Department of Film and Television, graduate program, where she specializes in television research and theory. As Head of the Communication and Film Studies Program at the Nazareth Academic Institute, Dr. Talmon brings to her work an ardent faith in a vision of academic studies which facilitate the encounter among students from diverse communities in Israeli society. She is working towards an exemplary school of communication and film production, in which creativity and excellence go in tandem with tolerance, multicultural diversity and idealistic commitment of all faculty and students to peace, intellectual open mindedness and tolerance.

SHMUEL BOLOZKY
October 11-13, 2013

About the scholar
Shmuel BolozkyProfessor Bolozky will be presenting at the 2013 Hebrew Seminar. Shmuel Bolozky is Professor of Hebrew at the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he has been on the faculty since 1978 and where he previously served as chairperson between 1985-90, 1995-98 and 2010-12. Since 2005, he has also been serving as Assistant Dean of Advising at the UMass College of Humanities and Fine Arts. He taught linguistics at Tel Aviv University (1972-1978), and Hebrew Linguistics – as a Visiting Professor – at the Hebrew departments of Ben-Gurion University, the Hebrew University, and Tel Aviv University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Linguistics in 1972.

Professor Bolozky's specializations are in the areas of phonology (sound systems of languages) and morphology (word formation) in general, and in Modern Hebrew phonology and morphology in particular. He is also interested in the application of linguistic methodology to the teaching of Hebrew as a foreign language. Professor Bolozky is the author of a book on word formation in Israeli Hebrew, Measuring Productivity in Word Formation: the Case of Israeli Hebrew, Leiden: Brill, 1999, a textbook, Barron's 501 Hebrew Verbs, 1996, A Reference Grammar of Modern Hebrew, 2005, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (co-author), and a number of chapters in books, mostly on Hebrew and Semitic linguistics. His articles and reviews have appeared in Hebrew Studies, Hebrew Linguistics, Afroasiatic Linguistics, Journal of Higher Hebrew Education, Shofar, Mehqarim Be-Lashon, Lashon Ve-'ivrit, The Modern Language Journal, Hebrew Annual Review, Hed Ha-'ulpan, Al-'arabiyya, Zeitschrift für arabische Linguistik, Linguistic Analysis, Journal of Linguistics, Linguistic Inquiry, Glossa, and a number of festschrifts.

Professor Bolozky has been serving on the editorial boards of a number of journals related to Hebrew Language and Jewish Studies – Hebrew Studies, Shofar, Journal of Higher Hebrew Education – and as President of the National Association of Professors of Hebrew (NAPH). He has also been a member of the Program Committee of the NAPH's annual International Conference on Hebrew Language and Literature since 1993, and serves as the Associate Director for Hebrew at the National Middle East Language Resource Center (headquarters: Brigham Young University).

VARDIT RINGVALD
October 11-13, 2013

About the scholar
Vardit RingvaldDr. Ringvald will be presenting at the 2013 Hebrew Seminar. Effective July 1, 2013, Dr. Ringvald will become the Director of the Middlebury-Hebrew at the Center Institute for the Advancement of the Hebrew Language. The new institute will fill a critical gap in the field of Hebrew language instruction, developing graduate degree and other programs, advancing research and promoting professional development in the field.
Professor Vardit Ringvald holds a Ph.D. in Education from Lesley College, specializing in Second Language Acquisition in Higher Education. She is currently the Senior Academic Advisor at Hebrew at the Center and has just concluded nearly three decades at Brandeis University, most recently as the Director of the Hebrew Language Program. In addition, she is the Director of the Brandeis-Middlebury School of Hebrew in Vermont (Brandeis Summer Institute), which she established in 2007 and also oversees a new joint Brandeis-Middlebury study abroad program based on her curriculum which has recently begun at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Dr. Ringvald is an expert in the application of the proficiency approach to foreign language instruction and the development of competency-based curriculum for teaching Modern Hebrew in all educational settings, implementing authentic materials and methods for integrating Hebrew culture into the class room at all levels. She is approved by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) to administer their Hebrew Speaking Test and consults to a variety of Hebrew language programs. Dr. Ringvald also served as the chairperson of the SAT II for Hebrew and willingly offers her expertise to numerous associations and institutions. Dr. Ringvald is a founding board member of JCDS, Boston's Jewish Community Day School.

Along with her colleagues, she published Brandeis Modern Hebrew, Vol. 1, which instantly became the standard college Hebrew language textbook in the United States. Vol. 2 was published in June, 2013. "You don't get a person who is tabula rasa – you have to understand the characteristics of the students," Ringvald says. "Learning a language opens a door to understanding themselves a little better. The language becomes part of who they are. Language is not about grammar, it's about the person."

YAAKOV LEVI
October 11-13, 2013

About the scholar
Yaakov LeviDr. Levi will be presenting at the 2013 Hebrew Seminar. Dr. Yaakov Levi is Professor of Hebrew and Biblical Studies. He received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Haifa and his Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg (magna cum laude). He was for many years the director of the Academy of the Hebrew Language in Haifa and taught at the University of Haifa, the University of Heidelberg, Carleton College, and the University of Minnesota.

He has published many books and articles in his fields of interest - Hebrew Language, Biblical studies, and Jewish education. He is the author of Die Inkongruenz im biblischen Hebräisch (Disagreement in Biblical Hebrew); Blessing and Cursing in the Hebrew Bible; Analysis of Hebrew Nouns and Adjectives by Structure; Unesco Thesaurus, A Hebrew Structured List of Descriptors for Indexing and Retrieving Literature in the Fields of Education, Science, Culture and Communication; An Analytical Linguistic Key-Word-in-Context Concordance to the Book of Exodus (in collaboration with Y.T. Radday); Energy Terminology - An English-Hebrew Glossary; and others.

MENACHEM MOR
Schusterman Visiting Israeli Professor for 2011-13

About the scholar
Dr. Menachem MorSpecializing in ancient Jewish history during the Second Temple Period, Dr. Mor's research is devoted to the political history of the period and the social structure of the population of the Land of Israel.

Focusing on the history of the Second Temple, Mishnaic, and Talmudic periods, Mor has written many scholarly articles and books on the many diverse religious and ethno-cultural groups that lived in the Land of Israel during these times. His book From Samaria to Shechem: The Samaritan Sect in the Ancient Period deals with the Samaritans and their role in the ancient world.

He is also the author of The Bar-Kochva Revolt—Its Extent and Effect, a comprehensive (and classic) study of the Jewish Revolts in the Ancient world.

He has also published bibliographical collections (with Uriel Rappaport) covering the extensive works on the Second Temple Period and numerous articles in the field of ancient Jewish history.

Mor has been active in the University of Haifa's academic administration, having served as a member or chairman of a series of councils and committees over the past decade. He also headed the Center of Research of Eretz Israel Studies and Its Yishuv of Yad Ben-Zvi and the University of Haifa.

Outside the University, he is a member of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature, as well as a member of the board of the Journal of Jewish History and a member of the World Organization of Jewish Studies.

Education
PhD, Hebrew University in Jerusalem
University of Haifa

NATHAN ENGLANDER
February 27, 2013

About the scholar
Nathan Englander

Nathan Englander, one of America's finest writers, was awarded the prestigious Frank O'Connor Award in 2012 for his collection, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank."

Last year also saw the publication of his widely admired translation of the narrative of the biblical Exodus in "The New American Haggadah" (2012).

Most recently, Englander translated several stories by contemporary Israeli author Etgar Keret, in "Suddenly, a Knock at the Door" (2012).

PIERRE SAUVAGE
Oct. 28, 2012
Varian Fry Institute

About the scholar
Pierre SauvageEmmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Pierre Sauvage is a child survivor of the Holocaust and a child of Holocaust survivors. He is best known for his highly acclaimed 1989 feature-documentary, Weapons of the Spirit, which chronicles the "conspiracy of goodness" that occurred during the Holocaust in his birthplace of Le Chambon, France.

He is the president and founder of the Chambon Foundation/Varian Fry Institute, which was the first nonprofit educational foundation committed to exploring and communicating the necessary and challenging lessons of hope intertwined with the Holocaust's unavoidable lessons of despair.

His current efforts are focused on what he believes is the underexplored American experience of the Holocaust. His documentary Not Idly By—Peter Bergson, America and the Holocaust was released in 2012. And Crown Thy Good: Varian Fry in Marseille will be released in 2013.

 

DANIEL MATT
Oct. 21, 2012

About the scholar
Daniel MattDaniel C. Matt served as professor of Jewish spirituality at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley from 1979-2000. He has taught at Stanford University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

He is one of the world's leading authorities on Kabbalah. He has published 10 books, including: Zohar: The Book of Enlightenment, The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism (translated into seven languages), and God and the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony between Science and Spirituality.

After living in Jerusalem for four years, Matt returned to the East Bay, where he continues to work on the immense project of translating and annotating Sefer ha-Zohar, the masterpiece of Kabbalah. So far, he has completed six volumes of The Zohar: Pritzker Edition (Stanford University Press), covering approximately half of the Zohar.

For this work, Matt has been honored with a National Jewish Book Award and a Koret Jewish Book Award. The Koret award called his translation "a monumental contribution to the history of Jewish thought."

Matt has been featured in TIME magazine, and has appeared on National Public Radio and the History Channel. He lives in Berkeley with his wife, Hana.

BERNARDO KONONOVICH
Oct. 17, 2012

About the scholar
Dr. Bernardo Kononovich is a teacher in Jewish culture who has taught various seminars for Jewish teachers within the academic department at the Jewish community of Buenos Aires (Vaad Hachinuch).

Kononovich has oriented his clinical practice to treat psychotic patients in public hospitals and mental health hubs. He is a pioneer in community therapeutic approaches using group techniques and psychodrama.

He is the author of several books related to psychotherapeutic assistance in public assistance organizations. These books include: Communitarian Psychodrama with Psychotic Patients, The Institutional Scene, The Body in the Institutional Clinic and many articles published in specialized magazines.

He started his cinematographic career in Buenos Aires in 1984, completing four fiction short films between 1986 and 1988. He also directed and produced six documentary testimonial videos by 1991 related to Human Rights—focusing on the victims of the Holocaust (Shoah) and of the military dictatorship in Argentina. He researched and captured subjects' stories, including the effects of government-led terror in victims, their children, and grandchildren, and the difficulties of grief when the remains of the deceased are destroyed or lost.

Education
PhD, clinical psychology, Belgrano University, Buenos Aires City
MA, psychology, University of Buenos Aires

NANCY STOCKDALE
Oct. 10, 2012
University of North Texas, History Department

About the scholar
Nancy StockdaleIn Dr. Nancy Stockdale's first book, Colonial Encounters Among English and Palestinian Women, 1800-1948 (University Press of Florida, 2007), she engaged Middle Eastern and British history, gender studies, and postcolonial studies, and argued that relationships that developed between English and Palestinian women in the context of travel and missionary work were part of a hierarchical imperialist order than placed Europeans above Middle Easterners.

This was due to British women's abilities to shape native society through their widely-disseminated representations, as well as social and religious institutions that promoted denigrating images of Arabs and Jews—which in turn reinforced the inequities of British and Ottoman imperialism.

She is currently writing a new book (under advance contract with the University Press of Florida), Staging the Middle East: Amusement and Knowledge in Great Britain and the United States, 1851-2001.

In this book, Stockdale examines the ways Middle Eastern peoples, religions, and cultures were presented to American and British audiences in the context of amusement facilities—particularly World's Fairs, museum exhibitions and amusement parks.

Her book is innovative because it not only reveals recurring tropes about the Middle East found in these venues, but because it engages directly with Middle Eastern curators who actively fought against essentialist stereotypes of their societies—and who created entertainments for U.S. and U.K. audiences that sought to correct traditional Western narratives about their nations.

ROY HOROVITZ
April 26, 2012

About the scholar
Roy HorovitzRoy Horovitz is a graduate of the Nisan Nativ Acting Studio and the Drama Department in Tel-Aviv University, where he earned an MA and BA with distinction. From 1994-1998, he was awarded scholarships from the America-Israel Culture Fund in recognition of his achievements.
Horovitz has performed many roles for various theaters (including My First Sony—a one-man show by Benny Barbash—The TimeKeepers and Volunteer Man, by Dan Clacy (in both Hebrew and English), and has been awarded "Best Actor" at the International Children and Youth Festival, Haifa, in 1997, and again in 2011 (for Volunteer Man).
He also won the Best Director Award in 2011, for Pollard's Trial (The Cameri Theatre, Tel-Aviv). He has directed a succession of critically acclaimed productions, which were performed throughout Israel (including Not About Nightingales, by Tennessee Williams, Distracted, by Lisa Loomer, Rabbit Hole, by David Lindsay-Abaire, and Beyond Therapy, by Christopher Durang).

Horovitz is also a lecturer of play analysis and theater history at Tel Aviv and Haifa universities, and between 2004-2009, he was the dramaturg and artistic consultant of Beer-Sheva Municipal Theatre.

In 2011, he was appointed artistic director of the Municipal Theatre in Kiryat Shmona. He recently directed Neither by Day, Nor by Night, an Israeli classic, for the HaBima Theater, aka, the National Theatre of Israel.

ARI FOLMAN
April 19, 2012

About the scholar
Ari FolmanAri Folman is an award-winning Israeli director and filmmaker.

His animated documentary Waltz With Bashir won the 2009 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, the Los Angeles Critics Film Association Award and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. Waltz With Bashir was also published as a graphic novel by McMillan in 2009.

His first feature film, Saint Clara (1996), won seven Israeli Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Film, and received the People's Choice Award at the Berlin Film Festival.

Folman has also written for several Israeli TV series, including the award-winning "B'tipul," the basis for the acclaimed HBO series "In Treatment."

His current feature film project, The Congress, blends live action and animation, and stars Robin Wright.