Welcome to the Fall Semester!

Dear Jewish Studies Community,

Welcome to the Fall semester! I hope this newsletter finds you and your loved ones well. There is a lot happening in the Jewish Studies Program, and I want to provide you with updates, introduce funding opportunities for our students, deliver news about our faculty, and more.

Last Spring, the Jewish Studies Program moved to a new location. Our wonderful suite is already a space that serves our students, as well as our staff and faculty. If you haven’t visited yet, please visit us at Wescoe 4017.

This academic year, our Director, Dr. RB Perelmutter, will be on research sabbatical leave. We thank Dr. Perelmutter for their steadfast leadership over the past four years. I’m honored to take over for the 2023-24 academic year as the Acting Director of the Jewish Studies Program until Dr. Perelmutter returns in the summer of 2024. It is a privilege to serve this community and I look forward to working with you.
This Fall, we are welcoming three new teaching colleagues and celebrating the promotion of one of our lecturers.

Dr. Omri Senderowicz joins us this Fall as the VAP in Israel Studies for 2023-2025. Omri is a historian and anthropologist with a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, focusing on the Israeli kibbutz and its transition from socialism to capitalism. His research and scholarly interests intersect with the history of socialism, anthropology of ethics, and Israel Studies. Omri was selected for the job, which is supported by the Israel Institute, following a competitive international search.

Dr. Eliah Bures joins us as a lecturer for Fall 2023. Eliah is a historian with a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, focusing on modern European history. His research focuses on modern German history, interwar fascism and its historical afterlives.

Mr. Asaf Day joined the Program as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for Fall 2023. Asaf is a doctoral student in the Political Science Department with an interest in religious terrorism, state-sponsored terrorism, international conflict, and Israeli politics.

Dr. Bogi Takácas Perelmutter has been promoted to Assistant Teaching Professor with a joint Slavic, German, & East Asian Studies (SGES) and Jewish Studies appointment. Bogi's interests include various linguistic and societal aspects of Hungarian and Jewish cultures, their wider historical-political context, and their interactions (including Translation Studies). Dr. Perelmutter has already taught SGES courses and important courses in Jewish Studies, such as Mystical Tradition in Judaism and Jewish Ethics. We are thankful for the collaboration with SGES, which helped finalize this position.

These new faculty members are a great addition to our extraordinary team. With their continuous dedication, we are able to offer a rich and exciting assembly of Fall classes, including Hebrew language at all levels taught by Ms. Shelley Rissien, “The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” and “Israeli Society: Cultural Making and Unmaking” (Dr. Omri Senderowicz), “Politics &Government in Israel” (Dr. Rami Zeedan and Mr. Asaf Day), “First-year seminar: Life, Death, and Afterlife in Modern Israeli Society” (Dr. Rami Zeedan),  “Antisemitism: A Long History” (Dr. Eliah Bures), “Language, Gender and Sexuality” and “Mystical Tradition in Judaism” (Dr. Bogi Perelmutter), “Hitler and Nazi Germany” (Dr. Shelly Cline), “Jews, Christians, Muslims and Introduction to Judaism” (Dr. Sam Brody), and “Genocide and Ethnocide” (Dr. Bartholomew Dean). In addition to regularly scheduled classes, we are pleased to offer independent studies and senior capstones to our students.

We are also welcoming back our student employees, Sammi Grofsky, Bree Katz, and Zachary Kitay, who will continue helping Jewish Studies with social media, photography, and other needs. And we are excited to welcome Sammi Grofsky as our Student Representative for the 2023-24 academic year.

We are grateful to our supporters and donors. This includes small and large donations that support the education of students in the Jewish Studies Program and help students do research on Jewish Studies topics, present them in conferences, or travel to study abroad in Israel and other relevant locations for Jewish history and culture. We thank theDanciger Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas Cityfor their continuous support of our program through several opportunities for our students.

This Fall, we have the following competitions:

The Danciger Awards for the study of the Hebrew Language will be determined based on excellence in the Hebrew classroom – students do not need to do anything additional to be considered. Please come study Hebrew with us!

The Danciger Research Awards in Jewish Studies ($300 each) – for presenting research related to Jewish Studies at theFall Undergraduate Research Showcase. The Fall Undergraduate Research Showcase takes place Tuesday, December 5th through Thursday, December 7th. The deadline to register to present is 11:59 PM, Wednesday, November 29th.  Interested students should be in touch with any of the Jewish Studies professors to receive mentorship and support in the application.

The Danciger Essay competition in Jewish Studies ($500 first place, $300 second place, $200 third place) is open to all KU undergraduates who submit an original essay of no more than 5,000 words on any Jewish Studies topic of their choice. The essay can include an assigned term paper on a topic drawn from any generally recognized Jewish Studies sub-fields, including: The Bible and History of Biblical Interpretation; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Holocaust Studies; Interdisciplinary, Theoretical, and New Approaches; Israel Studies; Jewish History and Culture in Antiquity; Jewish Languages and Literatures; Jewish Mysticism; Jewish Philosophy; Jewish Politics; Jews, Film, and the Arts; Medieval and Early Modern Jewish History; Modern Jewish History; Rabbinic Literature and Culture; Sephardi and Mizrachi Studies; Social Sciences; and Yiddish Studies. The deadline to submit your paper is Friday, December 15th.

The Harvey S. Bodker Study Abroad Opportunity Fund provides support for study abroad. Students who have interest in studying abroad and want to be considered for funding should contact Tyra Kalman (tkalman@ku.edu) for more information.

Danciger need-based award: FAFSA-eligible students who would like to be considered for the Danciger need-based award need to contact us at jewishstudies@ku.edu. You can consult with Dr. Rami Zeedan in person as well.

Decisions on these competitions are made at the end of the Fall semester.

We look forward to an amazing year at the Jewish Studies Program. Please visit us. We would love to see you and tell you more about the program.

Happy Fall semester,
Dr. Rami Zeedan