Is antiracism a Jewish virtue? After 1967, Jewish conditions in the U.S., Israel, and Europe have been shaped by new frameworks for understanding racism. Projects articulating critical race theory, anti-Zionism, and decolonization have challenged Jewish self-conceptions as an antiracist community. Jewish thought—ethics, theology, political philosophy—has not sufficiently addressed these challenges. Using the curious case of Zipporah, Moses’ Midianite wife, my lecture addresses ways in which Jewish thought should reckon with the ethical and political issues of racism in the Jewish tradition and in societies where Jews have power and capacity.
Also be on the lookout for other upcoming events in the New Directions in Jewish Studies 2021 Lecture Series!
Join UC Davis Jewish Studies and Prof. Rebecca Wollenberg to discover a 500-year old Jewish Christmas Eve tradition!
Christmas has long been a fraught time for Jews. On Christmas Eve, European Jews would avoid Torah study (still practiced in some communities today), and instead hold loud parties where they would stay up late, gamble, eat garlic, and sometimes read Jewish legends about Jesus. Why? At the time, many Jews AND Christians believed that powerful spiritual forces were at work on Christmas Eve: demons, talking animals, and even a shared Jewish AND Christian folk belief that on this day, Jesus would come back from the dead--sometimes, oddly, to haunt latrines and outhouses, and sometimes to visit Jewish homes. Gathering for a loud party - and eating lots of garlic, a known mode of protection from supernatural forces - was one way Jews got through a holiday that was alienating and sometimes even dangerous, but utterly unavoidable in the Christian world around them.
Prof. Rebecca Wollenberg of the University of Michigan will introduce this tradition and how it draws on spooky Jewish AND Christian Christmas lore, we'll look at some risque Jewish texts (definitely NOT the Torah), and we'll invite guests to share other Jewish Christmas traditions. Bring your own garlic and dice!
Please register here: https://ucdavis.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcqdeyuqTkqGNCmHfxxSJs00D-cvmskKLD8
Please find Prof. Wollenberg's article on Nittel Nacht at this link if you'd like to read ahead - not required!! https://www.academia.edu/16775699/The_Ghost_in_the_Privy_The_Origins_of_Nittel_Nacht_and_Modes_of_Cultural_Exchange
The UC Davis Jewish Studies Program is pleased to announce the calendar for the New Directions in Jewish Studies 2021 Lecture Series. Please find more information below, as well as registration links.
Elliot Ratzman, “Zipporah’s Knife: A Jewish Reckoning With Race”
Tuesday, January 12, 2020, 12 PM PST
Caroline Luce, “California Reds: Young Jewish Communists in the 1930’s”
Wednesday, February 10, 12 PM PST
Moyagaye Bedward, “Narrating Belonging: Haratin Performance of Indigeneity Through Moroccan Jewish History and Artifacts, 1934-1956”
Tuesday, March 2, 12 PM PST
Deborah Forger, “The Embodied God in Ancient Jewish Tradition”
Wednesday, April 14, 12 PM PST
Maxwell Greenberg, “A Palestine on the Pacific: Four Decades of Jewish Territorial Dreaming in Baja California”
Tuesday, May 4, 12 PM PST