Four faculty members from the IC Jewish Studies program presented papers in December at the annual conference of the Jewish Studies Association in Boston. Their strikingly diverse topics were ancient Jewish magic, Holocaust representation in American Jewish fiction, Zionist songs from south India, and medieval French Jewish texts.
REBECCA LESSES, newly re-appointed assistant professor of Jewish Studies, gave a presentation on "Demons, Characters, and Angelic Alphabets: Pictorial Depictions of Ritual Power in Jewish Amulets and Texts." Her IC courses this semester include “Gender and Sexuality in Judaism" and "Introduction to Judaism" in addition to a new course, "Biblical Interpretation in Judaism and Christianity," which she is co-teaching with English professor Michael Twomey.
Jewish Studies Coordinator BARBARA C. JOHNSON, associate professor of Anthropology, gave her paper "From Rajah Mashiah to the Sion Sangam: Indian Cultural Elements in Cochin Jewish Women's Zionist Songs." This semester she is teaching "American Jewish Life," cross-listed in Anthropology and Sociology.
Assistant professor KIRSTEN FUDEMAN gave a presentation on medieval Biblical commentaries from northern France, "The Vernacular Gloss as a Reflection of Cultural Identity in the Work of Joseph Kara." She teaches French in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and is a member of the Jewish Studies Steering Committee, along with Lesses, Twomey, and Johnson.
NICOLA MORRIS presented a paper on "Golems, Rage, Grief, and Resistance in Thane Rosenbaum's Second Hand Smoke and The Golems of Gotham." A lecturer in the English department, she has offered two new courses at IC this year -- "Introduction to Global Jewish Literature" in the fall and "Introduction to Yiddish Literature" this spring, while completing her dissertation at Binghamton University.