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A picture of Jack KugelmassI am Jack Kugelmass, the Director of the Center for Jewish Studies. We’ve been working hard to develop this site and hope to keep expanding it over the coming year to provide visitors with timely information about our faculty, program activities, future plans and past achievements. The latter are evident in the Center’s annual newsletters all of which we hope to make available on line and I do encourage you to read the ones that are already up.

As Director of the Center, it gives me particular pleasure to welcome new members of our faculty. This is a very auspicious moment in the development of this Center with four new faculty members. Two of them are permanent Jewish Studies hires, a third comes to us through another unit, while a fourth, a visiting position, is through the generosity of a grant to the Center. Let me introduce them in alphabetical order:

Motti Inbari joins us this year as a Schusterman Visiting Israeli Scholar from Jerusalem where he recently received a Ph.D. from the Institute for Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University. He will be teaching courses on messianism in modern Israel and Israeli society through film. He is currently revising his dissertation for publication-King, Sanhedrin and Temple: Contemporary Movements Seeking to Establish a “Torah State” and Rebuild the Third Temple 1984-2004.

Robert Kawashima received a Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of California at Berkeley in 2001 and comes to us from New York University where he held a Dorot fellowship. He is assistant professor of Jewish studies in the Religion Department and specializes in the Hebrew Bible. His first book, Biblical Narrative and the Death of the Rhapsode was published by Indiana University Press in 2005.

Galili Shahar joins the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies in January. He taught at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and specializes in modern German and German-Jewish literature. This fall semester he is in Berlin on an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship at the Free University. He is the author of Verkleidungen der Auklarung: Narrenspiele und Weltanschauung in der Goethezeit (2005).

Tamir Sorek received a Ph.D. from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the Hebrew University in 2002 and comes to us from Cornell University. He is assistant professor of Jewish studies and sociology. Specializing in Israel studies and the sociology of sports, he writes on Israeli Arab and Israeli Jewish soccer fans. His book The Integrative Enclave: Arab Soccer in a Jewish State will be published in 2007 by Cambridge University Press.

The Center hosts its first international conference February 17th-19th, 2007. “For the Life of the Flesh Is in the Blood”: A Conference on the Significance of Blood in Jewish History & Culture is a very ambitious topic that has stimulated a good many proposals. We look forward to completing the program and, this February, meeting participants from various universities across the continent and abroad.

The Center continues its many lectures and outreach programs this year. To keep posted on what we’re doing and when, please make sure you’re on our mailing list.