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Welcome to The Rabbi Donald A. Tam Institute for Jewish Studies

welcome imageThe establishment of Emory University’s Institute for Jewish Studies in February 1999 gave institutional recognition to the university’s strength in the study of Jewish life and culture, and signaled Emory’s intention to become the premier site for Jewish Studies in the southeastern United States.

Dedicated to fostering the continued development of Jewish studies on the Emory campus, the Institute for Jewish Studies is the natural outgrowth of carefully laid groundwork. In recent years, Jewish Studies has flourished, as evidenced by new faculty appointments, including endowed chairs, new graduate and undergraduate degree programs, endowed lecture series, and enrichment funds to support student and faculty travel and study.

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Faculty Highlights

We are proud to hear that TIJS affiliated faculty member Joseph Skibell's book A Blessing on the Moon has been selected as one of the 100 must-read works of Jewish fiction. See here for the full list.

Holocaust American UnderstandingCongratulations to Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies, on the publication of her latest book, Holocaust: An American Understanding, volume 7 of the Rutgers University Press series Keywords in Jewish Studies.

Never BetterCongratulations to Miriam Udel, Associate Professor of Yiddish and Jewish Studies, on the publication of her first book, Never Better: The Modern Jewish Picaresque, just released by the University of Michigan Press.

The movie trailer has been released for "Denial," a feature film due out this Fall that recounts TIJS professor Deborah Lipstadt's internationally publicized legal battle against a British Holocaust denier.

Read the Emory Report article

View the trailer


Actor Rachel Weisz and Emory professor Deborah Lipstadt on the set of "Denial."
Photo by Liam Daniel/Bleecker Street.

Twenty-first century technology is playing a role in uncovering 8th century BCE culture at this summer's dig at Tell Halif, Israel, led by TIJS core faculty member Oded Borowski and with the participation of Emory undergraduates partially funded by TIJS.

Tell Halif aerial

Follow Professor Borowski's blog at

Deborah Lipstadt's internationally publicized legal battle against a Holocaust denier is the subject of the new feature film "Denial." Producers Russ Krasnoff and Gary Foster, director Mick Jackson, and a film crew transformed the Quad into a temporary movie set to capture exterior shots of the campus for the final scenes of the film.

Based upon Lipstadt's acclaimed 2005 memoir, History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier, the film stars Academy Award-winning actress Rachel Weisz as Lipstadt, two-time Academy Award-nominee Tom Wilkinson as her British barrister, and Timothy Spall as Holocaust denier David Irving.

Lipstadt and Blumenthals
Lipstadt (center) poses with Professor David and Mrs. Blumenthal, who played extras in the shooting of "Denial" on the Emory campus, February 2016.

Read about the Emory film shoot and more in the Emory Report.

Related: Watch video of Professor Lipstadt testifying at the Oxford Union "in favor of the proposition that Holocaust denial should not be criminalized in the 21st century."

David King of IsraelJacob Wright has been presented with the 2015 Nancy Lapp Popular Book Award for his most recent book, David, King of Israel, and Caleb in Biblical Memory (2014, Cambridge University Press), by The American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR). The prize is awarded to the author of a book that offers “a new synthesis of archaeological data intended to reach a broad audience of scholars, students, and the general public.”

Wright’s book also received an honorable mention in the theology and religious studies category at the 2015 PROSE Awards, administered by the Association of American Publishers to recognize excellence in professional and scholarly publishing that emphasizes pioneering research.

Find more information here and here.

In addition, Professor Wright has been awarded a grant from the Templeton Foundation that allows his participation in a philosophy research group at Jerusalem's Herzl Institute.

Yeglin book coverOfra Yeglin’s book, Restless Shards: The Sources of Abba Kovner's Poetics, which is in Hebrew with an English abstract, was just published by Ha-kibutz Ha-meuchad Publishing House. If you would like to see it, there is a copy in the TIJS office that will be placed in our display case.

Ellie Schainker has been awarded a Visiting Fellowship in Jewish Studies from the Yad Hanadiv Foundation. The fellowship will allow Ellie to spend a year in Israel to work on her new project on Jewish religious reform in Imperial Russia.

We are very proud to announce that Brill has published the new book David R. Blumenthal: Living with God and Humanity, edited by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Aaron W. Hughes and the 7th book in the series "Library of Contemporary Jewish Philosophers." The book includes a wonderful introductory chapter, "David R. Blumenthal: An Intellectual Portrait," as well as several of Professor Blumenthal's essays that give a sense of the breadth of his scholarly contributions. We have a copy of the book in the office for those who would like to take a look, and we also encourage you to buy a copy for yourselves. We congratulate David on this great honor!

David R. Blumenthal and Jonathan Crane were the recipients of honorary degrees at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Wheaton College, respectively.

Blumenthal received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) at its commencement on June 1 at Temple Sinai in Dresher, Pennsylvania. The degree is awarded by RRC to scholars and organizational leaders who have distinguished themselves in the pursuit of Reconstructionist ideals and who have made outstanding contributions to the Jewish community or to religious life in North America or Israel. Blumenthal is being honored in recognition of his contributions in the field of medieval Jewish philosophy and modern Jewish theology. Several of Blumenthal's former Emory students have pursued rabbinical careers and have graduated from RRC. One of Blumenthal's former colleagues, Leila Gal Berner, a former visiting professor of religion at Emory, will receive an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree, also on June 1.

Crane received an honorary Doctor of Letters from his alma mater, Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, at its 179thcommencement on May 17. The degree is awarded in recognition of Crane's academic accomplishments, scholarly inquiry and commitment to education. Crane, a third-generation Wheaton graduate, majored in international relations and now holds five graduate degrees in international peace studies, Gandhian philosophy, Hebrew literature, rabbinics, and a Ph.D. in religious studies. He is also an ordained rabbi.

Slings and ArrowsJacob L. Wright writes about his new book, King David's Reign Revisited, in this article in The Chronicle of Higher Education: What Enhanced E-Books Can Do for Scholarly Authors.

Congratulations to Jeffrey Lesser and Eric L. Goldstein! The book 1929.0: Mapping the Jewish World (Hasia R. Diner and Gennady Estraikh, eds. NYU Press) in which both have chapters, has been named the winner of the National Jewish Book Award (anthology).

TIJS core faculty member Don Seeman has reviewed the recent Pew study of American Jews, and it appears on the cover of the current issue of Jewish Review of Books.


Emory Undergraduates Win Travel Grants for Summer Programs. The summer break provides opportunities for many Emory students to undertake alternate academic activities to enrich their college experience, and TIJS offers grants to assist with the costs. This year, DUS Catherine Dana presented TIJS summer grants to four Emory undergraduates.

Watch the March 28 discussion of "After Paris: Antisemitism, Jewish-Muslim Relations, and the Future of French Jews" with Maud Mandel (Brown University) and Samuel Ghiles-Meilhac (University of Paris VIII, Saint-Deni).

The 2016 Tenenbaum Lecture with Steven J. Zipperstein of Sanford University is available now for viewing!

TIJS welcomes three new graduate students as recipients of the TIJS graduate top-off fellowships!

Missed the 2015 Tenenbaum Lecture with Sarah Bunin Benor? See it here!

On October 15, 2014, the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies sponsored a "Teach-In Against Hate" in response to the October 5 vandalism of Emory's AEPi Fraternity. Read more about the act of vandalism, the Teach-In, and other responses from the Emory community in the Emory Report and the Emory Wheel.

Couldn't make it to campus for the 2014 Tenenbaum Lecture? Watch video of Professor Dever's illustrated lecture, Did God Have a Wife? Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel

View the Fall 2013 edition of the TIJS NEWSLETTER

Jews and BoozeJews and Booze: Becoming American in the Age of Prohibition (New York University Press, 2012), the first book by Emory History/JS alumna Marni Davis (Ph.D. '06) is a finalist for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature awarded annually by the Jewish Book Council. Read more about it here.

Applications for the 2014 Blumenthal Awards are now being accepted! Submission deadline is March 21, 2014. See here for guidelines and information about previous years' winners.

Winners of the 2013 graduate and undergraduate travel and research grants announced!

Video and audio of Norman Stillman's 2013 Tenenbaum lecture "When Arabic Was a Jewish Language."

JS Seminar Series - Spring 2013

TIJS coordinates a graduate certificate program providing formal recognition of a Jewish-studies focus for Ph.D. students working in any department of Emory’s Laney Graduate School. Participants are part of a vibrant intellectual community that brings together students and faculty members from across the university. Visit the TIJS Certificate page for more information.

Emory Acknowledges Dental School Discrimination:
Sparked by a display in the “Jews at Emory” exhibit curated by Prof. Eric Goldstein in MARBL in 2006, Dr. Perry Brickman, well-known Atlanta dentist and leader of the Jewish community, began exploring the details of the anti-semitic discrimination he had experienced at Emory’s dental school in the 1950’s.  READ MORE

Video and audio of Neal Gabler's 2012 Tenenbaum Lecture "Jewish American Filmmakers: From Sidney Lumet to Judd Apatow"

Article highlights the increasing diversity of Jews in America

Lahav IIICongratulations to Oded Borowski on the publication of his latest book Lahav III:  The Iron Age II Cemetery at Tell Halif (Site 72), published by Eisenbrauns, 2013.

If you are considering studying Jewish studies at Emory, please contact the faculty or staff members listed below.


Director of Undergraduate Studies: Professor Catherine Dana
Undergraduate Program Coordinator: Malory Mibab


Director of Graduate Studies: Professor Deborah Lipstadt
Graduate Program Coordinator: Tobi Ames


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The Tam Institute for Jewish Studies | 204 Candler Library | 550 Asbury Circle | Emory University | Atlanta, GA 30322 | Campus Mail Stop 1580-002-2AD | Phone: 404-727-6301 | Fax: 404-727-3297

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Last updated: July 22, 2016


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