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Faculty News: Fall 2013

David BlumenthalDAVID R. BLUMENTHAL was elected to the Academic Council of the European Academy of Sciences as a representative of the socio-economic sciences and the humanities. He continued to curate the exhibit of Salvador Dali’s print series “Aliyah, the Rebirth of Israel” and to speak at its openings at various venues around the country. He served as Director of Undergraduate Studies for TIJS for 2012-13.

Oded BorowskiODED BOROWSKI continues as director of field excavations of the Lahav Research Project, Phase IV. His latest publication is Lahav III: Tell Halif; Site 72 Cemetery, in press at Eisenbr5auns. He also contributed chapters to Abraham Faust (Ed.), The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Archaeology (Oxford University Press), Adel Berlin and Marc Bretler (Ed.), and Jewish Study Bible, Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (Walter de Gruyter). With Seung Ho Bang, Kook Young Yoon, and Yuval Goren, he presented the paper “A Petrographic Provenance Analysis of Cuboid Limestone Incense Altars from Tell Halif and Their Implications” at the annual meeting of the American Society of Oriental Research at Chicago in November. With the same collaborators, he presented the paper “Incense and Internationalism: Rectangular Limestone Altars from Tell Halif and their Implications” at the conference “Gods, Objects, and Ritual Practice in Ancient Mediterranean Religions” at Atlanta in March. For TIJS, he served on the Director’s Advisory Board and the Undergraduate Committee.

Catherine DanaCATHERINE DANA served on the Undergraduate Committee for TIJS during the 2012-13 academic year and also on the Tenenbaum Lecture Committee, coordinating the seminar presented by Dinah Assouline Stillman. For the Department of French & Italian, she coordinated the visit of Claire Denis to campus as the finale of the film series Festival Claire Denis, also participating in the Creativity Conversation with the filmmaker along with Richard Neupart. In March, she presented the paper “The Fragmented Faces of Claire Denis” to the 20th/21st Century French Colloquium at Georgia Tech.

William GildersWILLIAM GILDERS served on the Graduate Committee for TIJS during 2012-13, as well as on the Department of Religion’s Curriculum Committee and the Emory Scholars Faculty Advisory Committee. His article “Hatta’t as ‘Sin Offering’” is in press in Saul M. Olyan (Ed.), Festschrift for Stanley K. Stowers. He presented the paper “Ancient Israelite Sacrifice as Symbolic Action: Theoretical Reflections” to the Swedish Exegetical Society in Upsalla, Sweden, in September.

Hazel GoldHAZEL GOLD served on the Graduate Committee for TIJS during 2012-13, as well as on several departmental committees. She was elected to serve on the Emory College Governance Committee beginning in fall 2013. In January, she presented the paper “Spanish and the Monolingual International” to the MLA annual conference in Boston, and the paper has been submitted for publication by the ADFL Bulletin as “Spanish and the Monolingual International: A Cautionary Tale.” Among the papers she presented during the year were “Traveling Woman: On the Road to Spain at the End of Empire” at the Mid-America Conference on Hispanic Literatures in Lincoln, Nebraska, in October; and “Epistolary Texts, the Spanish Post, and Literary History” also at the MLA annual conference.

Eric L. GoldsteinERIC L. GOLDSTEIN is completing his first year as Judith London Evans Director of TIJS. Along with graduate student Jason Schulman, he received a grant from the American Academy of Jewish Research to organize the lecture series “Jews and ‘Others’ Confront the Law in Atlanta.” His chapter “The Struggle Over Yiddish in Postimmigrant America” recently appeared in Hasia R. Diner and Gennady Estraikh (Ed.) 1929: Mapping the Jewish World, New York and London. At the AJS annual conference in Chicago in December, he presented the paper “People of the Pamphlet: Eastern European Jewish Immigrants, Literacy, and the Rise of a Mass Market for Yiddish in the United States,” and he served as moderator for the panel “Making Sense of American Antisemitism.” In March, he gave the paper “Beyond the ‘Shtetl’: Networks of Kinship Among Jews in Small-Town Lithuania and its Diaspora” at the University of Illinois, and in April, he presented the paper “’Sociability and Bright Talk’: East Side Cafés and the Jewish Immigrant Public Sphere” at Princeton University. He is a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians, a Fellow of the Sami Rohr Institute for Jewish Literature, and in 2012 he received the Joseph L. Arnold Prize from the Baltimore City Historical Society for his essay on Baltimore history, “How German Were ‘German’ Jews in America in the Nineteenth Century? A View from Baltimore.”

Naama HarelNAAMA HAREL served on the Undergraduate Committee for TIJS during 2012-13 as well as coordinating the Hebrew language program in the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies and serving on the executive committee of the Emory College Language Center. She directed the honors project of undergraduate Sara Ruth Faber entitled “Between Babylon and Zion: The Concept of Home in Eli Amir’s ‘The Dove Flyer’ and ‘Scapegoat.’” She developed and taught HEBREW 435R, Hebrew of the Israeli Media, using Blackboard, an active blog site, and Skype to interview a recent participant in an Israeli reality TV show. Her article “Compassion for Animals in the Hebrew Revival Literature” was published in Hador: The Hebrew Annual of America, and her article “’Will two walk together, except they have agreed?’: Integrating Biblical Texts in the Teaching of Modern Hebrew” appeared in Hebrew Higher Education: A Journal for Methodology and Pedagogy for Teaching. Among the papers she presented this year were “Kafka’s Metamorphosis: 100 Years of Animal Solitude” at the conference “minding Animals: Building Bridges between Science, the Humanities, and Ethics” at Utrecht University in the Netherlands in July; “Sallah on the Roof: Comparing Mizrahi-Jewish and Ostjuden Archetypes” at the AJS annual conference in Chicago in December; and “Epistemological Hybridity in Franz Kafka’s ‘The Burrow’ and ‘Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk’” at the American Comparative Literature Association annual conference in Toronto in April.

Benjamin HaryBENJAMIN HARY is director of the Program in Linguistics at Emory and during 2012-13 served as chair of the Tenenbaum Committee for TIJS. His article “Religiolinguistics: On Jewish-, Christian-, and Muslim-Defined Languages,” with Martin J. Wein, was published in the International Journal for the Sociology of Language, and his chapter “Corpus Linguistics and Hebrew” is in press in Geoffrey Khan (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics. Among his many presentations were “Spoken Egyptian Judeo-Arabic as Reflected in Written Forms” at the First International Conference on Written Arabic at Hebrew University in Jerusalem in June; “Israel as a Bi-Lingual State: The Politics of Judeo-Arabic” at the Karen and Pace Robinson Lecture Series on Modern Israel at the University of Tennessee in August and as part of the TIJS Seminar Series in Jewish Studies in November; “What is the Jewish Linguistic Spectrum? On the Connection between Language and Religion” at the North American Conference on Afro Asiatic Linguistics at Yale University in February; and “Not Just Yiddish and Ladino: On the Phenomenon of Jewish Languages” at the Israel Studies Program of the University of Calgary in September.

Jeffrey LesserJEFFREY LESSER continues to serve as Chair of the Department of History. Along with representatives of Tulane University and Vanderbilt University, he has created a new summer study abroad program in Sao Paulo, Brazil, which he directed this past summer. His book Immigration, Ethnicity and National Identity in Brazil was published by Cambridge University Press, and his chapter “Brasil, Israel y el voto ‘esionismo-racismo’ in las Naciones Unidas” appeared in Raanan Rein (Ed.), Mas Allá de Medio Oriente: Las Diasporas judiá y árabe en América Latina.

Deborah LipstadtDEBORAH LIPSTADT’s latest book The Eichmann Trial was selected by the Library of Congress for inclusion in its Talking Books program. Her chapter “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion on the American Landscape: Historical Artifact or Current Threat?” appeared in Richard Landes and Steven Katz (Ed.’s), The Paranoid Apocalypse. Among her many presentations during the year were the talk “The Courtroom as a Tool for Genocide Prevention” to the Holocaust Educational Trust at Trinity College, Dublin, in August; “Holocaust Studies: An Assessment of a Field” at the Jan Karski Institute for Holocaust Education, Georgetown University in July; “Genocide Denial: Denying Inconvenient History” to the conference on Armenian, Holocaust, and Tutsi Genocide Denial at the Kigali Genocide Center in Rwanda in July; and “Holocaust Denial in America and Europe” at the Global Interparliamentary Forum on Antisemitism in Jerusalem in May. She continues to serve on the US Holocaust Memorial Council overseeing the US Holocaust Museum, a presidential appointment, now serving on the Executive Committee as well. She is also an academic advisor to the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, helping to develop academic seminars on genocide prevention for government, military, and NGO officials from Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia.

Ellie SchainkerELLIE SCHAINKER was on leave during fall 2012. She received a course development grant from the Department of History to create the new course History 385, “Jews and Capitalism,” to be offered in the near future. Her article “Jewish Conversion in an Imperial Context: Confessional Choice and Multiple Baptisms in Nineteenth-Century Russia” was accepted for publication in the journal Jewish Social Studies. In November, she organized the panel “Jewish Eastern Europe ‘Unbounded’: Individual and Ideological Border Crossings” for the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) conference in New Orleans and presented her own paper “Russian-Jewish Underground Networks for Runaway Converts: Challenging Orthodox Hegemony along the Empire’s Western Borders.” She presented the paper “The Dangers of Confessional Intimacy: Conversion and Religious violence in the Shtetls of Imperial Russia” at the conference “Micropolitics of Small Town Life in Eastern Europe” at the University of Illinois in March. She participated in a discussion of scholarship and teaching at the AAJR Early Career Workshop at New York University in May. For TIJS, she was a member of the Undergraduate Committee and the Strategic Planning Committee.

Don SeemanDON SEEMAN received major multi-year grants from the Social Science Research Council and the Mind and Life Institute to support his project on Neighborhood Mystics, an ethnographic study of Hasidic modernism, and his project comparing Hasidic and Buddhist contemplative practices. He also organized the Forum for the Ethnographic Study of Religion at Emory and hosted the visit of Moshe Idel to Emory to give a public lecture and a faculty and graduate student seminar. He convened a round table of senior scholars looking at the relationship between theology and ethnography and edited the online student journal Practical Matters resulting from those sessions. His article “Reasons for the Commandments as Contemplative Practice in Maimonides” appeared in the Jewish Quarterly Review, and the chapter “Circumcision: The Sign of the Covenant” appeared in Ellen Idler (Ed.) Religion and Public Health. His presentations included “Revisiting Modernity’s Bargain: Public Practice and Mystical Subjectivity in Contemporary Chabad” at the American Anthropological Association annual meeting in San Francisco in November; “Epic Expositions: The Ayin Bet Discourses and the Mystical Thought of Rabbi Sholom DovBer Schneersohn” at New York University in September; and “Towards a Comparative Contemplative Ethnography” at the Society for Anthropology of Religion at Pasadena in April. He served as chair of the Jewish Religious Cultures program in the Graduate Division of Religion and served on the Graduate Committee in TIJS.

Miriam UdelMIRIAM UDEL was on leave during 2012-13 with a fellowship from the University Research Committee to complete her first book. She received a National Yiddish Book Center Translation Fellowship , one of the inaugural cohort of Translation Fellows, for her project of an anthology of Yiddish children’s literature. In October, she presented the paper “Demonstrosities: Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Post-war” to the Lavy Colloquium at Johns Hopkins University, and in December, she presented the paper “Demobilized Soldiers, Demobilized Jews” at the Association for Jewish Studies annual conference in Chicago. Her presentation “Sholem Aleichem and the Swindle of Modernity” was part of TIJS’ Seminar Series in Jewish Studies in February. For TIJS, she participated in the Strategic Planning Committee.

Jacob WrightMaking a DifferenceJACOB WRIGHT served as Director of Graduate Studies for TIJS during 2012-13. His book Making a Difference: Essays in Honor of Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, coedited with David Clines and Kent Richards, was published by Sheffield Phoenix Press in 2012, including his chapter “The Book of Ruth as an Alternative to the Book of Judges.” Published articles included “King and Eunuch: A Study of Self-Preservation (Isaiah 56:3-5)” in the Journal of Biblical Literature, in addition to a number of chapters in edited volumes. Last October, he participated in a conference “Ancient Greece and Ancient Israel: Interactions and Parallels (10th-4th Centuries BCE)” at Tel Aviv University and delivered his paper “Aegean War Commemoration, the Ancient Near East, and the Bible.” In March he delivered the lecture “Who Wrote the Bible? 21st Century Perspectives,” the 2013 Stone Lectureship in Judaism at Augustana College, and in May he gave the lecture “Urbicide: ANE Perspectives on the Ritual Killing of cities in Image, Text, and Practice” at the Brown Moskow Symposium “Theorizing Ritual Violence” at Brown University. In December he was scholar in residence at Valley Beth Midrash in Phoenix and gave the lecture “The Bible and the Vision for Our Future.” His recent interview can be seen at With several others, he has created the Jewish Facebook page, found at


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