Jewish Studies Program at Michigan State University

 

Jewish Studies Program

The Jewish Studies Program at Michigan State University engages in 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 Jewish Studies Program also supports the scholarly work of Jewish Studies faculty at MSU, 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.

 

FROM THE DIRECTOR

With a heavy heart, I regret to inform you that Anna Norris passed away yesterday. It is a huge shock and loss to everyone. Anna was an incredible person and active member of Jewish Studies. She was also an active member of the local Jewish community. Anna is survived by her husband Ken, and children Elliot and Camille. If you would like to send a condolence card their home address is 1411 Haslett Rd. Haslett, MI 48840

Anna’s funeral will be this Thursday (March 23rd) at 11am at Congregation Shaarey Zedek, 1924 Coolidge Road, East Lansing, followed at Evergreen Cemetery, Zichrona li’vracha. We will also do something in Jewish Studies, in coordination with Anna’s Department of Romance and Classical Studies, in her honor. Anna gave an impressive presentation on Holocaust survivors and Holocaust memory in France this past fall as part of our Jewish Studies faculty/student seminar. She also participated in the workshops on using Holocaust Testimonials from the Shoah Archives in September and was having her students use them in her classes. Perhaps we can organize a panel or two with her students and/or an exploration of her work with our faculty and/or guest faculty. We will take the time to plan something that will honor Anna appropriately.

Anna Norris was Associate Professor of French and was an active affiliate faculty of Jewish Studies for at least 11 years. She had a wide range of research interests in French literature, culture, cinema, Holocaust studies, and trauma writings. She taught a wide range of courses in theses fields, both at the undergraduate and the graduate levels, and was the resident director of the summer program in Tours, France. Anna was nominated for the Faculty of the Year Award, by the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and was named Chevalier des Palmes Académiques by the French Ministry for Higher Education and Research. She served as Acting Chair of the Department of French, Classics, and Italian from 2008 to 2010. Her publications include a book on prison writings in nineteenth and twentieth century France (2003) and co-edited a book on French women’s writings and war (2007) and peer edited essays and book chapters on prison writings, French literature, French and Francophone cinema, women’s and gender studies, Holocaust studies, and Jewish studies. She was finishing a book manuscript on Marie Cappelle Lafarge. Anna was working on Marcel Ophüls, the first French filmmaker to tackle the controversial topic of French collaboration and resistance during World War II. She recently published “Auschwitz-Birkenau 1944–1945: Marceline Loridan-Ivens tourne et retourne son passé,” Women in French Studies 2015, and “Mauvaises mères et filles meurtries dans les textes d’Irène Némirovsky” in Daniela Di Cecco (ed.), Girls in French and Francophone Literature and Film (Leiden, the Netherlands: Koninlijke Brill NV, 2015).

May Anna’s memory be for a blessing and may she rest in peace. We will miss Anna and remember her.
 

SPRING SEMESTER 2017 EVENTS

SATURDAY, MARCH 25th, 7:30-10:00pm
STANLEY AND SELMA HOLLANDER JEWISH MUSIC AND ART EVENT
THE YELLOW TICKET

RCAH Theater, lower level of Snyder-Phillips Hall
The Yellow Ticket is a multimedia event featuring a rare 1918 silent film and an original score by renowned klezmer violinist/vocalist/composer Alicia Svigals, performed live along with virtuoso new-music pianist Marilyn Lerner. Joel Rubin, clarinetist, ethnomusicologist, and Associate Professor of Music and Director of Music Performance at the University of Virginia, will also perform. “The Yellow Ticket” tells the story of an innocent young Jewish woman from a Polish shtetl who is constrained by anti-Semitic restrictions to lead a double life in a brothel while attempting to study medicine in Tsarist Russia. Co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Letters, James Madison College and Residential College in the Arts and Humanities.

SUNDAY, APRIL 2nd, 1:45PM-8:45pm and TUESDAY, APRIL 4TH, 7:00-9:15pm
FILM FESTIVAL
THE ANNUAL ISRAELI FILM FESTIVAL

April 2: Wells Hall B-122; April 4: Wells Hall B-119
The Jewish Studies Program will show four full-length Israeli films: Apples from the Desert, Arabic Movie, Baba Joon and Sand Storm. See pages 7 and 8 for more information on the festival. Co-sponsored by the Union Activities Board, the College of Arts and Letters, the Asian Studies Center, and James Madison College.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5th, 7:00-8:30pm
GUEST LECTURE
MYSTERIES OF THE AFTERLIFE: TRANSCENDING DEATH AND FINDING HEAVEN IN JUDAISM, CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM

The Kellogg Center Auditorium
How did the hope for a blessed afterlife arise and evolve in Judaism, Christianity and Islam? Based on his ongoing research. Professor J. Edward Wright (University of Arizona) will address this and other questions related to the power of afterlife beliefs and images of heaven. Co-sponsored by the Muslim Studies Program, the Department of Religious Studies, the College of Arts and Letters and James Madison College.

THURSDAY, APRIL 20th, 7:00-8:30pm
25th ANNUAL RABIN HOLOCAUST/3rd MICHAEL BRILL MEMORIAL LECTURE
HISTORY AND CATASTROPHE: THE SECRET WARSAW GHETTO ARCHIVE OF EMANUEL RINGELBLUM

The Lincoln Room of the Kellogg Center
During World War II Jews resisted not only with guns but also with pen and paper. Even in the face of death they left “time capsules” full of documents, which they buried under the rubble of ghettos and death camps. The Ringelblum Archive in the Warsaw Ghetto buried thousands of documents. But of the 60 people who worked on this mission, only three survived. Professor Samuel Kassow (Trinity College) will discuss their story. Co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Letters and James Madison College.

FRIDAY, APRIL 21st, 9:00-5:00pm
STUDENT RESEARCH CONFERENCE
ANNUAL JEWISH STUDIES STUDENT RESEARCH CONFERENCE

Wells Hall B-342
Students will present projects from their Jewish Studies courses, followed by a lunch with Jewish Studies alumni.

 

News

MSU’s Jewish Studies Summer Program at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem offers students the opportunity to earn 8 credits in the arts and humanities or social sciences while living and studying in Jerusalem. For more information, contact Yael Aronoff, Director, Jewish Studies Program at 517-884-1275 or aronoffy@msu.edu.

Events

STANLEY AND SELMA HOLLANDER JEWISH MUSIC AND ART EVENT
THE YELLOW TICKET
SATURDAY, MARCH 25th, 7:30-10:00pm
RCAH Theater, lower level of Snyder-Phillips Hall

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