Screening of “Last Happy Day,” March 13

Saturday, March 13

Screening: “Last Happy Day”

7 pm, Cobb Hall 306, 5811 South Ellis Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60637

Contact Sabrina Craig,, for details.

New York filmmaker Lynne Sachs presents The Last Happy Day, an experimental documentary portrait of Sandor (Alexander) Lenard, a Hungarian medical doctor and Sachs’ distant cousin. In 1938 Lenard, a writer with a Jewish background, fled the Nazis to a safe haven in Rome. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Army Graves Registration Service hired Lenard to reconstruct the bones— small and large — of dead American soldiers. Eventually he found himself in remotest Brazil where he embarked on the translation of Winnie the Pooh into Latin. Sachs’ essay film uses personal letters, abstracted war imagery, home movies, interviews, and a children’s performance to create an intimate meditation on the destructive power of war.

In conversation with Classics Professor Michèle Lowrie (who acted as an adviser on the film), Sachs will discuss her cinematic process for making this portrait of a doctor who saw the worst of society and ran. From Lucretius’ sublime but wise “On the Nature of the Universe” to Euripides’ lurid Bacchae to Michael Ondaattje’s harrowing vision of Billy the Kid, Sachs will review the range of literature that fed her creative process. In the same spirit of experimentation, she will screen her companion piece, Cosmetic Surgery for Corpses (10 min., 2010) which witnesses a group of Latin scholars confronted with the haunting yet whimsical task of translating a newspaper article on Iraqi burial rituals into Latin.

Co-sponsored by the Department of Classics, the Rhetoric and Poetics Workshop, and the Ulrich and Harriet Meyer Fund of the Chicago Center for Jewish Studies.

Undergraduate Essay Prize (Univ. of Chicago), Chicago Center for Jewish Studies, Deadline: April 16

Undergraduate Essay Prize

The Chicago Center for Jewish Studies is pleased to announce its first competition for a prize of $500 for the best essay on any topic relating to Jewish Studies, including (but not restricted to) the study of Judaic history, culture, thought, classical and modern texts, and languages.

The essay prize competition is open to all students currently registered in the College of the University of Chicago. The essay need not have been written for a course in Jewish Studies or for a course taught by a faculty member in Jewish Studies.

Essays should be submitted no later than 5pm on Friday, April 16, 2010 to Daniel Hantman (Tel: 773-702-7108), Walker 213, 1115 E. 58th St. Chicago IL 60637. Applicants should submit both paper and electronic copies of the application. Paper copies may be mailed or dropped off; electronic copies should be e-mailed as Word attachments to

Call for Papers: Conference on the Contemporary Russian-Speaking Jewish Diaspora, Deadline: May 14

Call for Paper Proposals

Conference on the Contemporary Russian-Speaking Jewish Diaspora
November 14–15, 2011, at Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University, with the cooperation of the American Councils for International Education and the Russian Foundation for Humanities, invites submissions of paper proposals for an international conference on the Russian-speaking Jewish diaspora that has been formed over the past four decades.

The emigration of about 1.5 million Jews from the former Soviet Union (FSU) in several large waves since the mid-1970s—more than three times as many as those who remain—has affected Jewish life in its successor states and in the host countries. The post-1989 migration of Jews from the FSU, for example, constitutes the single largest immigration in the sixty-two-year history of Israel and the largest group of Jews to come to the United States and to Germany since the early twentieth century.

This conference will focus on how Russian-speaking Jews in the late 20th–early 21st centuries have affected the cultures, politics, and economies of Israel, the United States, and Germany, as well as the “sending” countries of the FSU. Conferees will consider whether Russian-speaking Jewry constitutes “a global community,” and how this recent migration challenges the larger concepts of “identity” and “diaspora” across geographic and national borders.

Suggested Themes

We are interested in papers from a range of disciplinary perspectives that address the history, evolution, and future of Russian-speaking Jewish communities, cultures, and identities. We encourage papers that move beyond the description of particular populations or institutions and introduce analyses of the problems, paradoxes, contradictions, and challenges involved in thinking about the Russian-speaking Jews.

The following themes are suggested as guides for the formulation of topics for paper proposals:

  • Globalization, Transnationalism, and Ethno-Cultural Diasporas in the 21st Century
  • Political Behavior, Social Mobility, Commercial Activities, and Cultural Endeavors
  • Definitions of Jewishness
  • Cultural Expressions of Russian-Speaking Jews
  • Media and Communications
  • Future of the Russian-Speaking Jewish Diaspora

For a fuller description of the suggested themes, please see our Web site at
Papers will also be considered on any other themes relevant to the contemporary Russian-speaking Jewish diaspora. Note that the working language of the conference is English: all papers must be submitted and presented in English.

Submitting a Proposal

Junior and senior scholars in the humanities and social sciences, as well as others working in relevant areas, are eligible to apply, irrespective of citizenship or country of residence. Proposals should be submitted via the conference Web site at

Submissions must include:

  • a completed online application form
  • a project abstract of approximately 250 words
  • a 2-page curriculum vitae (CV) listing education, publications, fellowships and awards, and recent work and teaching experience

The deadline for submitting proposals is May 14, 2010. All materials must be submitted in English. Decisions will be announced by July 1, 2010. Presenters must submit their final conference papers by September 1, 2011. Selected papers will be considered for publication in an edited volume.

Harvard University and cooperating funders will cover presenters’ expenses for travel, lodging, and meals. A modest honorarium will also be provided (contingent on presenter’s eligibility to receive payment).

Project Organizers

Zvi Gitelman, Professor of Political Science and Preston R. Tisch Professor of Judaic Studies, University of Michigan
Lisbeth L. Tarlow, Ph.D., Associate Director, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University

More Information

For additional information about the conference, please see or contact

“Creation: Genesis and Other Beginnings in Jewish History and Culture,” Chicago Center for Jewish Studies, February 15

Monday, February 15
The Chicago Center for Jewish Studies presents

Creation: Genesis and Other Beginnings in Jewish History and Culture

4:30 PM in Classics 110 (1010 E. 59th Street)

Three speaker from the University of Chicago and a reception afterward.

James Robinson (Divinity), The Creation of Hebrew Belles Lettres in Medieval ‘Provence’

Paul Mendes-Flohr  (Divinity), The Creation of Modern Jewish Studies

Jan Schwarz (Germanic Studies), Conjugal Fruit: A Shakespearean Sonnet in Yiddish

The Symposium is made possible through the Harriet and Ulrich Meyer Fund of the Chicago Center for Jewish Studies.

Please contact Daniel Hantman ( | 773-702-7108) with questions or if you need special assistance. These event are free and open to the public. Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation in order to participate in this event should contact the event sponsor for assistance.

“Circus Palestina,” Hebrew Circle Film Screening, January 21

Hebrew Circle Film Screening
January 21, 2010 at 6:30 PM
Harper 141
William Rainey Harper
Memorial Library

1116 E. 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

Circus Palestina, Directed by Eyal Halfon, 1998

While on tour in the West Bank, a small circus troupe from Eastern Europe finds that one of its featured attractions — its lion — is missing. The search for the beast draws together an unlikely alliance, but the united effort becomes more complicated as it continues. The film offers the circus and its missing lion as an apt – though far from transparent – metaphor for the political situation in Israel/Palestine. This dark comedy collected five Israeli Film Academy Awards (including Best Film and Best Actor, Amos Lavie). A short discussion will be lead by Professor Na’ama Rokem afterward.

This screening is the first of several screenings organized by the Hebrew Circle and cosponsored by the Chicago Center for Jewish Studies. Light refreshments will be served. Please contact Daniel Hantman ( | 773.702.7108) with any questions.

Travel Grants for Chicago Students doing Research in Jewish Studies, Deadline: February 12

The Chicago Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Chicago is pleased to announce its winter competition for graduate research and travel grants in Jewish Studies

Eligibility: University of Chicago Ph.D. students in all Divisions and Schools are eligible to apply.

Scope: The Chicago Center for Jewish Studies will award travel grants to students whose research in any area of Jewish Studies requires travel, to present papers on any topic in Jewish Studies at conferences, and to participate in foreign language programs related to their graduate work in Jewish Studies.  Because funds are currently limited, students may combine their awards with funding from other sources.

Application: Applications must be submitted no later than 5pm on Friday, February 12, 2010 to Daniel Hantman (Tel: 773-702-7108), Walker 200, 1115 E. 58th St. Chicago IL 60637. Applicants should submit both paper and electronic copies of the application. Paper copies may be mailed or dropped off; electronic copies should be e-mailed as Word attachments to

The application materials include:

1.  CCJS Cover Sheet

2.  Project proposal (no longer than two pages).

3.  Rough Budget covering the entire trip, including the total amount being    requested.

4.  Current CV.

5.  E-mail from the student’s departmental Chair of Graduate Studies stating    that the student is in good standing

Award: Fellowship decisions will be made by March 12; normally, travel should begin within the three consecutive academic quarters (including summer) after the award has been made.  The number of awards and the amount of each award will be based on the needs of the strongest applicants.

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, Brown University’s Program in Judaic Studies, Deadline: January 29

Brown University’s Program in Judaic Studies, in conjunction with the Program in Medieval Studies and Departments of Religious Studies and History, seek applications for a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship for a term of two years beginning July 2010.

Applicants will have received a PhD within the past five (5) years from an institution other than Brown in the fields of Religious Studies, History, Judaic Studies, or a relevant field.

The successful candidate will study Jews and Judaism in the Middle Ages from an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspective.  While the precise area of specialization is open, we are looking especially for candidates whose work cuts across the disciplines of religious studies and history and can place the study of Jews in the Middle Ages within the context of the larger hegemonic cultures in which they lived.

This Fellow will be located in the Program in Judaic Studies and will interact closely with the other sponsoring units and the Cogut Center for the Humanities.  The candidate will participate in weekly fellows’ seminars at the Cogut Center, as well as other relevant activities in a stimulating intellectual environment for interdisciplinary research.

The successful candidate will be expected to teach one (1) course per semester on an agreed topic.

Fellows receive stipends of $52,000 and $54,080 in their 1st and 2nd years, respectively, plus standard fellows’ benefits and a $2,000 per year research budget.  The application deadline is January 29, 2010.

Applicants should send: (1) a cover letter, (2) a curriculum vitae, (3) a description of research areas, (4) one short writing sample that is illustrative of the candidate’s research (e.g. an article of a chapter from a dissertation or book), and (5) a statement describing teaching experience, with a few proposed courses (including descriptions and/or syllabi).  Applicants should arrange for three letters of recommendation to be sent directly.  All materials should be sent to: Chair, Mellon Search Committee, Program in Judaic Studies, Box 1826, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912.

Program site:

Anthropology Department Monday Seminar Series: “A Jewish Sensorium?: “Material Culture and Embodiment in Germany 1890-1930,” November 23



Leora Auslander

Professor of History, Jewish Studies, and the History of Culture
University of Chicago

speaking on

“A Jewish Sensorium?:  Material Culture and Embodiment in Germany 1890-1930”

Monday, November 23, 2009, 3:30 p.m., Haskell 315

Here is some background information:

PhD        1988     Brown University (History)
MA         1982     Harvard University (History)
BA         1979     University of Michigan (History/Medieval Studies)

Current Book Projects:

Strangers at Home: Jewish Parisians and Berliners in the Twentieth Century

Commemorating Death, Obscuring Life?  The Conundrums of Memorialization



2009    Cultural Revolutions: Everyday Life and Politics in Britain, North America, and France. Oxford, Berg, 2008; U California Press 2009

1996   Taste and Power: Furnishing Modern France.  University of California Press


2009  “Archiving a Life: Post-Shoah Paradoxes of Memory Legacies,” in Ludtke & Jobs, eds, Unsettling Histories. Frankfurt, Campus Verlag.

2009  “The Boundaries of Jewishness or when is a Cultural Practice Jewish?” Jewish Social Studies, Vol 8:1:  47-64

2005  “Beyond Words,” American Historical Review, 110:4: 1015-1045.

2005  “Regeneration through the Everyday? Furniture in Revolutionary Paris,” in Art History 28:2  227-247.

2005  “Coming Home?  Jews in Postwar Paris,” Journal of Contemporary History, 40:2  237-259

2003 (w/ T. Holt)  “Sambo in Paris: Race and Racism in the Iconography of Everyday Life,” in Peabody & Stovall, eds., The Color of Liberty: Histories of Race in France, Duke U Press.

Grant Funding Opportunity for Dissertation Research on Jewish Studies Topics, Deadline: December 2

Targum Shlishi is awarding four grants of $2,500 each during the 2009-10 academic year for dissertation research on Jewish Studies topics for students based either in the U.S. or Israel. The foundation is now accepting applications for the award.

This is the fourth year that Targum Shlishi has awarded grants for dissertation research. The research subjects of past grantees have included explorations into student satisfaction with day school education, understanding the concept of free will as it relates to a Jewish marriage and get, the philosophy and life of Franz Rosenzweig, and Jewish music literacy.

“Supporting educational initiatives is one of the most important things we do as a foundation. We believe that Jewish education is the key to our future, and to that end, we have funded educational projects across the spectrum over the years, from early childhood to lifelong learning, from programs aimed at students to programs for teacher improvement,” notes Aryeh Rubin, director of Targum Shlishi. “In supporting dissertation research, we are making a statement about the critical importance of Jewish Studies. We believe that funding in this area of inquiry is seriously lacking, and that more dissertations would be produced if there was more financial support for Jewish Studies.”

To apply for a grant, applicants must submit a brief description (up to 1,000 words) of their dissertation topic. The description should include:

* Name, email address, mailing address and phone number
* Name of university presently attending and department of study
* Title of dissertation
* Description of dissertation topic
* Main goal of the research
* Relevance to your field
* Methods used
* Why it is important
* Status of research thus far

In addition to the description of the topic, applicants must also include a paragraph of biographical information describing their educational background, related work, publications, and advisor’s name.

Information should be e-mailed by December 2, 2009 to Judith Dach, Ph.D., education consultant for Targum Shlishi at; any questions should also be addressed to her. After receiving the brief description, Targum Shlishi may contact applicants requesting further information.

For in-depth information about the 2007-08 grants for dissertation support, please visit the initiatives page on Targum Shlishi’s website,

About Targum Shlishi

Targum Shlishi, a Raquel and Aryeh Rubin Foundation, is dedicated to providing a range of creative solutions to problems facing Jewry today. Premised on the conviction that dynamic change and adaptation have historically been crucial to a vibrant and relevant Judaism and to the survival of its people, Targum Shlishi’s initiatives are designed to stimulate the development of new ideas and innovative strategies that will enable Jewish life, its culture, and its traditions to continue to flourish. For more information on the foundation, visit its website:

Contact: Judith Dach, Ph.D.
Phone: 954.559.9390
E-mail: judy [at]