Jewish Studies Program at Michigan State University


Yael AronoffWe recently completed an active spring 2014 calendar.  We hosted visiting Israeli writer Savyon Liebrecht, we sponsored MSU’s 9th annual Israeli Film Festival, and we finished the schedule with a terrific visit by historian Wendy Lower from  Claremont McKenna College, finalist for the National Book Award, who delivered the annual Rabin Lecture on the Holocaust on “Gender and Genocide: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields.”

FALL 2014

We have several exciting events already planned and others in the planning for the new academic year.  These new events include:

Mon., Sept. 29 (with Arabic Language Program and Global Studies), Sayed Kashua, “On Being a Palestinian Arab Writer in Israel,” 4:00 pm  208 IM West.  Sayed Kashua was born in Israel in 1975, studied sociology and philosophy at Hebrew University, writes a regular satirical column for Haaretz, and is the author of Arab Labor, a television show on Israel Channel 2, which was awarded best show at the Jerusalem Film Festival.  Kashua won the Prime Minister’s Prize for Literature in Israel in 2004.  He has written Dancing Arabs (2002), Let It Be Morning (2006) and Second Person Singular (2010).

Thurs., Oct. 9, 7:00-8:30 pm, in Club Sparta, 3rd Floor, James Madison College. Gadi Taub, Israeli historian, writer, screenwriter, and public intellectual, will give the 2014 Michael and Elaine Serling Modern Israel lecture, speaking on “Zionism as a Liberal Democratic Worldview.” Taub is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Communications at Hebrew University, the author of The Settlers and the Struggle Over the Meaning of Zionism (2010), and writes regularly for the Israeli press and American journals.   

Taub believes in the right of all peoples, including the Jews, to self-determination in their own nation state. He supports the creation of a Palestinian state beside Israel. Taub distinguishes between original Zionism, or the Zionism of Liberty (or Zionism of State,) and a new messianic Zionism that he calls a Zionism of Land. In Taub’s view, Zionism of Land is an ideological negation of the original Zionism of Liberty and also the road to Israel’s demise.



Tues., Oct. 14, Kessler Lecture on Jewish Film, “Numbered” (2012). A film by Dana Doron and Uriel Sinai, written by Neta Zwebner-Zaibert; from Israel.  Discussion after by Kenneth Waltzer, James Madison College and Jewish Studies, and Howard Bossen, College of Communication Arts and Sciences. This film focuses on the tattooed numbers assigned to prisoners in Auschwitz as enduring signs.


Sun., Oct. 19, Fall Jewish Studies/Hadassah Brunch, University Club 10 am-12 noon. Yael Aronoff, “Teaching About Israel in High Education Today.”  Yael Aronoff is the Michael and Elaine Serling and Friends Israel Studies Professor at James Madison College and director of Jewish Studies at MSU.  Her book The Political Psychology of Israeli Prime Ministers has just appeared from Cambridge UP.  Yael was a winner of the MSU Teacher-Scholar Award in 2012.


Thurs., Oct. 23, 3:00-4:30 pm, Natan Dvir, award-winning Israeli photographer, whose documentary photographs depict individuals in conflict-ridden societies, will deliver the Neal Shine EthicsLecture in 145 Communication Arts Building.     The lecture will be on “                                        .”   Co-sponsored by Jewish Studies.


Thurs., Nov. 20, 7-9 pm, Case Hall, Cary Nelson, Professor Emeritus of English at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the former President of the American Association of University Professors, will speak on “Bait and Switch: The Purpose of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement.”     He is currently co-editing a book with Gabriel Brahm, eds., The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel.    He is also author of Anthology of Contemporary Poetry (2014) No University is an Island (2011) and of Manifesto of a Tenured Radical (1997).



Yael Aronoff
Professor and Director