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TIJS Graduate Student Awards
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Graduate Student Grant Summaries

Summer 2014

Carrie Crawford, History

TIJS’s travel grant allowed me to conduct dissertation research at multiple archives (University of Miami, University of Florida, and the Jewish Museum of Florida) on the nature of Jewish life and episodes of anti-Semitism in Florida during the 19th and 20th centuries. Thus far, my efforts have yielded substantial evidence of social exclusion of Jews from public and private spaces. For a city that now enjoys the reputation of diversity and inclusivity, Miami has a tortured past in regards to its Jewish population. Indeed, from the 1920s through the Second World War, Jews were effectively barred from leasing or purchasing property in lucrative areas of Miami Beach, instead limited to the neighborhoods that would eventually constitute “South Beach.” Developer Carl Fisher, who essentially monopolized Miami’s real estate market, was unequivocal in his anti-Jewish policies, writing to a contractor, “No lot shall be sold, conveyed, leased to anyone not a member of the Caucasian race, nor to anyone having more than one quarter Hebrew or Syrian blood. […] We don’t want Miami Beach to ever become a Jewish outfit.”

Miami’s unique history provides insight into tensions between native southern Jews and transplants (or “snowbirds,” as they were often called) from the Northeast, especially in regards to politically contentious issues—most notably, desegregation. The experience of Seymour Samet, an Anti-Defamation League lawyer assigned to Miami in the 1940s, epitomizes this apparent tension. His correspondence recounts how native Jewish Floridians resisted and resented the incursion of transplants into their political and social environment, and were often at odds with progressive political initiatives. There was, in fact, some credence for their fear, as the tumultuous atmosphere of the Civil Rights period gave bigots an opportunity to convert latent anti-Semitism into overt violence through bombings and acts of vandalism.

I also availed myself of the tremendous collection of oral history interviews housed at the University of Florida. Integration of these first-hand accounts of Jews who lived in the South affords a human voice to documentary evidence of social discrimination. All too often, historians shy away from using oral histories due to methodological concerns. These memories, though admittedly altered by time and distance, nevertheless reveal a story absent in textual sources. Moreover, since many of the individuals hailed from smaller towns in Florida, their testimonies of a beleaguered minority who strove to maintain Jewish communal ties in an overwhelmingly Gentile environment provide an illuminating perspective and a refreshing change from a narrative typically dominated by metropolitan populaces. This ongoing research continues to further the primary objective of my thesis: that is, question of what it has historically meant to be Jewish in the American South.


Stephen Germany, Graduate Division of Religion

The funds I received through the TIJS Summer Travel Grant were used to attend a conference entitled “The Pentateuch within Biblical Literature: Formation and Interaction” at the Institute for Advanced Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, May 25–29, 2014. This conference was directly relevant to my dissertation, which investigates the formation and reception of conquest traditions in the narrative books of the Hebrew Bible and addresses the compositional relationship between the Pentateuch and Former Prophets.

Although I did not present at the conference, several of the papers presented there dealt in detail with texts that are central to my dissertation research. Thus, attending the conference allowed me to stay up-to-date on the most recent analyses of biblical texts that are relevant to my dissertation topic.

A further advantage of the conference was its small size and collegial atmosphere, where attendees shared meals together and were able to continue conversations beyond the formal presentations. During the conference, I was able to interact with a number of experts from Europe, Israel, and North America in my area of specialization and discuss my dissertation research with them.


Lisa Hoelle, Graduate Division of Religion

The Tam Institute for Jewish Studies Award enabled me to enroll in two academically rigorous summer programs in Israel. During the month of July I studied at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, an egalitarian, non-denominational beit midrash. As a result, I’ve been able to study Torah with people of many ages, races, nationalities, occupations, and religious observance levels. The center uses a traditional Jewish method of learning, havruta, in which students translate and analyze texts in pairs. Every morning I challenged myself to read Talmud in the original Aramaic. Together, my havruta and I worked through a folio of Baba Kamma on the laws surrounding “an eye for an eye,” moving from the question of whether it was intended to be taken literally, what sorts of compensation a person is entitled to in the case of injury, who might be exempt from liability, and whether self-injury is permitted under Jewish law.

In the afternoons I took classes on Jewish political theory; women’s ritual obligations, exemptions, and permissions; and the parts of weekday shacharis service. In each of these classes we looked to primary sources to gain an understanding of contemporary attitudes and practices. The learning continued outside of regular classes with afternoon seminars, evening lectures, and academic tours of Jerusalem.

I continued my studies in August at the University of Haifa’s ulpan, an intensive Hebrew language program. Every day I engaged in five hours of in-class language study followed by three hours of homework. This allowed me to complete a semester’s worth of Hebrew coursework in one month. I plan on continuing my Hebrew studies at Emory and on my own with the goal of attaining academic reading proficiency in the next two years. The immersive experience of an ulpan in Israel was pivotal in making this goal attainable.

I extended my stay in Israel by arriving a month early. I used this time and weekends and evenings to explore the country and further my education informally. I was able to attend several lectures at the David Hartman Institute and the Conservative Yeshiva during my month in Jerusalem. Some of the most fulfilling experiences have taken place around a table, rather than a desk, though. In July I joined Muslims, Christians, and Jews for a joint Ishtar for Ramadan and Break-the-Fast for 17 Tammuz, which was particularly meaningful because the operation in Gaza was in full swing at the time. Throughout the trip my favorite moments have consistently been the conversations with rabbis, authors, researchers, university presidents, activists, and diplomats around the Shabbat dinner table. These opportunities would not have occurred outside of Israel, and I am quite grateful to the Tam Institute for funding such extensive enrichment of my knowledge and understanding.


Jill Marshall, Graduate Division of Religion

In July 2014, I traveled to Vienna, Austria, to participate in the international meeting of the Society for Biblical Literature. I presented my paper, “The Character of the Sibyl in the Jewish Sibylline Oracles: Gender and the Prophetic Process,” at a panel called, “Biblical Characters in Three Traditions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam).” The theme for the seminar was prophetic movements in the Bible and related literature, so I examined an enigmatic prophetic character—the Sibyl, a non-Jewish female oracle—in a complex and composite Jewish text—the Sibylline Oracles.

The presentation went well, and I received good feedback from the other panel members and the audience. I received suggestions to investigate further the character of the Sibyl’s transformation into a saint in medieval Christian traditions and the psychological aspects of the prophetic process.

Other scholars who presented in the panel were Richard Sherwin from Bar-Ilan University (“Prophecy, Power, and Law: From Moses to Moses”), Jerome Douglas from Valley Forge Christian College (“Resistance from the Margins: Reading the Book of Jeremiah through a Post-colonial Lens”), J. Harold Ellens from University of Michigan (“Tensions in the Prophetic Mainstreams: Abraham, Moses, Jesus”), and Azila Talit Reisenberger from University of Cape Town (“Can One See Bil’am (Balaam) as the Personification of Nevi-Emet?”).

I also presented in another panel on Feminist Hermeneutics. My paper for that panel was called “Women Praying or Prophesying: The Problem Created by 1 Corinthians 11:2–16 and its Solution in 14:34–35.” Both of these papers come from my dissertation research, and the conference was helpful for refining my ideas.

One highlight from being in Vienna was visiting the Papyrus Museum. They had a special exhibit called “Children of Abraham: The Bible in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam,” in which they displayed manuscripts from the three traditions.


Shlomo Pill, Law

I utilized my TIJS Summer Research Grant to fund my travel to Antwerp, Belgium on July 13-17, 2014 to attend and present my research at the Jewish Law Association’s bi-annual international conference.  After landing in Brussels, I took the train to Antwerp, checked into my hotel in the city center just a block away from the central train station, and made my way to the conference.  All conference sessions were held at the city center campus of the University of Antwerp, which despite its being situated in a 16th century estate, was founded only just over a decade ago.

I was scheduled to present my own work in the very first session of the conference, alongside Professor Talya Fishman, a scholar of medieval Jewish history, law, and religion at the University of Pennsylvania.  My own paper, which was well received, explored the different ways in which Jewish and Islamic jurisprudence have traditionally related to the authorship, authority, exclusivity, and interpretation of the canonical works that textualized their respective orally-transmitted revelatory traditions.  More specifically, I correlated the Jewish law approach to these issues with Jewish jurisprudential belief that the legal process and the human scholars and judges who engage in it do not “discover” but rather “create” the law.  Consequently, Jewish law views the authority of the Talmud as grounded primarily in its procedural authorization, and not in its being an accurate record of an orally transmitted body of divinely revealed teachings, and is thus unconcerned with the possibility of subjective authorial constructions of legal meaning and material, and does not seek to use interpretive processes to recover some objectively correct original meaning imbedded in the law.  Likewise, Islamic jurisprudence’s approach to these issues closely tracks its own internal commitment to the idea that goal of the legal process is to discover a metaphysically objective divine will that has been imbedded within the revealed texts.  Thus, Islamic law sees the authority of its canonized texts stemming from their accurate communication of God’s will, is concerned with uncovering and excising possible authorial adulterations to the original content of revelation, and uses interpretive techniques to uncover God’s original intent as contained in these texts.

Over the next three days, I had the opportunity to hear a number of fascinating lectures on various points of both academic and traditional Jewish law.  Particularly valuable was a panel featuring Leon Weiner Dow and Elisha Ancselovitz who discussed various aspects of epistemic and semantic indeterminacy in Jewish law, which provided valuable insights more my ongoing dissertation work.  Talks by Chaim Saiman, Moshe Halbertal, and Moshe Shoshan, which explored the implications of Talmudic intertwining of legal and narrative discourses in the context of specific Mishnaic and Talmudic passages also offered important observations for one of my secondary areas of research.

In addition to participation in conference sessions, regular breaks throughout the week offered opportunities for me to explore historic Antwerp, including the Jewish Quarter, some of its medieval and renaissance era cathedrals, castles, and fortifications.  I even had time to take a short drive and visit the Waterloo battlefield, where in 1814 Napoleon suffered his final and decisive defeat, ending 25 years of war in continental Europe.


Academic Year 2013-2014

Carrie Crawford, History

TIJS’s generous grant allowed me to conduct dissertation research at multiple archives in the southern United States (Mississippi, Florida, Alabama) during the 2013-2014 academic year. Specifically, my research has been aimed at explicating trends of social exclusion of Jews from public and private spaces. My dissertation, currently in-progress, plans to trace these trends both spatially and temporally, focusing on Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Alabama in the years 1880s-1950s.

In my research thus far, I have uncovered numerous discriminatory restrictions that excluded Jews from residential neighborhoods, beaches, parks, sporting teams, college Greek organizations, private country clubs, and golf courses. These restrictions ranged from being overtly anti-­?Semitic in nature (for instance, I uncovered multiple brochures advertising “Gentiles Only” or “Always a View, Never a Jew”) to euphemisms such as “Restricted Clientele” or “Exclusive Clientele.” Yet, even ostensibly benign regulations were directly targeted at Jewish citizens. After perusing large amounts of correspondence, newspaper articles, and oral histories, it became increasingly clear that anti-Semitism was alive and well in the U.S. South, despite claims to the contrary. Indeed, whereas previous scholars have argued that anti-Semitic acts in the South were sporadic aberrations, my preliminary research has determined that Jews were perennially subjected to both overt and subtle discrimination.

Furthermore, I have explored and will continue to explicate tensions between native southern Jews and transplants (or “snowbirds,” as they were often called) from the Northeast. As I suspected, these groups often conceived of “Jewishness” (religiosity, use of Yiddish, racial identity) in very different ways, and were commonly at odds over contentious issues of desegregation, political activism, and Israeli independence. I am confident that this approach will allow me to gain a better sense of southern Jewish identity. Again, I am grateful for TIJS’s financial support, without which I would not have been able to explore this fascinating and important topic.


Cory Driver, Graduate Division of Religion

I journeyed to Praia, Cape Verde, from February 14 to February 23 with the support of a Tam Institute Grant. I was able to visit the Varsea cemetery which has recently been restored by a collaboration between the Cape Verdean government, the Moroccan government, and a non-governmental organization called The Cape Verde Jewish Heritage Project. I interviewed the three cemetery keepers as well as a few people who lived near the cemetery.

Initially, I was quite disappointed. The Jewish cemetery, contrary to the indications by the Cape Verdean Jewish Heritage Project’s press information, is really only a section of a few graves within a much larger Christian cemetery. Also, as I was told repeatedly during the week, Cape Verdeans think that it is bad luck to discuss graveyards or cemeteries, and several potential interviewees were quite reluctant or simply refused to talk to me about the subject.

That being said, the silences that I met in several instances spoke volumes. One my first of several trips to the graveyard, I spoke to one of the cemetery keepers who was carting around rubble – possibly broken gravestones – and asked him in Spanish and then Portuguese where the Jewish section of the graveyard was. He indicated by pointing his arm and speaking in French that it was up the hill and on the other side of the graveyard. I would later find out that when I asked him the question, we were in fact standing less than 20 feet away from the Jewish section. I assume that he simply had no idea, despite the working there.

After becoming lost following the instructions of the first worker, I met a young man who also spoke in French. When I asked where the Jewish cemetery was, he switched to broken English and asked me if I were American. He said that everyone who came looking for the Jewish section was American, and that there were many American visitors come, but just once or twice a year. They had been coming for 12 years. He walked directly to where the Jewish section was, but said that he did not know anything about it other than where it was, and left. Finally, the head cemetery keeper came to talk to me, in Portuguese. He wanted to show me the other sections of the cemetery, and kept telling me about the other graves’ histories. I told him that I had come to see the Jewish section and then he gave me a thumbs up (a ubiquitous gesture in Cape Verde) and then wished me a good day.

The Jewish section of the cemetery was in much better shape than the rest of the graves. Instead of weeds and broken tombstones, the graves were surrounded by gravel. The inscriptions on the gravestones were in Hebrew, Portuguese or both. There was a sign in front of the Jewish section written in Portuguese and English which told about the restoration project in 2013.

When I spoke to tourism professionals and the staff of the ethnographic museum in town, I was greeted by a sense of surprise - “There’s a Jewish section of the cemetery?” - or disinterest - “You’re in Cape Verde. Why don’t you study something about Cape Verde, like birds?” or “You should study the cemetery in Fogo. There’s no Jews there, because it is a famous ‘Whites-only’ graveyard that only the colonial VIPs were buried in.” I thought it was very interesting that in the mind of at least the one respondent that Jews were not understood as white or members of the colonial hierarchy.

My next steps for research are to follow up with the Cape Verdian Jewish Heritage Project and discuss some of my findings with them, as well as to learn whether they have plans for any other restoration projects in the future. Also, I would like to contact a lead given to me by Prof. Hary. Prof. Marlyse Baptista studies the reciprocal impacts of Jews and the wider Cape Verdean society on language and culture. The research trip made possible by the generous Tam Institute grant promises to provide a fruitful foundation for continued research on non-Jewish keepers of Jewish cemeteries.


Johannes Kleiner, Graduate Division of Religion

Presenting my paper “Cult and Intact Ecosystems: Nature’s Grip on Israel’s Relationship with God” at the international conference Greening the Gods: Ecology and Theology in the Ancient World hosted by Cambridge University’s Department of Classics and the Faraday Institute, gave me the opportunity to discuss my ideas regarding nature’s role in the first two chapters of the book of Joel with a broad audience. This was my first professional presentation and the venue could not have been better: about 60 scholars from the Classics, Theology, and Biblical Studies were gathered and discussed the role of nature in ancient texts and ways in which insights from those texts and the texts themselves might relate to our current ecological crises. In the course of these discussions, I was introduced to platonic and stoic frameworks of interpreting nature and nature’s significance, as well as some new ideas about the Hebrew Bible and climate change, advocacy, and interpretation.

Most importantly I could network with some of the most preeminent scholars in the field of Religion/Hebrew Bible and the environment: Michael Northcott and Holmes Rolston III. Both are interested in incorporating biblical texts into their larger ethical approach to combat climate change and natural degradation and to foster certain positive attitudes toward nature. Both scholars come from a strong Christian background, as did the majority of participants in the conference.

This highlights the need for further inquiry into a decidedly Jewish approach to climate change and other environmental crises. While the conference provided me with helpful methodological hints how to go about this scavenger hunt in an ancient (religious) tradition, much of the research in this field still needs to be done. I look forward to interact with Manfred Gerstenfeld’s Judaism, Environmentalism and the Environment: Mapping and Analysis (1998), as well as the many contributors to Hava Tirosh-Samuelson’s edited volume Judaism and Ecology (2002) in Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim’s series Religions of the World and Ecology.

The TAM Institutes Travel Grant enabled me to refine my research questions, network effectively, and enhance my presentations skills. I am thankful for the opportunities the Institute opened up for me—both in Cambridge and growing out from the discussions there.


Karen McCarthy, Philosophy

Thanks to the Schatten Scholarship Grant award by the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies at Emory University, I was able to travel to Bard College and visit the Hannah Arendt Library. This library contains the personal collection of Hannah Arendt and allows the researcher a very special view into her thinking. A central claim in my dissertation is that we can better understand Arendt’s interpretation of Kant if we understand her reading of Ernst Cassirer’s Kant. The relationship between the two philosophers is one that is grounded in the roots of their shared tradition of liberal Judaism.

While Arendt rarely quotes directly from Cassirer, her personal library contains several volumes of his work, volumes that span decades, languages, and continents. I was able to trace through these works an ongoing interest and entanglement with Cassirer. Her marginalia and annotations highlighted where they agreed, and at what point their thinking broke apart. While I went expecting to spend the bulk of my time examining Arendt and Cassirer on Kant, I found a much more complicated, and personally exciting, web of influences that extended much earlier and more widespread in Arendt’s work than I had previously thought. While it is true that the common core between Arendt and Cassirer is their early 20th Century Germanic work with Kant (and their particular shared interested in the Critique of the Power of Judgment, the third and largely ignored critique), what I found in the archives was that this connection hinged not only on academic points of interest, but also brought together two practical concerns. The annotations and marginalia in these books and papers drew a connection between the threads of philosophy of science and technology that one stumbles over in Arendt’s work and the political philosophy, particularly her work on judgment, for which she is better known.

Cassirer worked closely with, and on, the early atomic physicists, and wrote extensively on Einstein and quantum physics — and these were works that Arendt had kept with her throughout her life. Her personal library held the philosophical works of Bohr, Oppenheimer, Planck, Heisenberg, and Schrödinger — many of which are cited by or cite Ernst Cassirer. The annotations and marginalia highlighted where the physicists indulged in a strange sort of Kantianism, one which lent itself to a worldview of determinism and resignation. It is exactly this strained reading of Kantian metaphysics and morals Arendt identifies in Adolf Eichmann. Her reading of Cassirer’s writings focused on those points where he also called for a return to a sense of responsibility toward the world, but she clearly resisted his answer, which was rooted in the possibility of a perfected science. For Arendt, the question for, and answer to, the problems of the modern world would always be first be grounded in the human possibility of beginning, the root of hope.


Craig Perry, History

In May 2014 I used a $300 Judith Evans London Student Grant to support a trip to present my dissertation in medieval Jewish History to a seminar comprised faculty and graduate students in Jewish Studies and History at Johns Hopkins University. My dissertation, “The Daily Life of Slaves and the Global Reach of Slavery in Medieval Egypt, 969-1250 CE,” is the first comprehensive study of female domestic slavery based on documents from the Cairo Geniza, a cache of records created and preserved by the Egyptian Jewish community.

I pre-circulated the final draft of my dissertation among the JHU faculty and students in advance of my visit so that they participants had time to read sections of the draft before our meeting. During the seminar, I fielded questions and comments about my dissertation meant to help me begin revising my dissertation into a book manuscript for submission to an academic press in 2016.

The student grant greatly subsidized the cost of my airfare and made this valuable trip possible.


Jason Schulman, History

This academic year (2013-2014) I used a TIJS Grant of $1,739 to attend four academic conferences between December 2013 and March 2014. These included the Association of Jewish Studies (Boston, MA – December 15-17, 2013); American Historical Association (Washington DC – January 2-5, 2014); Australian and New Zealand Studies Association of North America, Austin, TX (February 6-8, 2014); and the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities, Charlottesville, VA (March 10-11, 2014). The purpose of these conferences was to network with scholars in Jewish Studies and History, hear the latest research in Jewish Studies and interdisciplinary studies, and become familiar with how these conferences operate.

The AJS and AHA are the major conferences in their respective fields. Although I did not present at these two conferences, I learned a great deal about what scholars in these fields are working on. I also met professors and graduate students from other universities, which will, as I become more involved with these two fields, help foster scholarly collaboration. Finally, although I did not have any job interviews this year, I think it was beneficial to see how massive these two enterprises are, so that in the future, the first time will not be so overwhelming. As someone with graduate training in both Jewish Studies and American History, I found these conferences vital for networking, learning about new scholarship, and professional development.

The other conferences I attended, though smaller, were strategically chosen to complement my research interests and goals. First, the ASLCH Conference, which I’ve attended before, was a great opportunity for me to hear new scholarship and meet other scholars whose work bridges the scholarship of American history and legal culture. I presented a paper at this conference in the past (now it’s the fourth chapter of my dissertation), and I am confident that at future meetings I will be able to convince other scholars of the importance of considering Jewish studies in this field as well. This was particularly important because a lot of these scholars (at various stages in their careers) do not attend the AJS. The other was the ANZSANA Conference, which I’ve attended before, and have presented at before, as well. The thinking behind this is that I would like I am beginning to think about my second project, and I envision a comparative work on American and Australian Jewry, and this conference is one of its kind in North America. It was interesting to meet other scholars working comparatively across the disciplines.

Attending these conferences was crucial at this stage in my academic training. Although I was not able to share my own research formally in a presentation, I informally chatted with other graduate students and professors and mentioned my research interests so that I am beginning to “get my name out there” in terms of my research. As someone whose work attempts to bridge the divide between scholarship in American history, Jewish studies, and legal culture, I think this was an important first step. The 2013-2014 TIJS Grant was invaluable in making these trips possible. I hope I can continue to grow as a scholar at academic conference in the future.


Summer 2013

Marian Broida, Graduate Division of Religion

I am grateful to the Tam Institute for providing funds to support my travel to Israel this summer.

My primary purpose was to improve my modern Hebrew to support my teaching at Georgia State University and possible future positions. From June 23 through July 11 I attended daily 3-hour classes at the Conservative Yeshiva’s Ulpan in Jerusalem, in the highest Ulpan level they offered (combined dalet-hey). Conversational skills were emphasized but we also spent time on reading and writing. There were approximately 12 students in the class at various skill levels ranging from high-intermediate to near-fluent (numbers varied over the weeks). The instruction was excellent. My accent, vocabulary, and grammar improved over the 15 days of instruction. Readings and discussions in the Ulpan enhanced my knowledge of Israeli politics and culture. In addition I spent most of my time outside of class conversing in Hebrew with fellow students and people I met. Merely spending time in Israel improved my knowledge of Israeli society, an important aspect in teaching modern Hebrew.

My secondary goal was to begin research for a possible article on divinatory artifacts from ancient Israel. With the support of the archaeology department at Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, I was able to handle and photograph the die found in 8th-9th century BCE contexts in the sacred precinct of Tel Dan. I also visited the archaeology library at Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus, where I surveyed archaeology journals looking for recent discoveries. Additionally I spent time at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem looking at the exhibits on ancient Israel, especially those from the Iron Age.

Besides meeting these two explicit goals, I found the trip useful in building contacts to support my future teaching and research. I met a number of academics, including fellow Ulpan students and others I met in Jerusalem, whose interests intertwine with mine. Much of one Sabbath lunch was spent discussing ancient magic and divination—my primary research area—with fellow academics. I also visited Yad Vashem, a visit which will influence the ways in which I will teach about the Holocaust in an upcoming class on Jewish studies. Finally, I discussed ways of organizing my upcoming course on Introduction to Judaism at Georgia State University with those who had taught or taken similar courses.

Altogether the trip was very successful. Once again, I appreciate the Tam Institute’s support.


Carrie Crawford, History

The Tam Institute for Jewish Studies Summer Travel Grant allowed me to complete a one-month intensive language program with 40 other students at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute (“VYI”) in Vilnius, Lithuania, a city once celebrated as “The Jerusalem of the North.” During the four-week program, I completed 60 hours of classroom instruction, the equivalent of a semester-long course. Daily seminars focused on grammar and pronunciation skills, giving me a firm foundation to continue my Yiddish language training. In addition, the VYI held semi-weekly lectures, film screenings, and presentations pertaining to Jewish culture and history, ensuring that the learning process reached far beyond the classroom. Our group went on walking tours of the Vilna Ghetto, visited sites where famous Litvaks once lived, and took excursions to neighboring cities of Trakai, Kaunas, and Žiežmariai on weekends. Outings to Ponar Forest, Ninth Fort, the Green House Jewish Museum and an anti-Nazi partisan site, served as a stark reminder of the terrible fate suffered by 97% of Lithuanian Jews during the Holocaust. Nevertheless, despite an almost complete annihilation of their population, Litvaks have remained steadfast in their determination to rebuild a strong community, and the Yiddish language stands at the forefront of this resurgence.

As for my studies, long hours and hard work paid dividends. I arrived in Vilnius with no knowledge of Yiddish, and with only nominal familiarity with the Hebrew alphabet. By graduation, however, I was able to read and translate texts with relative ease, and could converse with peers in Yiddish. This language training will no doubt prove enormously useful in my dissertation research, and the program’s cultural component imbued in me greater understanding of and appreciation for Jewish culture and history. TIJS’s generous financial support made this unforgettable experience possible, and I am immensely grateful for the opportunity.


Stephen Germany, Graduate Division of Religion

The funds I received through the TIJS Summer Travel Grant were used to attend the International Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in St. Andrews, Scotland, 7–11 July 2013. At the conference, I presented a paper in a session on Ancient Near Eastern Iconography entitled “Ancient Near Eastern Offering Scenes and Biblical Ritual Texts: A Comparison of Iconographic and Textual Representations of Ritual Practice.” The paper presented a typology of the ways in which animal sacrifice is portrayed in ancient Near Eastern art and applied this typology to the representation of animal sacrifice in biblical texts such as Leviticus 1. The paper was well received and was followed by discussion with the other attendees.

In addition to providing me with an opportunity to present my research, the funds I received through the TIJS Summer Travel Grant allowed me to network with other scholars in my field of study. Several weeks prior to arriving in St. Andrews, I wrote to Prof. Reinhard Kratz of the University of Göttingen in Germany and arranged to meet with him in order to discuss my dissertation research and the possibility of spending a year conducting research in Göttingen in 2014–2015, funded by a Fulbright or DAAD grant. The conversation that we had in St. Andrews was extremely positive and has allowed me to continue corresponding with Prof. Kratz during the process of applying for grants to Germany.

A further advantage of the conference was its small size and collegial atmosphere, where attendees shared meals together and were able to continue conversations beyond the formal presentations. During the five days of the conference, I had the good fortune of being introduced to several other important scholars by Emory Hebrew Bible faculty members, including Bill Gilders of TIJS, who were also at the conference.


Mark Goldfeder, Law

The grant that I received this summer allowed me to do several things. First, I was able to travel to New York and deliver a paper at the Columbia University’s Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies Young Scholars Conference. The paper, ‘Legislating Love’ Neighboring as the Essence of Israel,’ was very well received, and in fact it is now being published in full in the Indiana International and Comparative Law Journal at the Indiana University School of Law. I have also been asked by the National University of Political Science and Public Administration to come and deliver it again at their October conference ‘Dilemmas of Israeli Democracy,’ in Bucharest, Romania, co-sponsored by the Israeli Embassy there. The grant allowed me to pay for my ticket and transportation to where I was staying, which was extremely helpful and without which I would not have been able to go and receive important feedback which helped me to fine tune various parts of the argument.

Second, the grant money allowed me to accept an invitation to deliver a series of talks and lectures on Jewish law for the greater Jewish community in Omaha, Nebraska. The actual date for the lectures has been moved to October due to scheduling difficulties on their part, but the tickets have already been purchased, and I am set to give five talks there, including talks on Robots in Jewish Law, Animals in Jewish Law, and Polygamy in Jewish law, with the rest to be determined.

Third, the grant money allowed me to continue my research and training in Jewish law for the Beth Din. Although due to internal Beth Din politics out of my control the training shifted to Atlanta, including some at Emory, it was still very hands on and very fundamental.

I want to thank the Tam Institute for all of their generous support. The grant money was used to help further all of these different parts of my academic agenda, and, as evidenced by the further invitations I have received, has been supremely helpful in allowing me to further develop and expand my horizons as I prepare for an academic career.


Jason Schulman, History

This summer I used a generous TIJS Summer Grant conduct archival research for my dissertation project, The Limits of Liberalism: Reconsidering American Jewish Politics, at Yale University, Harvard University, New York University, and Columbia University. Please note that due to surgery I underwent in June, I was unable to fly to Chicago to carry out the requisite research, so I added two locations to my research agenda.

My first stop was Yale University, where I utilized the papers of Alexander Bickel at Sterling Memorial Library. The trip was a very successful one, and I was able to take copious notes that will be very helpful as I complete the second chapter of my project. One of the keys to making the trip so successful was—in addition to identifying which boxes were to be prioritized, given Yale’s 10 box daily limit—doing heavy background reading on Bickel beforehand, and reading his published works like The Least Dangerous Branch and The Morality of Consent. This allowed me to jump right into the archival material and to know, more or less, what I was looking for in my limited time in the archive. I was particularly interested in letters Bickel sent and received, drafts of his writing, and speeches he gave—these gave me insight into how his thinking developed. Although Bickel has been the subject of scholarly inquiry in the past, my project aims to situate him, along with two other Jewish legal thinkers, in a conversation on the role of law, and the Supreme Court, in American society.

My second stop was Harvard University, where I utilized the papers of Felix Frankfurter at the Harvard Law School Library, the Supreme Court Justice and Bickel’s mentor. The trip was also successful, and I was able to identify correspondence between the two men that will be helpful in showing how Bickel’s thinking was greatly influenced by Frankfurter. I found interesting material on Frankfurter’s views of judicial restraint, which can be found as well in the writing of Bickel. The enigmatic character of Frankfurter, whom I hope to study more in depth in the future, offers a great case study of my central claim that rather than framing the discussion of American Jewish politics around the “left” and right” or the dichotomy between “liberal” and “conservative,” it makes more sense to consider how law has served as a limit of American Jewish liberalism.

Finally, due to an unforeseen medical situation, I substituted a trip to Chicago with a trip to New York, where I stopped at New York University and Columbia University. At the former, I utilized the papers of Leonard Boudin’s law firm, which will feature in my fourth chapter. The chapter highlights the importance of liberty (especially the freedom to travel) as a neglected chapter in American Jewish history, and argues that equality was not part of the effort. At the latter, I utilized the papers of Herbert Wechsler, which will feature in my first chapter. Wechsler, who famously took on the Warren Court’s Brown decision, opens the dissertation, and paves the way for the chapters on Bickel (Yale) and Kurland (Chicago). I was also able to utilize Boudin’s papers at Columbia for the fourth chapter.

Overall, it was a very productive summer, despite the changes induced by the surgery. I realized how my previous research trips had been helpful in teaching me small tricks about doing archival research. And the pre-trip legwork was immensely helpful for me to identify what I needed to prioritize at each location. Previous TIJS summer grants have been invaluable in teaching me those skills and tips, and this grant, as usual, was invaluable in conducting research.


Ariel Svarch, History

This early summer, thanks to a generous grant by the Tam Institute of Jewish Studies, I was able to travel to Israel to conduct dissertation research at The Central Archives for the History of Jewish People in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Additionally, I was able to present the first chapter of my thesis and receive feedback and commentary from scholars of both Jewish Studies and Latin American Studies at a colloquium in Tel Aviv University.

At the Central Archives, I gained access to several collections and primary sources not available elsewhere. These include, for example, clippings from both Jewish and non-Jewish newspapers; commemorative books on the foundation of an Argentine course at the Hebrew University in the 1930s; and collections of health magazines in Yiddish published in Buenos Aires. These findings, which highlight different images and representations of “the Jewish-Argentine,” are an invaluable addition to my dissertation.

In Tel Aviv, I presented a draft of my first chapter to the ongoing colloquium on Latin American history. The presentation was a great opportunity to engage with the work of other academics and receive feedback from a specialized audience. Additionally, it provided me with potential interviewees for the section of my thesis that deals with oral histories and memory of Jewish Buenos Aires in the first half of the twentieth century.

This trip to Israel, generously funded by the TIJS, enriched my wealth of primary sources and allowed me to discuss my research with a wider, specialized audience with similar academic interests. It will allow me not only to craft a better-sourced dissertation, but also to engage with broader questions regarding representation and identity in Jewish Studies in the Latin American diaspora.


Academic Year 2012 - 2013

Carrie Crawford, History

TIJS’s generous grant allowed me to conduct research at multiple archives during the 2012-13 academic year. My findings resulted in a paper entitled, “‘Jew-Baiting’ in the Cotton Belt: An Examination of anti-Semitism in the Postbellum South,” submitted to TIJS Director (also my doctoral adviser) Eric Goldstein in early May. This paper explores dozens of instances of anti-Jewish agitation and violence in Postbellum Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana, and argues that Jews’ ambivalent social position made them vulnerable to agitations of discrimination and violence that they could not ignore. I contend that Jewish southerners—despite an ostensible ingratiation in the community—served as convenient scapegoats for white Southerners contending with social and economic disruptions wrought by the dismantling of a white supremacist power structure, the rapid transition from an agrarian-based economy to industrial market capitalism, the pressures of technological modernity, and the diminution of southern political power. Instead of treating anti-Semitism as a self-generating ideology or an abstract set of assumptions untethered by on-the-ground realities, this paper posits a more nuanced interpretation of anti-Semitism, arguing that this “Southern strain” grew out of a distinctive social-economic context. Although this paper argues that a nexus of social and economic factors could and did give rise to anti-Jewish violence, I contend that grounding anti-Semitism in specific spatial and temporal conditions reveals its potential and functionality as a coping device during times of crises. This southern brand of anti-Semitism is most accurately characterized as a visceral, reactive strain that had less to do with Jews as Jews and more to do with Jews as symbols of economic modernity juxtaposed against hard-nosed southern toiling.

I argue that white southerners—rising from ashes of defeat in the Civil War—grappled with the immense social and economic disruptions in their midst, reckoning that the erosion of white supremacy was to blame. As rectification, they set about invoking the racial hierarchy of an idyllic Old South that had, for many years, maintained social order. The first step was to isolate and remove the group that had subverted the inviolability of white supremacy. As an economically impotent and socially marginalized demographic, blacks in the New South proved ineffectual for the purposes of scapegoating. Jews, however, provided the perfect “other” onto which white Southerners could project their fears and anxieties. As my study demonstrates, pejorative stereotypes that Jews as a race were money-grubbing profiteers who abused credit and crop lien systems to exploit white southerners enjoyed significant cultural resonance, and reared their ugly heads on an astonishingly frequent basis.

By combining analyses of collective vigilantism and peddler murders, this study reveals that racialized stereotypes and methods of violence proved exceptionally functional for both white and black southerners. When considered in tandem, it becomes clearer how these strategies utilized the possibilities of anti-Semitism to reestablish social and racial harmony in a region reeling from the upending of a sacrosanct way of life. Whereas black southerners could highlight Jewish otherness and vulnerability as a social caste in their requests for protection against vigilante mobs, white southerners could present Jews as a shared “common enemy” as a method of reclaiming control and stabilizing racial order in New South. In later sections, I discuss how newspaper reports of Jewish peddlers who had been viciously murdered, allegedly at the hands of blacks, confirmed white southerners’ suspicions about the criminal pathology of the southern Negro.

I anticipate that this research paper will become at least one chapter of my dissertation, and I hope to submit a version of the essay to a peer-reviewed academic journal in the next few months. I am grateful for TIJS’s financial support, without which I would not have been able to conduct this archival research.


Cory Driver, Graduate Division of Religion

I applied for funds to deliver a paper at a conference in Ifrane, Morocco. The conference, “Judeo-Moroccan Memory: An Intellectual, Cultural and Political Heritage,” will took place in Ifrane on December 2-4, 2012. My paper, For Them and for Us: Muslim Moroccans’ Use of Hebrew Language Prose, Prayers and Prestidigitation, addressed ways in which Jewish magic and ritual, as well as Hebrew language are incorporated into folk-Islam. This paper also addresses some of the ways in which practitioners of Moroccan folk-Islam and the largely absent Jewish community often collaborate across national borders. The focus of this section of the paper will be Muslim Moroccan cemetery guards’ use of Hebrew in identifying grave sites for visitors and saying Kaddish over Jewish graves on behalf of the long-ago emigrated relatives of the deceased. What is the efficacy of prayers offered by non-Jews in Hebrew and how should Muslims conceptualize praying prayers outside of their own religious idiom? Ultimately, I show that for those involved in these interreligious acts that it is the ritual words themselves, not the identity of the person saying them, that are essential to the power and efficacy of language.

The conference itself was fairly sparsely attended. The Ifrance area received one of their largest snow storms in recent memory, and the roads were impassable, expect by the hardiest grande-taxi driver. Happy, after two attempts, I made it to Al-Akhawayn University, the site of the conference. I gave my paper to a small audience, but they gave very useful feedback, and I plan to collaborate with at least two of the professors on future research in Morocco.

While I was in Morocco for the conference, I met up with a few subjects of previous ethnographic research and to get updates and new stories. Also, since the conference is in memory of Simon Levy, the founder of the Judeo-Moroccan Museum in Casablanca, I was able to visit the museum on a private tour. The museum was undergoing remodeling for its grand opening, which occurred in late April 2013. The museum is quite small, but they had some newspaper holdings and charts that helped me narrow down some research interests in the larger cities. Most of my work to this point has taken place out in the rural areas of Morocco.

Attending the conference allowed me to have some face time with senior scholars in the field, as well as cementing relationships with researchers in Morocco who will no doubt prove to be an invaluable resource going forward. I am very grateful to the Tam Institute for allowing me to attend this conference.


Mark Goldfeder, Law

This past year I received a grant to give two talks; oneat the 10th Annual Conference of the Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute for Law, Religion and Ethics at the Pepperdine School of Law, and one at the University of Padua in Treviso, Italy. I am happy to report that both events went well, and that I actually was invited to give and ended up delivering a second talk on a second day in Italy as well.

At Pepperdine, I spoke on a panel called Interfaith Perspectives: How Religion Informs Adoption Law. The panel consisted of a moderator (Dr. Michael Helfand), myself, and Faisal Kutty, an Islamic law and religion scholar. I offered the Jewish law perspective on the matter, and the topic was so well-received that shortly after the conference Professor Robert Cochran,Director of the Herbert andElinorNootbaarInstitute on Law, Religion, and Ethics at Pepperdine, who had attended the panel, invited me to contribute a chapter on the subject for a book he is editing on inter-country adoption, which is being published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, which I agreed to do.

In Italy, I was originally asked to give a talk on Building the Jewish State; An Orthodox Jewish Law Perspective on Israeli Constitutionalism. In advance of the seminar, however, the interest from the student body was so strong that I was asked to give a second talk as well, and so the first day I gave the talk on the development of the land and the law, and the second day was really heavily focused on Israel’s basic right to exist, as well as dispelling some myths about the country and especially its record on human rights issues.

I would like to thank the committee for its generous support of my academic efforts. These talks were extremely helpful for me both in terms of developing and getting my scholarship out to the public, as well as in terms of practical networking and establishing good professional relationships within the academic field. I truly appreciate it.


Samira Mehta, Graduate Division of Religion

In 2012, I received funding from the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies to attend the annual meetings of both the American Academy of Religions (AAR) and the Association for Jewish Studies (AJS)annual meetings.

At AAR, which was in Chicago from November 17-20, I had 3 job interviews and met with a publisher (University of North Carolina Press). I will be submitting my manuscript to UNC by June 15th of this year.

At AJS, I gave a conference paper entitled “Your Children’s Children: Jewish Grandparents, Christian Grandchildren, and the Instruction Manuals of Identity Transmission.” I also participated in networking meetings with young women scholars of American Jewish History and met with senior scholars both in American religion and in American Jewish History. In addition, I spoke briefly with one of the series editors for the American Religion line at New York University Press.


Jason Schulman, History

This academic year (2012-2013) I used a TIJS Grant to attend three academic conferences between November 2012 and January 2013. The American Society for Legal History (St. Louis, MO November 8-11); the Association of Jewish Studies (Chicago, IL December 16-18); and the American Historical Association (New Orleans, LA January 3-6). The purpose of these conferences was to network with scholars in Jewish Studies and History, hear the latest research in Jewish Studies and interdisciplinary studies, and become familiar with how these conferences operate.

The AJS and AHA are the major conferences in their respective fields. Although I did not present at these two conferences, I learned a great deal about what scholars in these fields are working on. I also met professors and graduate students from other universities, which will, as I become more involved with these two fields, help foster scholarly collaboration. Finally, although I did not have any job interviews this year, I think it was beneficial to see how massive these two enterprises are, so that in the future, the first time will not be so overwhelming. As someone with graduate training in both Jewish Studies and American History, I found these conferences vital for networking, learning about new scholarship, and professional development.

The other conference I attended, a smaller one but still very important for my research interests, was the ASLH conference. It will a great opportunity for me to hear new scholarship and meet other scholars whose work bridges the scholarship of American history and legal culture. I am confident that at future meetings I will be able to convince other scholars of the importance of considering Jewish studies in this field as well. This was particularly important because a lot of these scholars (at various stages in their careers) do not attend the AJS. Although my paper proposal was not accepted for presentation at this conference, I learned a great deal about how it operates and what I can do to participate next year.

Attending these conferences was crucial at this stage in my academic training. Although I was not able to share my own research formally in a presentation, I informally chatted with other graduate students and professors and mentioned my research interests so that I am beginning to “get my name out there” in terms of my research. As someone whose work attempts to bridge the divide between scholarship in American history, Jewish studies, and legal culture, I think this was an important first step.

The TIJS 2012-2013 Grant was invaluable in making these trips possible. I hope I can continue to grow as a scholar at academic conference in the future.


Summer 2012

Ryan Bonfiglio, Graduate Division of Religion

Examined Achaemenid minor art collection at the archive of Persepolis Fortification Tablets at the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago; attended Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Chicago.


Michael Chan, Graduate Division of Religion

First, let me thank TIJS for providing me with a grant that allowed me to do research at the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford University) and to participate in a Hebrew Bible conference at Worcester College. This trip took place on the following dates: September 13th-19th. The amount requested was meant to supplement a competitive grant I had already received from the Laney Graduate School.

The conference I attended—Old Testament Studies: Epistemologies and Methods—was remarkably fruitful. The proceedings are set up in such a way that every student paper receives a formal response from a senior scholar in the field. In my case, that person was Terje Stordalen of the University of Oslo. In addition to his formal response, I also received valuable feedback from other prominent scholars such as Reinhard Kratz, Hermann Spieckermann, and Corinna Körting.

In terms of my museum research, I was able to do research at both the Ashmolean Museum and the British Museum. Both collections contain artifacts that are relevant to my dissertation topic, which concerns the biblical concept that foreign nations will bring their wealth to Zion (see, e.g., Isa 60:4-17; 61:5-6; 66:12, 18-22; Hag 2:6-9; Zech 14:13-19; 1 Chr 16:29; 32:1-23).


Carrie Crawford, History

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Charleston, South Carolina, existed as the hub of Atlantic trade to the southern colonies (and later, states). Indeed, the port’s constant influx of traders, merchants, and settlers gave the city a degree of cosmopolitanism and cultural diversity that most other southern cities could not boast. Charleston’s early Jewish settlers—Sephardim hailing from the Iberian Peninsula— surely contributed to this cosmopolitanism. In the mid-nineteenth century, however, port traffic declined, and this shift—historians have argued—had a direct impact on the city’s social milieu. No longer privy to the dynamism of Atlantic trade, and disillusioned by what they perceived as encroaching federal power and strengthening assaults on the institution of slavery, Charleston’s cosmopolitanism receded, replaced by an increasingly insular and provincial worldview. Previous scholars have assumed that Jewish Charlestonians followed a similar pattern and simply became fully-accepted white Southerners.

By challenging this presumption, this paper depicts a far more nuanced picture of Jewish identity in antebellum Charleston. Insofar as Charleston’s Jews participated in “white” activities (e.g. owning slaves, political and civic engagement), my research revealed that the relationship of Jews in antebellum Charleston to white Southerners was far more complicated than previous historians have portrayed. As regional tensions heightened and war approached, those Charleston Jews who sought to be accepted unequivocally within the power structure of southern white supremacy found their racial placement questioned and prospects for inclusion increasingly constrained and circumscribed. My work attempted to reconcile, or at least illuminate, this apparent tension between ostensible social inclusion and the visceral and public evocation of anti-Semitic stereotypes by prominent southerners (e.g. John C. Calhoun, James Henry Hammond).

Furthermore, this work portrays how the disruptions and exigencies of the antebellum period forced these men and women to reexamine what it meant to be a Jew, a process of reexamination and recalibration propelled both by internal schism as well as outside influences (ascendancy of racial science, international affairs involving Jews). The contentious atmosphere described in my paper should give pause to any assertion that the identity of Jewish Charlestonians in the antebellum period was unequivocally “white” and uncontested. Instead of living peacefully in “a happy land,” (as suggested by many scholars), Charleston’s Jewish community in the antebellum period found themselves engaging in a delicate balancing act, one they did not always enjoy.

Methodologically, this essay incorporates a broad array of primary sources, including: correspondence, newspapers (Southern Patriot, Charleston Daily Courier, Charleston Mercury, and The Occident), speeches, public records, and synagogue meeting minutes. Most of these materials are housed at the College of Charleston’s Jewish Heritage Collection, and TIJS’ summer funding generously allowed me to visit these archives on multiple occasions. During my time in Charleston, I discussed my project with Jewish historian and Charleston expert Dale Rosengarten, who has suggested a number of promising avenues for exploration, especially as I look to engage concepts of diasporic and port identity in my future dissertation research on Jewish identity in 19th century New Orleans. Lastly, I hope to submit this essay to peer-reviewed journals for consideration at some point within the next academic year.


Cory Driver, Graduate Division of Religion

Because of a generous grant from the Tam Center, I was able to travel to Morocco for six weeks in Summer 2012 to study ways in which the no-longer-extant rural Mid and High Atlas Jewish community is remembered by Muslim Imazighen. Among the more interesting encounters that the grant allowed me to record were days spent talking with Muslim keepers of Jewish cemeteries who had memorized Jewish family trees and family lore. This history, recounted in Moroccan Arabic, was fascinating in itself, but the fact that they were reading the graves’ Hebrew labels piqued my interest even further. Moreover, several keepers or Jewish cemeteries, who themselves where Muslim, would recite Kaddish over the graves of their friends, and over others’ graves when they received a postal check and a request for them to do so.

In other areas, I encountered beautifully, and not-so-beautifully, preserved synagogues with centuries-old copies of the Zohar and prayer books. In one rural village, I found that the oldest corrugated tin roof in town was not replaced by the relatively wealthy Muslim shop-owner because the previous Jewish owner had carved a “magic spell” for financial success of the shop’s roof. The current owner was not willing to risk removing the economic blessing by replacing the dilapidated roof. Everyone in the village knew the story of the old roof, and they were quick to explain how its continued presence was due to the Judeo-Arabic carving.

These are just a few anecdotes that point to the larger phenomenon of Jewish and Hebrew elements vividly remaining where a once vibrant Jewish community has disappeared. I hope to be able to use several of the interviews that I collected as a basis for conference papers, and eventually dissertation source material.


Zev Farber, Graduate Division of Religion

I was invited again by Professor Avraham Faust, head of Bar-Ilan University’s archaeology program, to join his summer dig in Tel Eton as honorary staff. The goal was for me to spend this summer further learning the basics of practical archaeology, including excavation, survey, notes and data entry, etc. Insofar as this is concerned, the summer was a success. I have been invited now indefinitely as long-term staff and will head up a possible foreign (i.e. mostly American) volunteer and educational program to parallel the already existent Israeli one. I will also continue my training, perhaps eventually learning to be an area supervisor.

One of my main interests is in the study of Ancient Israel. Competence in archaeology has always been one of the key aspects of good scholarship in this field and is quickly becoming even more critical. Although it is possible to read field reports without actually participating in a dig, I have found this to be very difficult. In my opinion, the only way to really master a skill is to learn it first hand from the experts and this is what this summer’s training has begun to allow me to do. I already feel significantly more competent than I did at the outset.

Since the dig in Tel Eton is a relatively small operation, I had the opportunity to learn faster and take a more central role than would have been available in other digs. Furthermore, Professor Faust is someone who writes extensively in the area of Ancient Israel and identity formation, a critical matter for the topic that I am writing on. Finally, as Tel Eton is very possibly one of the cities discussed in the book of Joshua (Eglon), it provides an excellent test case with regard to the meeting of history, archaeology and text.

I am writing my dissertation on Joshua and traditions that surround him, and I have already come upon a number of questions that would require archaeological answers. For example, what cities described in the book were around in what periods? Which cities described as destroyed were actually destroyed and when? Although there is discussion of these questions in the literature, I do not want to end up as a scholar who doesn’t actually understand the primary sources and only quotes other scholars who do.


Stephen Germany, Graduate Division of Religion

The funds I received through the TIJS Summer Travel Grant were used to attend the inaugural conference of the Irish Society for the Study of the Ancient Near East in Dublin, Ireland from 25-27 May 2012. The topic of the conference was “The Other Temples,” and participants gave papers relating to ancient Israelite, Jewish, and Samaritan temples in archaeology and texts. At the conference, I presented a paper entitled “Did the Achaemenids Impose a Change in the Sacrificial Cult at the Judean Temple at Elephantine?”

My paper argued against several other studies dealing with religion among the Judean community at Elephantine (in Upper Egypt) that the religious beliefs of the Persian authorities were not a significant factor in the discontinuation of animal sacrifice at the Judean temple there. Rather, this change was likely caused by a conflict between the Judean community at Elephantine and the local Egyptian population. The paper was well received and was followed by discussion with the other attendees.

The conference took place at the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, and some of the attendees, including myself, stayed on site in a residential building on the Institute’s campus. The conference was small, with around 25 attendees, and almost all of the attendees presented papers. These papers will be published as conference proceedings in mid-2013, and I will submit my paper to be included in these proceedings.

In addition to providing me with an opportunity to present my research, the funds I received through the TIJS Summer Travel Grant allowed me to build relationships with other scholars that will be useful to my professional development. In particular, I made an important contact with a faculty member at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland who encouraged me to come to Lausanne to conduct research during the dissertation phase of my doctoral studies. A further advantage of the conference was its small size and collegial atmosphere, where attendees shared meals together and were able to continue conversations beyond the formal presentations.

This opportunity to present a paper in a small conference setting provided me with experience and confidence that will assist me in presenting my work at larger conferences in the future and in continuing to build my scholarly network.


Henry Huberty, Candler School of Theology

Thank you for your award of a TIJS Graduate Student Travel and Research Grant. The Tam Institute’s support allowed me to spend five weeks volunteering with an archaeological dig at Khirbet Summeily. This excavation is part of the Tell el-Hesi Regional Project, which conducts archaeological research in northwestern Negev, a region which lay on the borders of ancient Judah and Philistia. Data from excavations in this area may yield insights about cultural exchange in the history of ancient Israel.

I volunteered with this program in the hopes that I would gain familiarity with the procedures of field archaeology. My own research focuses primarily on textual sources, but I know that material culture evidence is equally important for reconstructing the lived experience of ancient Israel and Judah. I felt that without firsthand experience, my ability to use that information would have been limited.

The dig was an excellent way to gain a greater understanding of archaeology. I was able to assist with excavation, photography, and material culture registration, all of which helped me become familiar with the “how-to” of field archaeology. I was also able to talk about possible interpretations of artifacts, architecture, and stratigraphy uncovered at the site with the dig’s directors. On the weekends, the volunteer group visited archaeological sites across Israel, which added to the breadth of my knowledge.

In excavating at Khirbet Summeily, I learned to deeply respect the importance of interpretation within archaeological research. Archaeological evidence is often ambiguous in both its appearance and its significance. Variations in soil color and texture—which are difficult for the inexperienced to detect—can have great importance. Moreover, the interpretation of each feature affects the interpretation of every other feature at the site; seeing one part of the site in a new light can affect the interpretation of the site as a whole. Conversely, a hasty interpretation can lead the assessment of the entire site astray. Thanks to this experience, I will know to weigh carefully the interpretive moves archaeologists make in their reports before I adopt their conclusions into my own arguments. Indeed, this kind of hermeneutical awareness will be useful in many areas of my future scholarship.

My experience also underscored the importance of regular correspondence within the scholarly community. While I was on the site, I learned about a number of as-yet unpublished discoveries which could have important ramifications for our understanding of Israelite religion. Working closely with archaeologists will help me to ensure that I remain aware of such crucial finds.

Working on this excavation has been a profoundly enlightening experience which will affect my approaches not only to archaeological data, but to biblical scholarship as a whole. I am deeply grateful to the Tam Intitute for their generosity, which made my participation possible.


Michael Karlin, Graduate Division of Religion

I traveled to New York City from September 4 to 7 to conduct ethnographic and archival research for my dissertation project: “Living the Chai Life: Judaism and Personal Development in the 21st Century.” I spent a portion of three days (Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) in the archives of the American Jewish Historical Society. During that time, I reviewed its collection of primary sources from the Jewish Counter Cultural Movement, Tikkun and Moment Magazines, and it’s collection of monographs dealing with psychology and Judaism.

On Tuesday afternoon, I traveled to Riverdale, New Jersey to conduct an hour and a half interview with Carl Gould. Carl is a renowned life coach and the professional trainer who is training the coaches of Chai Life International, one of my primary research sites. On Wednesday, I spent the entire day with a group of rabbis and lay people from Atlanta who traveled to Crown Heights for the day to visit the gravesite of the last Lubavitcher Rebbe and tour Crown Heights. Two of my primary research subjects were on this trip, and I spent the day conducting ethnographic research with them. On Thursday afternoon, I traveled to Crown Heights again to visit with Shimona Tzukernik, a Chabad rebbetzin who has launched a Kabbalah Coaching program. I interviewed her for an hour and a half, and as a result she has agreed to participate fully in my study. This was a very productive trip for me and has helped me successfully launch my dissertation research.


Katherine Maples, Candler School of Theology

In the summer of 2012, I worked with Dr. L. Michael White from the University of Texas on his excavation of the synagogue at Ostia, Italy. The program lasted one month (June 8-July 8), and was the eleventh summer dig season for the Ostia Synagogue Masonry Analysis and Excavation Project (OSMAP). Fifteen other graduate students from the Religious Studies and Classics departments joined our team, which came to total 33 members. During my time in Italy, I was also able to visit the sites at Pompeii, Naples, Herculaneum, Stabiae, and those throughout Rome.

The city of Ostia, located about 16 miles downstream from Rome, sits at the mouth of the Tiber River on the shores of western Italy. Traditionally thought to have been Rome’s first colony, Ostia derives its name from the Latinos(meaning “mouth”), and in ancient times the city served as Rome’s harbor town. Although Roman authors attributed its founding to their fourth king, Ancus Marcius, archaeological evidence dates the founding of the city to the fourth century BCE – approximately two hundred years later than the literary sources maintain. In the third and second centuries BCE, Ostia emerged as a more developed port, and the city began to benefit from the expanding markets throughout the Roman world. The steady growth of wealth, trade, population, and diversity would reach its zenith during the time of the emperors Trajan and Hadrian in the second century CE. With the influx of diverse travelers, temples to the traditional Roman deities like Jupiter, Castor and Pollux, or Hercules would now stand adjacent to religions from the East: Mithraism, Judaism, or Christianity.

The initial discovery of the synagogue was made in 1960, when a new highway was being built in the area. When they began to dig out the roadbed, far from where they thought the ancient city ended, they discovered more ruins. The area received preliminary excavation between 1961-1962 under the direction of Maria Floriana Squarciapino, then Superintendent of Ostia Antica. It is without doubt one of the oldest synagogues of the Greco-Roman world now known from archaeological remains, dating as early as the third century CE.In addition to the synagogue, the excavators also discovered a series of street front shops that faced onto the ancient road, a nymphaeum (fountain complex) adjacent to the synagogue, and a bath structure. Until recently, it was thought that the synagogue was located in what appeared to be a deserted spot, contributing to the idea that the Jewish people were a marginalized group. But after conducting research that consisted of such techniques as ground-penetrating radar and included the discoveries of the ancient highway and bath complex, it was revealed that the synagogue in fact existed in the center of the city’s commercial activity.

In 2001, under theauspicesof the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici di Ostia, the University of Texas began a multi-year, multi-dimensional campaign ofGIS survey < http://www.gis.com/whatisgis/>, analysis, drawing, measurement, excavation, and conservation at the ancient synagogue. The goal of the project is twofold: (1) to evaluate the architectural and archaeological phases of the synagogue itself,and (2) to study in more depth the urban quarter in which the synagogue was originally located. Our 2012 trenches were strategically placed to answer questions about the building phases of the synagogue complex. During this summer season, we had a number of interesting finds. On only the second day of excavation, we discovered a mosaic floor, consisting of a white field with black bands at the edges. Then, within the preparation layer for the plaster floor in Room 17, someone discovered a cluster of objects which included two dice, a small 4th-century coin, and a ceramic disc game piece. Throughout the dig season, we discovered more coins (including two Diva Faustina coins), whole amphorae, a lamp with a maker’s stamp in its base, and a piece of a lar (family tutelary deity). We also found structural elements such as wall foundations, steps or foundations from earlier building phases, various floor levels, and earlier phases of the Via Severiana highway that runs in front of the synagogue.


Jason Schulman, History

This summer I used a generous TIJS Summer Grant to conduct archival research at the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University. From August 13-24, I utilized the papers of Justine Wise Polier, Jennie Barron, and Harriet Pilpel to look at the experience of American Jewish women in their encounter with the law, as lawyers, judges, activists, and scholars. I was interested in these women because in addition to their substantive engagement with the law, I was curious as to how they balanced their multiple—sometimes overlapping, sometimes competing—identities.

The library was welcoming and conducive to work. After having undertaken a big research trip last summer to the Library of Congress, I was more comfortable in a large archival setting. Through paper (as opposed to online) finding aids and cross-references, I was able to find other collections that might be of help in the future. Related to this, I was also made aware that there are some separate Polier papers at Columbia University and Harriet Pilpel papers at Smith College, both of which I hope to utilize in the future.

Thus, in addition to the notes I took on my topic, I also gained a great deal of experience in how to conduct archival research. My research, however, was not without some setbacks and challenges. Earlier this summer, I was informed that my applications for research grants from the Schlesinger Library (which offers dissertation research grants of its own) and the Feinstein Center for American Jewish History at Temple University were not granted. Boston was more expensive than I anticipated, and had to pay more than I had planned out of pocket. Second, I was made aware that Polier’s papers, along with others that might be of interest, are microfilmed at the AJHS archive in Boston. I regret that I was not able to conduct research there, but would like to in the future. Third, and related, the Schlesinger Library’s retrieval schedule was affected by construction being performed in the building during the month.

Despite these challenges, I feel that I gained a great deal from this research trip, thanks to the Tam Institute grant. In addition to getting a sense of what is in the collections, I was able to take notes on much of the collections I went through. The summer research grant was invaluable to the trip. I could not have completed it without the travel grant. My next steps are to bring together the notes I collected from my trip together with secondary literature and begin to formulate my ideas. I hope to have enough interesting and original material to be able to put together a paper for a graduate workshop. In addition, I have applied to the American Academy for Jewish Research for funding for a series of workshops on Jews and the law, which I will find out about in a few weeks. I hope to continue to conduct research trips to carry out my project.


Nehemia Stern, Graduate Division of Religion

Thanks to the TIJS research grant I have been able to complete the bulk of the ethnographic research towards my dissertation. From an ethnographic perspective the dissertation will focus on contemporary religious Zionism in Israel. Most other studies on this topic have focused mainly on settlements in the West bank. My study looks at religious Zionism as a general theological movement that manifests itself in different ways and in different areas throughout Israel. From a methodological perspective my dissertation looks at how cultural anthropology may benefit from a serious consideration of theology.

The funding from TIJS allowed me to continue my research in various religious Zionist yeshivot, and to conduct chevrutot with various individuals. These study sessions have helped me in developing several original insights into religious Zionism in Israel.

1) Spiritual Neutrality of the Soul: many of the social and political tensions in Israel can be traced to specific perspectives of the soul. There is a very large school of thought in Judaism that believes the soul is very sensitive. That everything one does in life will either harm or help the soul. For others, there are certain substances, practices, ideas, which are spiritually neutral. They neither harm no help the soul. They are simply neutral. These are theological perspectives whose outlook bears serious consequences for how people act in the world. For example, if one thinks the soul is sensitive, then it becomes necessary to ask a rabbi concerning every decision one makes in life. And so we see for example the proliferation of SMS responsa among religious Zionists. If one believes the soul is sensitive (and every soul is sensitive in equivalent ways) debates pedagogical methods for Talmud study develop into larger debates surrounding the role of the individual in in Jewish life. These are just two examples, but there are many more.

2) Different definitions of sanctity imply different ways of engaging with politics and society. One school of religious Zionist thought believes that sanctity is transcendent, emerging in an otherworldly place, and it is the Jewish goal to achieve sanctity. Another school believes sanctity is immanent residing in this world, and Jews do not achieve sanctity, but rather actively produce it. These different understandings of sanctity lead to different perspectives on religious Zionism: communal vs. individualistic, messianic vs. pragmatic, apocalyptic vs. progressive. What’s interesting is that these differing perspectives don’t always fall out evenly on the theological spectrum.

3) Theological vectors of neo-liberalism. It is impossible to understand religious Zionism today without having a firm background is Hasidic thought. Hasidism is everywhere. This points to an individualistic view of the soul, humanity, politics, versus the classical communalism which had generally characterized religious Zionism (and Zionism in general).

The goal of the dissertation now is to connect these three theological observations to the ways in which they influence social and political implications.


Ariel Svarch, History

This summer I completed a four-week research trip to the British National Archives in London, Great Britain. The trip was made possible by the generous grant of the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies, which covered the airfare, and was a helpful step in my dissertation research.

In this trip, I surveyed the National Archives for references to the Jewish situation in Argentina, and I found an official report of the British Foreign Office on this very subject. Additionally, I found useful primary sources in several governmental files dealing either with Argentina or with the Jewish question. London was the home for several international Jewish institutions, so I welcomed the opportunity to visit and look for information that provided a new transnational angle to my study.

Thanks to the support of the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies, I was able to afford a visit to the British National Archives in order to advance my dissertation research. The trip offered an opportunity to move beyond local sources and investigate how the situation of Jews in Argentina looked like from abroad. This allows me to look at the local sources and developments through a transnational lens.


Summer 2011

Michael Chan, Candler School of Theology
Delivered a paper at the Society of Biblical Literature International Meeting in London, England.

Nehemia Stern, Graduate Division of Religion
Conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Israel: “Passions and Piety: An Ethnography of Contemporary Religious Zionism in Israel.”

Ira Bedzow, Candler School of Theology
Researched and interviewed colleagues on topics of study; presented a paper at the Shalem Center’s conference, “Philosophical Investigation of the Hebrew Bible, Talmud and Midrash.”

Jason Schulman, History
Conducted research at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC: “Jewish Lawyers Out of Bounds.”

Craig Perry, History
Conducted Geniza research and presented a paper at the biennial meeting of the Society for Judaeo-Arabic Studies (SJAS) in Cambridge, England.

Amanda Davis, Candler School of Theology
Attended an Intensive Hebrew Ulpan at the University of Haifa’s International School in Israel.

John Quant, Graduate Division of Religion
Attended the International Center of Septuagint Research at the Septuaginta Summer School at the University of Göttingen, Germany.

Zev Farber, Graduate Division of Religion
Participated in the summer dig in Tel Eton with Professor Avraham Faust (Bar‐Ilan University).


Academic Year 2011 - 2012

Nicole Baerg, Political Science
Hired an Israeli research assistant to code all relevant newspaper articles in two Israeli newspapers.

Ira Bedzow, Graduate Division of Religion
Attended the TAG Research Centre / Action Research Group meeting in London.

Jason Schulman, History
Attended four conferences: the Association of Jewish Studies in Washington, DC; the American Historical Association in Chicago, IL; Comparative Literature Conference in Long Beach, CA; and the Association for Law, Culture and the Humanities in Fort Worth, TX.


Summer 2010

Zev Farber, Graduate Division of Religion
Presented a paper at Colloquium Biblicum Loveniense in Leuven, Belgium and studied with Professor Binyamin Tsedakah at the A.B. Institute of Samaritan Studies in Holon, Israel.

Nate Hofer, Graduate Division of Religion
Conducted research at the National Library of Egypt in Cairo, Egypt.

Craig Perry, History
Received tutoring in modern academic Hebrew in Atlanta, GA.

Nehemia Stern, Graduate Division of Religion
Conducted preliminary field work exploring possible sites for ethnographic research in Israel.

Ariel Svarch, History
Received intensive Yiddish language training.


Summer 2009

Samira Mehta, Graduate Division of Religion
Conducted research in Philadelphia, PA.

Craig Perry, History
Participated in the intensive summer Arabic program at Middlebury College in Vermont.

Ariel Svarch, History
Conducted a research trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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