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Jewish Studies professor receives Katz Center fellowship - Penn State News Feature

Jewish Studies professor receives Katz Center fellowship - Penn State News Feature

Tobias Brinkmann, head of the Jewish Studies program and the Malvin E. and Lea P. Bank Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and History IMAGE: COURTESY OF TOBIAS BRINKMANN

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Tobias Brinkmann, head of the Jewish Studies program in Penn State's College of the Liberal Arts, and the Malvin E. and Lea P. Bank Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and History, has been selected as a spring 2021 fellow by the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He began his work on Jan. 4 with approximately 20 other scholars, each of whom is addressing the center’s 2021 theme — "America’s Jewish Questions" —through their research.

In a letter offering the fellowship to Brinkmann, Steven Weitzman, the Ella Darivoff Director of the Katz Center, said the fellowship has two goals: to support research and to foster intellectual community among fellows from a range of disciplines and areas of focus. The fellowship, which concludes on April 30, will result in an edited volume of scholarship to be published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Read the whole feature by Susan Burlingame here.

 

Embedded program explores Holocaust memory in Poland and Lithuania - Penn State News Feature

Embedded program explores Holocaust memory in Poland and Lithuania - Penn State News Feature

The group visited the Borderlands Foundation in Krasnogruda, Poland, near the Lithuanian border.IMAGE: VERONIKA CZYŻEWSKI

For nine students enrolled in HIST/JST 426 The Holocaust and History, the memory landscapes they had studied in class became meaningful reality on an embedded program trip to Poland and Lithuania during spring break last month.

To deepen the students’ experience of Holocaust memory in Eastern Europe, embedded program coordinators Eliyana Adler, associate professor in history and Jewish studies, and Tobias Brinkmann, the Malvin and Lea Bank Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and History, took students to remote Holocaust locations, places less known and less visited than sites such as Auschwitz.

“In Warsaw, the students get the basics,” Adler said. “At the Polin Museum, they get the whole spread of Jewish-Polish history, both its vibrancy and destruction. From there, we go to see death sites, but different ones. And then we see small towns and larger towns that are sites of life, where there remains a Jewish presence.”

Read the whole feature by Michelle K. Baker here.

Students meet Holocaust survivors on embedded course trip to France - Penn State News Feature

Students meet Holocaust survivors on embedded course trip to France - Penn State News Feature

In addition to hearing from survivors and experts, the students saw a number of other places of French Holocaust history.IMAGE: KELLY POWERS

The College of the Liberal Arts offers a variety of embedded courses to Penn State students. Embedded courses are short-term international experiences linked to semester-long classes with related course content.

Students enrolled in FR/JST 197 France and the Holocaust in Film and Literature had the opportunity to travel to Paris during spring break. Willa Z. Silverman, the Malvin E. and Lea P. Bank Professor of French and Jewish Studies, teaches the course and led the trip, which focused on France’s involvement in the Holocaust.

France’s involvement in the Holocaust is not typically taught in schools in the United States. Between 1942 and 1944, approximately 76,000 Jews in France were deported to concentration and extermination camps. France also housed concentration camps just outside of Paris as well as in other parts of France. While these were not extermination camps, many Jews died there, and the majority were ultimately deported to Auschwitz, where they perished.

While on the trip, the students heard stories from three of the approximately 15 Auschwitz-Birkenau survivors still well enough to share their stories today.

Read the rest of the feature by Jessica Lawson here

Students meet Holocaust survivors in France - Penn State News Feature

Students meet Holocaust survivors in France - Penn State News Feature

Students in Willa Silverman's class meet historian and activist, Serge Klarsfeld, while in France.IMAGE: WILLA SILVERMAN

Over spring break, seven Penn State undergraduate students and one graduate teaching assistant traveled to Paris to participate in a weeklong study tour led by Willa Z. Silverman, Malvin E. and Lea P. Bank Professor of French and Jewish Studies. The trip was designed as an extension of Silverman’s Spring 2016 residential course, “France and the Holocaust in Film and Literature.” Students met with concentration camp survivors, historians, hidden children and Resistance members, and visited Holocaust memorials and a former concentration camp.

“Often when we learn about the Holocaust, we hear about it in terms of numbers,” said Mackenzie Moon, a sophomore biology major. “However, this trip helped me to understand that the victims of the Holocaust are more than just numbers—they were and are real people, just like you and me, people with personalities and surrounded by people who love them. This devastating realization is something that I think will stick with me in my future studies.”

Read the rest of the feature by Penn State News here.

Forging history - Penn State News Feature

Archaeologists recreate an Iron Age smithy in northern Israel.
Forging history - Penn State News Feature

he harbor and Old City of Akko (also called Acre), a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the shores of the Mediterranean in far northern Israel. IMAGE: GETTY IMAGES/RUSLAN DASHINSKY

On the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, in far northern Israel, sits Akko, a city of layers going back thousands of years. Its “Old City,” with beautiful Ottoman architecture built on the best-preserved Crusader city in existence, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Akko today gracefully blends old with new, eastern with western, religious with secular. Twenty-six religions are represented here; it is among the holiest sites in the Bahá'í and Sufi faiths. “It’s a very spiritual and cosmic place,” says Penn State archaeologist Ann Killebrew. “People who come here want to come back.”

Some of those who come back time after time are archaeologists trying to understand the previous inhabitants, who included the biblical Canaanites and Phoenicians, by unearthing and examining what they left behind. Some explore the historic old town. Others, like Killebrew, work at Tel Akko, “the hill of Akko,” a 60-80-foot-tall mound a mile east of the Old City.

Read the rest of the feature by Cherie Winner here.

History/Jewish studies professor’s book leads to interview in Israeli periodical - Penn State News Feature

A growing cohort of scholars in Middle Eastern studies is garnering international recognition
History/Jewish studies professor’s book leads to interview in Israeli periodical - Penn State News Feature

Lior Sternfeld, assistant professor of history and Jewish studies IMAGE: MICHAEL T. DAVIS

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — When Lior Sternfeld, assistant professor of history and Jewish studies, attended school in his native Israel, he fully intended to become a high school history teacher. Needing to choose an additional course of study, though, he thought Middle Eastern studies might be interesting.

“Increasingly, I realized that it should be my focus,” he said.

The course in Middle Eastern studies led Sternfeld to Ben Gurion University, where he developed an interest in Iran.

Read the whole feature by Susan Burlingame here. 

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