Faculty News

2016-2017 Jewish Studies Program at MSU Faculty News

Yael Aronoff presented “The Policy of the Trump Administration Toward Israel,” and participated in a roundtable on “Teaching Israeli Politics to North American Undergraduates,” at the Association for Israel Studies Annual Meeting, June 12-14, 2017 at Brandeis University, Waltham, MA. She presented “U.S.-Israeli Relations: The Influence of Leaders, Past & Present” at the IRP Annual Lucas Lecture, Congregation Beth Shalom, Oak Park, Michigan on May 1, 2017. She will present “The Political Psychology of Israeli Prime Ministers,” at the Pozez Memorial Lectureship Series, University of Arizona, December 4, 2017. Dr. Aronoff is writing two chapters on Israeli leaders for edited books and is working on her book manuscript on The Dilemmas of Asymmetric Conflicts.

Marc Bernstein conducted research for an ethnographic study of the Jewish community of Kletsk (present-day Belarus) at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Yad Va-Shem Archives in Jerusalem. He was invited to conduct a seminar at University of Oslo’s Centre for Islamic and Middle East Studies on “The Narrative Structures/Techniques in the Qisas al-anbiya Genre” in October 2017. He co-coordinated an international conference to be held at MSU: “Blurring Boundaries: Arabic Identities Across the Mediterranean and Beyond” on November 1–3, 2017, and will deliver a lecture on “Tamer Nafar and the Politics of Arabic Rap in Israel” at that conference.

Kirsten Fermaglich worked this summer to complete her manuscript, A Rosenberg By Any Other Name, for NYU Press. She will be presenting her research at the Association for Jewish Studies conference in December 2017.

Steven Fraiberg’s “Pretty Bullets: Tracing Transmedia/Translingual Literacies of an Israeli Soldier across Regimes of Practice”appeared in College Composition and Communication 69.1 (2017). His “Startup Nation: Studying Transnational Entrepreneurial Practices in Israeli’s Startup Ecosystem” was published in a special issue of Journal of Business and Technical Communication 33.1.(2017). Dr. Fraiberg was also in Israel this summer with affiliate Neil Kane looking at the high-tech startup ecosystem with the aim of establishing internships and study abroad opportunities.

Christopher A. Frilingos finished a new book: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph: Family Trouble in the Infancy Gospels (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017). The book is a study of family stories about the child Jesus and his parents. Most of these stories are found in sources that were not included in the Christian New Testament. The book argues that these early Christian stories pick upon themes found in the Jewish Scriptures, specifically the omniscience of the biblical God and the limits of human understanding.

Amy Simon gave a public talk on Holocaust diaries at the Fox Run Retirement center in Novi on June 15th, which included several Holocaust survivors in the audience. She will present “Written in Hell: The Importance of Diaries in Holocaust Education” at the Midwest Jewish Studies Association Conference October 22-23 in Detroit. She will also present “Jewish Perceptions of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto Writings of Peretz Opoczynski” at the Association for Jewish Studies Conference in December and participate in a roundtable entitled “Reimagining Holocaust Education on Campus and in the Community” there. Dr. Simon will also participate in the Inaugural Higher Education Leadership Summit at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on December 17-19th.

Yael Aronoff presented “The Arab-Israeli Peace Process: Public and Elites’ Perspective,” at a conference on US-Israeli Relations at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and its Center for International Security Studies on May 5-6, 2016. At the Association for Israel Studies Annual Meeting, June 20-22, 2016, Jerusalem, Dr. Aronoff presented “The United States and Israel,” participated in the roundtables “The Star and the Stripes: A History of the Foreign Policies of American Jews,” and “Teaching Israel: Tough Times, Contemporary Challenges,” and chaired the panel “Golda Meir: A New Book by the Israel State Archive.” She participated in the Israel Institute Leadership Summit on the panel, “20/20 Hindsight – Peace Process Memoirs” at Ma’ale Hachamisha, Israel, June 26-29, 2016. Dr. Aronoff will be participating in AJS Directors’ roundtable on “The Role of Israel Studies in Jewish Studies Programs” for the Association of Jewish Studies Conference December 18-20, 2016 in San Diego. Dr. Aronoff is working on her book project The Dilemmas of Asymmetric Conflicts: Navigating Deterrence and Democratic Constraints.

Marc Bernstein chaired a session at the Society for Judaeo-Arabic Studies at Vanderbilt University in August, 2016. In June, he participated in the “Shared Society” conference on “Implications of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict on Common Citizenship for Jews and Arabs in Israel” at Givat Haviva. He worked as Special Adviser to the Executive Director, developing programs for students from abroad while on a research leave for winter 2016. Dr. Bernstein worked as an advisor to Member of Knesset Issawi Frej. He is currently working on a new project to publish a collection of photographs and primary source materials from Kletsk, a shtetl in present-day Belarus. During his research leave, Dr. Berstein worked with researchers at the Hebrew University, the Mordechai Anielevich Memorial Holocaust Studies and Research Center at Givat Haviva, Yad Vashem–The World Holocaust and Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

Kirsten Fermaglich completed the initial work on her book manuscript, A Rosenberg By Any Other Name:  Jews, Name Changing, and Race in New York City. She received a contract from NYU Press this past spring. Dr. Fermaglich chaired a panel on “Jewish Families and Migration,” at the Biennial Scholars Conference on American Jewish History in June.  She was also appointed co-editor of the flagship journal in her field, American Jewish History, this summer, along with Adam Mendelsohn and Daniel Soyer.

Michael Koppisch edited with Audrey Brunetaux a special issue of the Journal of Women in French Studies entitled “Seeing Charlotte Delbo/Seeing the Shoah.” It is the first edition of essays in English on the work of Delbo (1913-1985), who was active in the French Resistance, survived Auschwitz, and, after writing about her experience, became an important literary figure. Dr. Koppisch’s essay entitled “Charlotte Delbo: Writing (Against) Death,” is included in that volume.

Steven Gold recently published: “Patterns of Adaptation among Contemporary Jewish Immigrants to the US” in the  American Jewish Yearbook; “Russian Speaking Jews and Israeli Emigrants in the US: A Comparison of Migrant Populations” in The New Jewish Diaspora: Russian-Speaking Immigrants in the United States, Israeli and Germany (Rutgers University Press); “Ethnic Economies” in The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism; “Race and Ethnic Consciousness” (with Paula Miller) in the Wiley/Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, Second Edition; “Israeli Immigrants’ Involvement in the High Technology Sector” and “New Immigrant Labor Market Niches” with the  Russell Sage Foundation, June 3, 2016; he presented “Latin American Jewish Immigrants in the US” at the Grand Rapids Jewish Federation in March of 2016; and the “The Sociology of Migration and Understanding Recent Transformations in US Anti-Immigrant Sentiment” in Footnotes.asanet.org.

Deborah Margolis presented “The Potential of the Past: Walking Through the Creation of an Open Access Collection of Faculty-Produced Holocaust Site Photographs” (with Aaron Collie, Robin Dean, & Devin Higgins) at HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory), Arizona State University in Tempe, May 2016.

Anna Norris presented a paper at the Future of Holocaust Testimonies Conference at Western Galilee College, Akko, Israel in March: “Marceline-Loridan-Ivens, a French Auschwitz- Birkenau Survivor Interprets the Present Through the Past: From ‘Old’ Anti-Semitism to ‘New’ Anti-Semitism.” The conference was organized by the Holocaust Studies program at Western Galilee College, the Jewish Studies program at the University of Virginia, and the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford. Her article “Beyond the Shoah. Charlotte Delbo Confronts the Algerian War” will appear this fall in a volume edited by Audrey Bruneteaux and Michael Koppisch, “Seeing Charlotte Delbo/Seeing the Shoah,” Women in French Studies. Her article “Visual testimonies from the Mémorial de la Shoah, France: Giving Voice to Women” will appear this fall in a special issue of The International Journal of Conflict and Reconciliation.

Ken Waltzer‘s essay, “Moving Together, Moving Alone: The Story of Boys on a Transport from Auschwitz to Buchenwald,” will appear in Claire Zalc and Tal Bruttman, eds., Microhistories of the Holocaust, with Berghan Books. Another essay, “History and Memory: Tales of Two Children in the Nazi Camps,” is forthcoming in an edited collection published by a Canadian press. Dr. Waltzer spoke in plenary session to the Association of Israel Studies conference in Jerusalem in July 2016 on the subject of “BDS and the American Campus.”  He is executive director of the Academic Engagement Network, which opposes the BDS movement and supports academic freedom and free speech on U.S. campuses.

Steve Weiland presented a paper In April 2016 at the Midwest Regional Conference of the American Academy of Religion: “Narrative Apologetics and Jewish Observance: The Sabbath, Once More.” He will also present “Jewish-American Autobiography and Transformative Learning: Questions of Identity” in October 2016 at the bi-annual International Conference on Transformative Learning.

2015-2016 Jewish Studies Program at MSU Faculty News

Yael Aronoff has a HARP fellowship this year to work on her book project “The Dilemmas of Asymmetric Conflicts.” She presented on “Straddling Deterrence and Restraint: Israel’s Dilemmas in Asymmetric Wars” at a conference at the University of Arizona on Israel in a Changing Middle East, December 6–7, 2015. Dr. Aronoff is presenting a paper, “The United States and Israel,” at the Association for Israel Studies Conference in Jerusalem, June 20–22, 2016, and is participating in the meetings of the Board of the Association. She is also serving this spring on the Ben Halpern Prize committee for the best doctoral dissertation in Israel studies, which will be awarded by the Association of Israel Studies. Dr. Aronoff will participate in the Israel Institute’s second Leadership Summit, which will take place in the Ma’ale Hachamisha near Jerusalem, from June 26–29, 2016. This invitation-only event brings together Israel experts from universities and research centers around the world to foster dialogue across disciplines and build networks and partnerships to enhance the field of Israel Studies.


Kirsten Fermaglich is on sabbatical during the 2015–2016 academic year. She is completing her book, A Rosenberg by Any Other Name: Jews and Name Changing in New York City in the Twentieth Century. In the fall, Dr. Fermaglich was a visiting fellow at the Frankel Institute for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. She gave a presentation, “Layers of Bureaucracy: Jewish Name Changing and the Struggle for Civil Rights after World War II,” at the Association for Jewish Studies conference in Boston in December. She will present her work at a Newberry Library seminar in Chicago on February 19; at Limmud in Ann Arbor, MI, on March 13; at the Organization of American Historians conference in Providence, RI, on April 7; and at Temple Israel in West Bloomfield, MI, on June 6.


Steve Gold’s article “Patterns of Adaptation among Contemporary Jewish Immigrants to the US” appeared in American Jewish Yearbook, Volume 115, in December 2015.


Anna Norris published an article on French Holocaust survivor and filmmaker Marceline Loridan-Ivens titled “Auschwitz-Birkenau 1944–1945: Marceline Loridan-Ivens tourne et retourne son passé,” in a special issue of Women in French Studies, Women and memory/Femmes et mémoires this fall. She presented a paper on Irène Némirovsky’s Jewish and Russian émigré novels at the international conference Russian Émigré Culture: Transcending the Borders of Countries, Languages and Disciplines at the University of Saarland, Saarbrücken, Germany, in November. Dr. Norris will present a paper, “Marceline Loridan-Ivens: A French Birkenau Survivor Interprets the Present Through the Past,” at the Future of Holocaust Testimonies Conference at Western Galilee College in Akko, Israel, in March 2016.


Ken Waltzer’s essay “Moving Together, Moving Alone: The Story of Boys on a Transport Auschwitz to Buchenwald” will appear in Claire Zalc and Tal Bruttmann (eds.), Microhistories of the Holocaust (Berghahn Books, 2016). Dr. Waltzer will present in March on “The Legacy of Testimonies: The Role of Memory in Reconstructing the Story of the Rescue of Children and Youths at Buchenwald” at the Future of Holocaust Testimonies Conference in Akko, Israel. He is also publishing an essay on families in the camps in Joanna Michlic (ed.), Jewish Families in Europe, 1939Present: History, Representation, and Memory (University of New England Press, 2016).



2015 Jewish Studies Program at MSU Faculty News

Yael Aronoff gave talks on her recent book, The Political Psychology of Israeli Prime Ministers: When Hard-Liners Opt for Peace, to several audiences: the Scholars Seminar on Israel Studies; the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University; as a Keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies at MSU; and as part of the Jewish Studies Faculty Student Research Seminar at MSU. She also presented “Teaching About Israel Today in Higher Education” at the Jewish Studies-Hadassah Brunch, and was a Scholar in Residence in Grand Rapids, MI, and Hoffman, IL.

Safoi Bhana-Hampton’s chapter “Espace réel et imaginaire de l’identité juive-marocaine féminine chez Sapho et Eliette Abécasis” (“The Real and Imaginary Space of Female Moroccan Jewish Identity in Sapho and Eliette Abecassis’s Writings”) was published in Les Espaces Intimes Féminins dans la Littérature Maghrébine d’Expression Française. (eds. Robert Elbaz and Françoise Saquer-Sabin) in 2014.

Marc Bernstein’s article “Huwiya/Zehut: Identity and Language in the Bilingual Israeli Sitcom ‘Arab Labor,’” co-authored with Rivka Bliboim, is forthcoming in Studies in Language and Society. He presented his research project “Give Me Your Identity: Linguistic Code-Switching in Sayed Kashua’s ‘Arab Labor’” at MSU, which was partially funded by a Research Extension Grant from the MSU Office of Study Abroad.

Kirsten Fermaglich presented her research on name-changing at the Association for Jewish Studies conference at two different panels this past December: one was a lightning session on passing and assimilation in Jewish life, and the other was a seminar on American Jewish history and culture in the post–World War II era. She also gave a presentation for the Jewish Genealogical Society of Michigan in January.

Steven Gold was on sabbatical and was a Visiting Scholar, Erasmus Mundus Joint European Masters in International Migration and Social Cohesion (MISOCO), University of Amsterdam and University of Osnabruck, October–November 2014, where he presented six papers. His chapter “Undocumented Immigrants and Self Employment in the Informal Economy,” in Lois Ann Lorentzen (ed.) Hidden Lives and Human Rights in the United States: Understanding the Controversies and Tragedies of Undocumented Immigration, was published in 2014, as was his article “Contextual and Family Determinants of Immigrant Women’s Self-Employment: The Case of Vietnamese, Russian-Speaking Jews, and Israelis” in the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography.

Deborah Margolis curated the exhibition “Revealing the Entire World of the Stranger: Palestinian Israeli Writer Sayed Kashua,” which was on display in the MSU Main Library from September–October 2014.

Benjamin Pollock’s “To Infinity and Beyond: Cohen and Rosenzweig on Comportment towards Redemption” appeared as a chapter in Rethinking the Messianic Idea in Judaism (edited by M. Morgan and S. Weitzman). He presented a paper, “Rosenzweig’s ‘Hygiene of Return’: The Jewish People Between The Star and the Lehrhaus,” at a conference on Franz Rosenzweig’s Frankfurt period, in Frankfurt, Germany. Benjamin’s article, “The Political Perfection of Original Judaism: Pedagogical Governance and Ecclesiastical Power in Mendelssohn’s Jerusalem” will appear in April 2015 in the Harvard Theological Review.

Ken Waltzer presented “Family Fragments, Pairs, and Small Groups: Another Look at Social Relations in the Nazi Camps” at the Association for Jewish Studies meeting in Baltimore, MD. He is completing his manuscript “To Tell the Story: The Rescue of Children and Youths at Buchenwald,” and will be speaking to the docents about small groups in the camps at the Holocaust Memorial Center on February 8, 2015.