Program History


History of Jewish Studies at KU

The Center of Global and International Studies and the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Kansas host the Jews in the Americas conference, April 18th and 19th. This hybrid and interdisciplinary conference brings together scholars from a variety of fields, including history, religion, sociology, politics, anthropology, literature, and the arts, to explore the rich and diverse experiences of Jews in the Americas. The conference includes online panels of original research on Yiddish in South America, Israel-related connections, Jewish art, culture, and identity, Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews, Speculative fiction, Jewish women, Antisemitism, and Jewish education and pedagogy. The conference features in-person components: two keynote speakers, a conference reception at the Spencer Museum of Art, and an exhibit about the history of Kansas Jewry at KU Hillel. Interpretation is provided from/to Spanish and Portuguese in selected panels. While this event is hybrid, with most sessions online, we welcomed participants to visit us at the main conference venue, Sabatini Multicultural Resource Center on the KU campus in Lawrence.

Summer: Dr. Rami Zeedan becomes interim director of Jewish Studies for academic year 2023-2024 while Dr. RB Perelmutter is on research sabbatical leave.

Fall: Dr. Eliah Bures joins the Jewish Studies faculty as a lecturer and teaches the course Antisemitism: A Long History. Mr. Asaf Day, a doctoral student in the Political Science department joins the program as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. Dr. Bogi Tak├ícas Perelmutter is promoted to Assistant Teaching Professor with a joint Slavic, German, & East Asian Studies (SGES) and Jewish Studies appointment. Dr. Omri Senderowicz joins the Jewish Studies Program for a two year appointment as the Israel Institute Fellow and the Assistant Visiting Professor in Jewish Studies.

Dr. Noa Balf joins the Jewish Studies Program for a two year appointment as the Israel Institute Fellow and the Assistant Visiting Professor in Jewish Studies.

Dr. Shelly Cline, Director of the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education, joins the Jewish Studies Program to teach courses in Jewish History and Gender.

Dr. Rami Zeedan is appointed Director of Undergraduate Studies for Jewish Studies.

Summer: Dr. Renee Perelmutter is appointed to Director of Jewish Studies.

Spring: Dr. Rami Zeedan is appointed Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies Program.

Fall: Rami Zeedan hired as Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and Political Science

Jewish Studies hosts a one-day writing workshop and symposium called "Writing Jewish: Midrash, Myth and Miracle" on October 21st.

Fall: Dr. Renee Perelmutter is appointed Director of Undergraduate Studies for Jewish Studies.

Spring: Dr. Renee Perelmutter, Associate Professor of Slavic Languages & Literatures, moves 1/4 of their teaching line to Jewish Studies, thus expanding the programs offerings.

Fall: A major in Jewish Studies is approved by the College.

Dr. John Younger becomes Director of Jewish Studies and Jewish Studies becomes an independent unit.

Dr. Eric Welch is a hired as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Jewish Studies.

Jewish Studies hosts the 27th Annual Conference of the Midwestern Jewish Studies Association on Oct 18-19.

Dr. Sam Brody is hired by Religious Studies and will go on to teach and develop courses for both Jewish Studies and Religious Studies.

Dr. Gal Levy is appointed Schusterman Visiting Assistant Professor, funded by American-Israeli Cooperative Institute and joins the Jewish Studies faculty.

Fall: Study abroad programs to Israel for KU students are approved.

Dr. John Younger, Professor of Classics, becomes Associate Director of Center for Global and International Studies for Jewish Studies.

Dr. Paul Nahme hired by Religious Studies. Dr. Nahme will go on to teach courses relevant to Jewish Studies.

Fall: Program shifted to the Center for Global & International Studies.

Dr. Nimrod Rosler is appointed Schusterman Visiting Assistant Professor, funded by American-Israeli Cooperative Institute.

 

Fall: Dr. Lynn Davidman is appointed Director of Jewish Studies.

Shelley Rissien is hired as the Hebrew Language Coordinator.

Dr. Henry Bial is appointed Interim Director of Jewish Studies.

Fall: Dr. Molly Zahn is appointed to tenure track in Religious Studies.

Fall: Dr. Lynn Davidman is appointed as the Robert M. Beren Distinguished Professor in Modern Jewish Studies (joint appointment, Religious Studies and Sociology) and Director of Jewish Studies.

Dr. Renee Perelmutter is hired to teach Yiddish in the Slavic department.

Fall: Dr. Molly Zahn becomes a lecturer in Religious Studies.

Cheryl Lester, Chair of American Studies, is acting director of Jewish Studies.

Dr. Sergei Dolgopolski is hired by Religious Studies to teach Jewish texts, traditions and thought.

Fall: Dr. Jonathan Boyarin becomes the Robert M. Beren Distinguished Professor in Modern Jewish Studies, Religious Studies.

Sari Havis is hired to supervise Hebrew Language Program.

September: The Robert M. Beren Foundation of Wichita gives $500,000 to the Kansas University Endowment Association to create the Beren Professorship; a matching $500,000 gift was provided from the Hall Family Foundation of Kansas City, MO. Reobert Beren is owner and chairman of Berexco Inc., an oil and gas exploration company based in Kansas and is chairman of Beren Corp., an oil and gas production and securities investment company. His foundation provides grants in higher education, human services and Jewish organizations, among others.

Fall: A minor in Jewish Studies is available to students for the first time, offered within Religious Studies.

Professor David Katzman (American Studies) oversees the Jewish Studies Committee.

Rabbi Morris Margolies offers courses in Jewish history in the History Department.

Fall: S. Daniel Breslauer is hired in Religious Studies to teach Jewish studies.