The Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel

 

The Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel

 

The Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel engages in the interdisciplinary study of the history, cultures, language(s), identities, and religion of the Jewish people. While our program encompasses the historical and geographic breadth of Jewish experiences, our particular strengths are in five key areas: American Jewish history, culture, and literature; European Jewish History and Holocaust Studies; Hebrew; Israel Studies; and Judaism and Jewish Philosophy.

A hallmark of our program is the close interaction of faculty, students and community members. The Jewish Studies Program offers a 20 credit undergraduate minor in Jewish Studies that allows students to explore, in interdisciplinary and flexible ways, Jewish history, culture, and identity, to learn Hebrew, and to study Judaism and Jewish thought. Students work closely with faculty mentors, who provide guidance both on academic development and professional opportunities. Our students have opportunities to engage in substantive research projects in class or as guided independent studies as well as senior theses and to participate in faculty-led study abroad programs in Israel. The result is a collegial, supportive community of students and faculty who form lasting relationships.

The Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel also supports the scholarly work of The Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel, developing a nationally recognized program that fits with the aspirations of a 21st-century global university. We have 6 core Jewish Studies faculty and over 20 affiliated faculty from ten departments and colleges across the university. The program contributes to and enhances knowledge of Jewish life in the university community, mid-Michigan, and the State of Michigan.

The Undergraduate Jewish Studies Minor
The Jewish Studies Minor offers a rich interdisciplinary program which introduces undergraduates to the history, cultures, language(s), identities, religion, and civilization of the Jewish people. Students can choose from among our varied and flexible course offerings (listed below), for a minimum of twenty (20) credits, which can be taken while fulfilling the requirements for a major in nearly any field at MSU. Our minor centers on our strengths in American Jewish History and Culture, European Jewish History and Holocaust Studies, Hebrew, Israel Studies, and Judaism and Jewish Philosophy. We emphasize close collaboration with and advising from faculty, and offer rich opportunities for undergraduate research. These curricular components are enhanced by our many co-curricular lectures and films designed to enhance classroom experiences and research.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

 

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 10th, 7:00-8:30pm
STANLEY AND SELMA HOLLANDER JEWISH MUSIC AND ART EVENT
PERFORMANCE BY TEIKU – THE SEDER PROJECT
Location TBA
Jonathon Taylor and Josh Harlow were both raised Jewish, claiming ancestors from Ukrainian- Jewish communities in two villages that have disappeared, victims of pogroms and the Holocaust. Strikingly, both grew up with a set of songs, intended to be sung on Passover, that are traced back to their respective ancestral villages and are, so far as they know, completely unique to their families. Upon discovering this amazing coincidence, they started a new project, Teiku, (which means “unanswered question”), to document perform, and breathe new life into these beautiful old melodies. They aim to situate traditional cultural melodies and traditional spirituality in a forward-looking context

MONDAY, OCTOBER 15th, 7:00-8:30
JONATHAN NETANYAHU LECTURE
THE CHALLENGE IS NOT HOLOCAUST DENIAL, BUT VULGARIZATION, TRIVIALIZATION, MINIMIZATION AND FALSIFICATION BY FRIEND AND FOE ALIKE
Club Spartan, Case Hall (3rd Floor)
When Holocaust denial first began in the early 1980’s, people were fearful of its consequences. Increased and improved scholarship, the self-destruction of David Irving, and the departure of Iranian President Ahmadinejad have diminished the challenge of denial. Dr. Michael Berenbaum will discuss how important new challenges to our understanding of the Holocaust and its role in public discourse are now more pressing and potentially more dangerous.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 7TH, 7:00-9:00pm
ANNUAL KESSLER FILM
GI JEWS: JEWISH AMERICANS IN WORLD WAR II
MSU Main Library’s Green Room (4th Floor West)
For the annual Kessler film, the Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel will show GI Jews: Jewish Americans in World War II. This film tells the story, in their own words, of the hundreds of thousands of Jewish Americans who fought in World War II. They describe how they fought for their country and their people, struggled with anti-Semitism, and emerged from the war transformed as both Americans and Jews. The film’s director, Lisa Ades, will introduce and discuss the film afterward.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8TH, 3:00-5:00pm
GUEST PANEL
JEWS, GENDER AND DIFFERENCE IN THE US ARMED FORCES: A HISTORICAL DISCUSSION
B-342 Wells Hall
The Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel will sponsor a panel exploring what Jewish soldiers’ historical experiences have to tell us about how religious outsiders and the military today. Panelists include Ronit Stahl, an Assistant Professor of History at the University of California Berkley; Jessica Cooperman, an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Muhlenberg College; and Kirsten Fermaglich, an Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies at MSU

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14TH, 7:00-8:30PM
GUEST LECTURE
ASHKENAZIM, SEPHARDIM, ROMANIOTS? BOOK OF YOSIPPON AS A MODEL FOR THE SHOAH
James Madison College Library (332 Case Hall)
Dr. Steven Bowman of the University of Cincinnati recently translated Sepher Yosippon and will tie this important work to the origins of the Sepharad, Ashkenaz, and the Romaniots and also its ramifications for the Shoah. Sepher Yosippon has been the most popular read for Jews, Christians, and many Muslims in multiple languages for the past 1000 years. It is the first history of the Second Temple period from Cyprus to Titus since Josephus Falvius’ Jewish War with the Romans that led to the destruction of Jerusalem, its Temple, and the power of the priestly class. It is traditionally read on Tisha be Av, the Ninth of Av.

 

News

Michael and Elaine Serling have given a multi-million-dollar naming gift that will provide a new endowment in “Modern Israel” in Jewish Studies. It will serve as a catalyst, stimulating activities that join MSU faculty and Israeli colleagues in several fields, including the humanities, social sciences, business entrepreneurship, medical science, and engineering, as they initiate new collaborative projects. It will also contribute to research, study abroad, and internship opportunities in Israel for undergraduate and graduate students and provide support for visiting Israeli scholars. With this gift the Jewish Studies Program has changed its name to the Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel.

Events

MONDAY, OCTOBER 15th, 7:00-8:30
JONATHON NETANYAHU LECTURE
THE CHALLENGE IS NOT HOLOCAUST DENIAL, BUT VULGARIZATION, TRIVALIZATION, MINIMIZATION AND FALSIFCATION BY FRIEND AND FOE ALIKE
Club Spartan, Case Hall (3rd Floor)

If you have any questions email the MSU Jewish Studies Program at jewishst@msu.edu, or call 517-432-3493

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