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The University of Minnesota received a grant from the Schusterman Foundation to invite
an Israeli scholar to spend the academic year 2014-2015 with us. Professor Ido Zelkovitz
is a Research Fellow with the Ezri Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies at the
University of Haifa, and is a lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern History and the
Department of Multidisciplinary Studies. Dr. Zelkovitz was a postdoctoral research fellow inThe Institute of Sociology at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany. Dr. Zelkovtiz is also a Member of Mitvim - The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies: an independent think tank that envisions a fresh start for Israel among the nations. His research, academic courses, and public lectures reflect a focus on cross-disciplinary analysis of Palestinian history and politics and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Israel's geopolitical situation in the Middle East and the role of Higher Education and students in building national identities in the Middle East. He is the author of two books and has been published in many academic journals such as Middle Eastern Studies, Israel Affairs, and Ha-Mizrah Ha-Hadash.

While at the University of Minnesota, Prof. Zelkovitz will teach three courses, including a freshman seminar, "Wars, Memory, and Political Identity in Israel and the Middle East" in the Fall. He will also teach adult education courses at both the Minneapolis and St. Paul Jewish Community Centers, and will give CJS' second Community Lecture of the season at Temple of Aaron on October 22, 2014.

Steven Cohen's lecture now on Youtube

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On Monday, June 16, 2014, Professor Steven M. Cohen spoke to the community at Temple Israel, giving a talk entitled, "Reflections on the Most Important Study of American Jewry in the 21st Century: "Portrait of Jewish Americans" by the Pew Center for Religion and American Life." A video of that talk is now available to watch on the Center's Youtube channel.

One of the less known dimensions of the history of World War II was how Jews living under French colonial rule in North Africa were devastated by the fall of France and the establishment of the French collaborationist government of Vichy in 1940. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, DC has in recent years amassed a considerable archive related to the Jews of North Africa during the war and has encouraged scholars to research this subject.

In June 2010, Daniel Schroeter, the Amos S. Deinard Memorial Chair in Jewish History at the University of Minnesota, and former director of the Center for Jewish Studies, co-taught a research workshop at the USHMM and began studying their voluminous collection of documents. He will be returning to Washington, DC, having been awarded the Ina Levine Invitational Scholar Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the USHMM for the 2014-2015 academic year.

During Schroeter's residency at the USHMM, he will be conducting research for a book on the subject of Vichy and the Jews in the protectorate of Morocco. Jews under French colonial rule were legally classified as indigenous Moroccan subjects of the sultan, a ruler whose power was limited and controlled by the French administration. The anti-Jewish laws, instigated by the central Vichy government in France, and promulgated in Morocco by the French protectorate authorities as royal decrees signed by the sultan Mohammed Ben Youssef, revealed the racism and discrimination inherent in the colonial system and the ambivalent position of the Moroccan monarchy and the Muslim population towards the Jews.

Research conducted at the Center will focus on the legal, social, and economic impact of the Vichy regime on the Moroccan Jewish communities, the response of the Muslim leaders and population to the anti-Jewish measures implemented in different parts of the country, and the contested politics of remembrance of World War II in Morocco.

For more information on Daniel Schroeter, please click here.

Congratulations to our Outstanding Students

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The 2014 Goldenberg Prize for the best essay in Jewish Studies was awarded to three students: Daniela Goldfine (Spanish and Portuguese Studies), for her paper, "Acts of Memory in the Jewish Argentine Cinematic Present;" Shaun Williams-Wyche (Political Science), for his paper, "The Effects of the Direct Elections for Prime Minister on Party Campaigning and Perception in Israel;" and to Ian Nelson (Religious Studies, Biblical Studies, Classics), for his paper, "Hellenistic Judaism(s): The Epistle of Aristeas, Maccabean Literature, and Intrasectarian Apologetic."

The 2014 Theresa and Nathan Berman Graduate Fellowship in Jewish Studies and the Leo and Lillian Gross Scholarship in Jewish Studies were awarded to Adelia Chrysler, Moritz Meutzner, and Daniela Goldfine.

The Leo and Lillian Gross Undergraduate Scholarship in Jewish Studies was awarded to two students, Benjamin Portnoe and Shira Lavintman.

The Professor Jonathan Paradise Prize for Modern Hebrew Study was awarded to Blake Olsen.

The annual Professor Jonathan Paradise Fund for Modern Hebrew Language book prizes were awarded to Isabel Eisenstadt, Blake Olsen, Wendy Freund and Lisa Hoff.

Blake Olsen won the outstanding award in Biblical Hebrew.

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A lecture by Steven M. Cohen
Monday, June 16, 2014
Temple Israel
2324 Emerson Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55405
Free and open to the public

The recently completed national survey of American Jews conducted by the Pew Research Forum revealed dramatic variations in population patterns. These results have created major debates among scholars and communal leaders, as the widely-cited study points to several challenges for American Jewry. While the Orthodox population is surging, other groups appear to be in decline. What does the future hold for the size and profile of American Jews? How can communal policies address some of these trends?

Carol Zemel's Community Lecture now on Youtube

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On Monday, April 28th, 2014, Professor Carol Zemel spoke to the community at Adath Jeshurun Congregation, giving a talk entitled, "Partial Visions: Art Today in Israel." A video of that talk is now available to watch on the Center's Youtube channel.

Spring 2014 scholarships announced

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The Center for Jewish Studies will once again be awarding several scholarships for University of Minnesota undergrads and graduate students. We are now accepting applications for the following awards and grants. The due date is Friday, April 4, 2014. Please contact us at or 612-624-4914 with any questions.

CJS has moved!

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The Center for Jewish Studies has a new home! We are now located in 251 Nicholson Hall (just up one floor from our previous office.) Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9am until 3pm, or by appointment. Please stop by and say hello!


(Click here to view the original statement on the President's website.)

December 27, 2013

The American Studies Association's recent resolution boycotting Israeli higher education institutions is troubling. While the ASA's action appears to limit only the association's professional activities, and not the scholarly activities of individual faculty members, I believe that such boycotts undermine academic freedom, which is a fundamental value of American higher education.

Both the Association of American Universities and the American Association of University Professors have opposed this boycott and I support those actions. The AAU, of which the University of Minnesota is a member, issued the following statement that also reflects my views on the matter:

"The Executive Committee of the Association of American Universities strongly opposes a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Three U.S. scholarly organizations have now expressed support for such a boycott. Any such boycott of academic institutions directly violates academic freedom, which is a fundamental principle of AAU universities and of American higher education in general.

Academic freedom is the freedom of university faculty responsibly to produce and disseminate knowledge through research, teaching, and service, without undue constraint. It is a principle that should not be abridged by political considerations. American colleges and universities, as well as like institutions elsewhere, must stand as the first line of defense against attacks on academic freedom.

Efforts to address political issues, or to address restrictions on academic freedom, should not themselves infringe upon academic freedom. Restrictions imposed on the ability of scholars of any particular country to work with their fellow academics in other countries, participate in meetings and organizations, or otherwise carry out their scholarly activities violate academic freedom. The boycott of Israeli academic institutions therefore clearly violates the academic freedom not only of Israeli scholars but also of American scholars who might be pressured to comply with it. We urge American scholars and scholars around the world who believe in academic freedom to oppose this and other such academic boycotts."

The University of Minnesota Center for Jewish Studies is pleased to present its Eleventh Annual Community Lecture Series, in cooperation with synagogues and other sponsoring partners across Minneapolis and St. Paul. Join us as writers, thinkers, and scholars from varied fields address intriguing questions relevant to the Jewish experience today.

This series is made possible by a generous gift in memory of Julia K. & Harold Segall.

Events are free and open to the public. A reception follows each lecture.

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