Thursday, September 22, 2011

For Graduate Students: Two Summer Schools in Jewish Studies

This is for graduate students:

I've recently received announcements for two different summer programs related to Jewish studies. I know people involved in both and both should be good programs.

1) Summer 2012 : Advanced summer school in rabbinic literature

The department of Hebrew Culture Studies of Tel Aviv University announces the establishment of a new intensive 6-week summer school in rabbinic literature. The program’s aim is to enhance textual, linguistic and philological skills for advanced students of Jewish and Religious studies.

The program is tailored for English speaking students with a high level of Rabbinic Hebrew who are interested in acquiring reading skills in Talmud and Midrash. It will provide advanced scholarly training in rabbinic literature and culture, while exposing the students to current scholarship and leading Israeli experts in the field.

The program will consist of two courses, Midrashic Hermeneutics and Mishnaic Hebrew. Both will be taught in English, each taught 4 hours, twice a week and will comprise of two credits (one of which is a language credit). Both courses will focus on reading skills and are meant to improve textual capacities essential to academic research in rabbinic studies and adjacent fields. In addition, students can choose to participate in an additional credited thematic course in the Jewish magical tradition, without additional fee.

To enhance students’ understanding of the historical contexts of the texts studied, the program will integrate visits to key locations in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as well as to various archeological digs. During these visits, students will examine relevant literary sources in situ. Among the sites are Masada, Qumran, Beit Shearim, the Bible Museum in Jerusalem and more

This program is a unique opportunity to enjoy an enriching academic experience in English, in Israel. Its intellectual home in the department of Hebrew Culture Studies at Tel Aviv University, the single largest integrative Jewish Studies department in the world today, enables us to cover a wide range of methodologies and scholarly interests, while maintaining the highest standards of academic excellence. In addition, as an international program, students will get the chance to meet with scholars and students from around the world.

The cost: $ 2500 covering tuition, health insurance, tours and entrance to sites.

The application process will be open in January 2012. For more information, please contact the coordinator, Emilie Levy at

2) The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Katz Center are delighted to announce a new summer school in Judaic studies for students pursuing doctoral studies in all fields of Judaic studies. The summer school will be held alternately in Jerusalem and Philadelphia, beginning in the summer of 2012 in Israel (July 8–17, 2012). The 2012 session will take place in northern Israel, future seminars will be held at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem and at the Katz Center. The school is open to all graduate students in the first three years of their studies and will offer full or partial fellowships to successful candidates for travel and living expenses depending on need. The objective of the school is to expand the academic horizons of the participants by exposing them to new approaches and new areas of study in Jewish civilization. In small seminar settings focused on specific textual readings with senior faculty and with some of the best and brightest students from North America, Europe, and Israel, we hope to create a sense of social and intellectual connection among all participants, enhancing their relationships with each other and with other fields beyond their specific areas of specialization. The summer school will also take advantage of the rich scholarly resources of both Jerusalem and Philadelphia by arranging visits to libraries, archives, museums, and other institutions of special value to the participants. The school will be jointly directed by Professor Israel Yuval of the Hebrew University and Professor David Ruderman of the University of Pennsylvania who will be joined by a team of four additional faculty and other academic guests carefully chosen to enhance the special intellectual ambiance the school hopes to foster.

Mingled identities: Rethinking the notion of identity in Jewish culture

The first summer school session will probe the meaning of Jewish identity across the sweep of Jewish history. Recent scholarship on the history of Judaism as well as the history of western religions in general has moved away from the narratives of religious conflict and separation (e.g., the “the parting of the ways”). Instead of border maintenance, scholars increasingly speak of border crossings, socio-cultural mixing, hybridity, and mingled identities when examining the histories of interaction between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Such explorations have challenged the meaning of Jewish culture itself. What elements in specific Jewish cultures can we speak of as enduring or internal, and how are these ideas themselves created and disseminated? Is it not more productive to examine Jewish cultures at their borders, at their sites of cultural contact and exchange with other cultures, rather than merely to study them in isolation in search of their essential nature?

Through an intense seminar format of reading primary texts and contexts, students will explore these questions with a seasoned faculty of distinguished scholars and teachers representing variegated fields and approaches to Jewish studies, as they emerge from close readings in original languages and open discussion.


The faculty includes the two codirectors, Israel J. Yuval (Hebrew University; medieval Jewish history), and David B. Ruderman (University of Pennsylvania; early modern Jewish history and thought); as well as Richard I. Cohen (Hebrew University; history of modern Jewish culture); Ada Rapoport-Albert (University College London; Kabbalah, Sabbateanism and Hasidism); Isaiah Gafni (Hebrew University; history of rabbinic culture); and Marina Rustow (The Johns Hopkins University; medieval middle eastern history, interactions between Judaism and Islam).


Applications should be submitted to, and are due by November 15, 2011. Successful candidates will be notified by February 15, 2012.

Applicants should provide the following data:

1. Application form, found here. (Once you have filled out the form, please save it and submit it electronically with the other materials listed below)

2. A statement describing your intellectual interests (not more than 1 page)

3. An academic transcript

4. Two letters of recommendation from teachers and/or academic advisers

While all teaching and discussion will occur in English, a strong reading knowledge of Hebrew will be required of all participants.

Students who are accepted for 2012 may choose to apply next fall as well for the 2013 summer session in Philadelphia, as the themes and faculty will change each year.

For more information on the program and how to apply, please contact Ms. Maya Sherman at:

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