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2005 Tenenbaum Lecture

Professor Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi
“Servants of Kings and Not Servants of Servants:
Some Aspects of the Political History of the Jews”

March 3, 2005, 7:30 PM
Reception Hall of the Michael C. Carlos Museum

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Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi is Salo Wittmayer Baron Professor of Jewish History, Culture and Society and director of the Center for Israel and Jewish Studies at Columbia University.  A native of New York City, he received his Ph.D. under the direction of Salo Baron at Columbia in l966.  For the next fourteen years he taught at Harvard University, where he rose to become Jacob E. Safra Professor of Jewish History and Sephardic Civilization and chairman of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.  He has taught at Columbia since 1980.

Yerushalmi has written extensively on the history of Spanish and Portuguese Jewry both before and after the Expulsion.  He is one of the very few historians of Jewry whose scholarly interests range from medieval through modern times, and in that sense is truly Baron’s successor at Columbia. (Baron was Miller Professor of Jewish History, Literature and Institutions at Columbia, the first chair in Jewish history to be established at a secular university in the Western world, and author of the seventeen-volume Social and Religious History of the Jews, which covers ancient through modern times.)

Yerushalmi’s research focuses particularly on the Sephardi diaspora, nineteenth and twentieth century German Jewry, Jewish history-writing, and psychoanalysis.  He is the author of From Spanish Court to Italian Ghetto (1971), Haggadah and History (1975), The Lisbon Massacre of 1506 and the Royal Image in the Shebet Yehudah (1976), Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory (1982), Freud’s Moses: Judaism Terminable and Interminable (1991), Ein Feld in Anathoth (1993), and Sefardica: Essais sur l’histoire des juifs hispano-portugais (1998). His book on Freud occasioned a response from the philosopher Jacques Derrida in his book Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression (1995), and Yerushalmi and Derrida appeared publicly together in dialogue in 1997 on the subject of Freud’s Jewish identity. Zakhor, which began as the Samuel and Althea Stroum lectures at the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1980, is one of the most widely read and assigned works in Jewish history and is credited with bringing a generation of students to the study of Jewish history as well as Jewish historical representation, consciousness of time, narrative and tradition, and the role of history-writing in Jewish identity.

In 1998, Yerushalmi’s students published a festschrift dedicated to him, Jewish History and Jewish Memory: Essays in Honor of Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi (eds. Elisheva Carlebach, John M. Efron, and David N. Myers). David Ruderman ( University of Pennsylvania) called the book “a loving and elegant tribute to [Yerushalmi’s] intellectual and pedagogic achievements” (Jewish History 14 [2000]: 109). The festschrift contains contributions by twenty-three scholars, most of them his students, among them the most important historians of Jewish culture in North America, Europe, and Israel.

Yerushalmi’s books have been translated into eight languages, including Japanese and Hungarian. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy for Jewish Research and an honorary member of the Portuguese Academy of History in Lisbon.  In 1976 he was awarded the Newman Medal for Distinguished Achievement by the City University of New York.  He has been a Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities, a Rockefeller Fellow in the Humanities, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Fellow of the Carl Friedrich von Siemens Foundation in Munich.  From 1987 to 1991 he was president of the Leo Baeck Institute in New York, the major research center for the study of the history of Jewry in the German speaking lands.  Professor Yerushalmi has also taught an annual seminar at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He has received the National Jewish Book Award twice.  In 1995 he was presented with the medal of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture in recognition of his achievements as a historian.  He is the recipient of six honorary doctorates, among them from the University of Haifa, Israel; the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich; and most recently from the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Sorbonne) in Paris.

Faculty/Student Seminar:
“Jewish History and the History of the Jews
On the Question of Myth as a Historical Force”

In addition to his public lecture, Professor Yerushalmi will be giving a seminar for Emory faculty and students on Friday, March 4, from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm in the J.W. Jones Room of Woodruff Library (new location). To reserve your place and lunch, RSVP to rerubin@emory.edu.

This lecture is sponsored by:

The Rabbi Donald A. Tam Institute for Jewish Studies
and The Hightower Fund

With generous cosponsorship from:

Emory University's
Department of History
Department of Political Science
Department of Religion
Graduate Division of Religion (GDR)
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Institute for Comparative and International Studies (ICIS)

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Last updated: February 19, 2008

 

 

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