The Jewish Studies Program, along with the Jewish Student Union and the Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service, hosted a successful, well-attended, lunch and learn with author and professor David Ebenbach on Sept. 8th. A discussion of the creative partnership between humanity and God in Genesis was followed by shared writing exercises.
The Jewish Student Union sponsored a Taste of Jewish Life Fair in early September. Representatives from Jewish groups across campus were represented, including the Jewish Studies Program. Many students attended and we had a chance to meet freshman and to welcome back many other familiar students.
On October 25th, the Jewish Studies Program and the Middle East Center co-sponsored a lecture by Elan Ezrachi, the author of a recently published book in Hebrew, Awakened Dream – 50 Years of Complex Unification of Jerusalem. More than 70 people, mostly Northeastern students, attended the talk. Dr. Ezrachi began by introducing himself as a third generation native to Jerusalem, and he recounted his family’s history in Jerusalem. He then discussed the complex history of Jerusalem from the British Mandate
through to the current day, illustrating his lecture with personal stories, maps, and photographs. Dr. Ezrachi focused on the political, economic, and social changes brought about by the unification of Jerusalem as a result of Israel’s victory in the 1967 “Six Day War.”
On November 1, Professor Avishalom Westreich gave a public class about the role of Jewish law within Israeli law. He asked the question, “Is it possible to have religious law in a modern state?” and proceeded to answer the question by examining how Jewish law adapts to new challenges, how it has influenced Israeli constitutional law, and how Israeli legal decisions strive to balance civil law and Jewish religious law. As examples, he cited court cases regarding surrogate pregnancy from posthumous fertilization, and issues of divorce. Prof. Westreich explained how religious law has led to the current status of chained wives, or “agunot,” in cases where the husband is refusing to give a religious divorce, and how he sees the civil courts moving to solve the problem.
For the Fourth Annual Israel Studies Lecture on November 27th, Professor Gershon Shafir,
Distinguished Professor at UC San Diego, spoke to an audience of 75 students, faculty, and community members on the topic of “Occupational Risks: Israel in the West Bank.” Based on research from his most recent book, Professor Shafir reviewed some of the history, terminology, legalities, and facts on the ground of Israel’s presence in the West Bank. He argued that while Israel has to cope with various limitations in overseeing this territory, which he delineated, in the political arena changing approaches to the language that describes what had been
called the “occupation” and changing policies serve to create a psychic barrier between left and right both in Israeli society and abroad. Professor Shafir cautiously expressed the view that a two-state solution is still feasible and desirable.
On the second night of Chanukah, the Jewish Studies Program, along with the Jewish Student Union, Chabad, and the Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service, hosted a Chanukah party for over 125 students, faculty, and guests. Rabbi Becky Silverstein led a candle-lighting service, followed by Chanukah music from “Too Klez for Comfort,” featuring Northeastern’s
own Professor Phil Brown. Attendees feasted on latkes and doughnuts, played dreidel, and ate chocolate gelt. It was a great way to celebrate Chanukah and the end of the semester.
Read the rest of the Spring 2018 Haverim newsletter here: