The 2018 Selig Brodetsky Memorial Lecture, University of Leeds

The 2018 Selig Brodetsky Memorial Lecture

Prof. (emer.) Mitchell G. Ash (University of Vienna)

“Not only Freud: Jewish Scientists and Scholars at the University of Vienna, from the Habsburg era until the early Post-War years”

When: Monday, 12 November 2018, 6 pm

Where: Michael Sadler Building LG 19, University of Leeds

This event is Free, but please book via Eventbrite:  

Organisers: Centre for Jewish Studies, Centre for the History and Philosophy of Science, School of Computing

Questions? Contact Eva Frojmovic, Director, Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Leeds, UK — Leeds LS2 9 JT


The Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society, Public Lecture, ‘A Hellenistic Marble Statuette of a Maenad and the Cults of Dioysos and Kore at Samaria/Sebaste’



Thursday 4th October 2018, 6.00pm (followed by refreshments)

Institute of Archaeology, University College London, Lecture Theatre G6

(Ground Floor), 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H OPY

A graceful marble statuette now in California was excavated in the British led excavations at Sebaste during the 1930s, but the figure’s identity and significance long escaped archaeologists. An animal-skin wrap, however, identifies her as a maenad, a follower of Dionysos, The statuette was dug up with several other marble sculptures, one a figure of the child Dionysos and another of Kore, Sebaste’s principal cult. The three figures could well come from a courtyard shrine, and they pose the question of the interaction of the cults of the god of wine and the goddess of the Underworld in the religious politics of the city.

John J. Herrmann is Curator of Classical Art, Emeritus, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where he curated more than a dozen temporary exhibitions on Greek and Roman art. He has excavated in Italy and travelled in Israel, Jordan, and Syria. A special theme of his research is collaboration with scientists in the study of marble. He has also studied the cult of Demeter and Kore in its Egyptian form and explored its emanation into ancient Judaea.

Organised jointly with The Institute of Archaeology, University College London

All welcome. Admission free. No ticket required.

Enquiries 020 8349 5754

Doctoral and Early Career research training at the University of Manchester, 26-28 June 2018

Doctoral and Early Career research training at the University of Manchester

The Centre for Jewish Studies at Manchester University is pleased to announce the third doctoral and early career research training event of the Northern UK Jewish Studies Partnership. PhD students and post-doctoral researchers from the Jewish Studies Partnership institutions and other Universities in the UK will meet for a range of training and information sessions on 26-28 June 2018 at the Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Manchester. The event will include advice sessions on REF2021, post-doc funding, and the advanced use of powerpoint, as well as a series of sessions on ‘Current Trends’ in fields of Jewish Studies, from studies of the Other in Judaism, to Jewish Literary Studies, digital humanities, and bibliographic studies.

This year there will be a special focus on getting involved in writing large grants and on the application and interview experience from the perspectives of both the applicant and selection panel. There will also be the opportunity for one-to-one discussions with mentors. For details including the provisional programme, online registration form, and financial assistence with travel and accommodation costs, see

Antisemitism and Zionism in Soviet Cinema: Screenings with Panel Discussions, Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism

Antisemitism and Zionism in Soviet Cinema: Screenings with Panel Discussions

To mark the recent centenaries of the Russian Revolution and the Balfour Declaration, the Pears Institute explores questions of antisemitism and Zionism in Soviet cinema.

Rarely screened in the UK, these two films address the neglected story of the ‘Soviet Zion’ in Birobidzhan, and the contentious question of the persistence of antisemitism after the October Revolution.

Iskateli schast’ia – Seekers of Happiness

Film screening with panel discussion

Speakers: Dr Claire Le Foll, University of Southampton; Professor Philip Spencer, Visiting Professor, Birkbeck, University of London, Emeritus Professor, Kingston University; and Professor Robert Weinberg, Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania

Date: Sunday 25 February 2018

Venue: Birkbeck, University of London, Room B35, Torrington Square main entrance, WC1E 7HX

Time:                            2.00 – 3.30  Film screening

3.30 – 3.45 Break

3.45 – 4.45 Panel discussion

Free event open to all: Eventbrite link

Rarely screened in the UK, Iskateli schast’ia (Vladimir Korsh-Sablin, 1934) offers insight into how themes of assimilation, antisemitism, Zionism and communism were expressed in Soviet cinema under Stalin.

During the late 1920s, many impoverished Jews searching for a better life made their way to Birobidzhan, the new Soviet Jewish Autonomous Region on the Chinese border. This film tells the story of one Jewish family’s migration to the new ‘Soviet Zion’ and their experiences as settlers on a collective farm as they build their new life.

In the panel discussion speakers will consider questions the film raises about the history of Jews under communism and the relationship between Zionism and the Soviet project. How did a ‘Soviet Zion’ emerge under Stalin; and how did Jews respond to the invitation to migrate to the Siberian Far East? What was life like in the new (Soviet) Jewish state? How were Jews and Jewishness depicted in Soviet cinema? And how does the film and its subject matter sit within the wider history of the relationship between Marxism and Jewish politics? Chair: Dr Brendan McGeever, Acting Associate Director of the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism.

About the panel speakers: Claire Le Foll is a historian of East European Jewry, and has a particular interest in Soviet Jewish cinema; Philip Spencer is Professor Emeritus in Holocaust and Genocide Studies and has a specialist interest in Marxism and Jewish politics; and Professor Robert Weinberg is a specialist on the history of Birobidzhan and Soviet Jewish history more generally.


The Commissar

Film screening with panel discussion

Speakers include: Professor Marat Grinberg, Reed College, Oregon; Professor Jeremy Hicks, Queen Mary, University of London

Date: Sunday 15 April 2018

Venue: Birkbeck, University of London, Room B35, Torrington Square main entrance, WC1E 7HX.

Time:                            2.00 – 3.55  Film screening

3.55 – 4.15 Break

4.15 – 5.15 Panel discussion

Free event open to all:

The Commissar (Aleksandr Askoldov, 1967) is regarded as one of the most important films of the Soviet era, yet it was banned for over 20 years.

Based on a short story by Russian Jewish writer Vasilii Grossman, the film chronicles the dramatic journey of a pregnant Red Army commissar during the Russian Revolution. As the birth of her child reaches ever nearer, the committed commissar is forced to stay with a Jewish family near the frontline of the battle between the Red and White Armies. Originally scheduled for release in 1967, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, Askoldov’s first and only film was shelved by the censors due to its frank portrayal of antisemitism and pogromist violence in the wake of the Revolution. Askoldov was in turn expelled from the Communist Party and banned from making films for life.

In the panel discussion following the screening, speakers will explore issues the film raises about both antisemitism and gender in the Russian Revolution. How is antisemitism represented and why did this prove so controversial to the Soviet authorities? In what ways did the film’s intended release during the Six Day War of 1967 shape its reception? How is gender and Soviet womanhood depicted in the film? And how does The Commissar compare with other representations of the Holocaust and gender in Soviet cinema? Chair: Dr Brendan McGeever, Acting Associate Director of the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism.

About the panel speakers: Marat Grinberg is a scholar of Russian and Soviet literature and cinema and author of Aleksandr Askoldov The Commissar (Intellect, 2016), a book-length study of the film; and Jeremy Hicks is a specialist on the Holocaust in Soviet Cinema.

50 Years Anniversary Celebration- Hebrew and Jewish Studies Department at University College London

50-Year Anniversary Celebration

22 November 2017


Fifty years ago, UCL elevated its traditional Hebrew studies, established in 1826, to an independent Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, as we all know it today.

Since then we have remained the only university department in the UK dedicated exclusively to the field of Hebrew and Jewish Studies.

We are planning a special celebration of this fifty-year anniversary with the UCL academic community, our students, our alumni and friends.  The event will take place on the evening of 7 February 2018 at 6pm, offering an opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones.

The event will feature a rich programme of music and presentations including a ten-year memorial tribute to the late Professor John Klier, our Head of Department from 1994 – 2002.

You can book tickets for this event at:


‘From Berdichev to Minsk and Onward to Moscow: Jewish Voices of the Russian Revolution’, Pears Institute Public Lecture

From Berdichev to Minsk and Onward to Moscow: Jewish Voices of the Russian Revolution

Pears Institute Public Lecture

Speaker:              Professor Elissa Bemporad, City University of New York

Date:                     Monday 27 November 2017

Time:                     6.30pm – 8.00 pm

Venue:                 Birkbeck, University of London, Clore Lecture Theatre, Clore       Management Centre, Torrington Square, Bloomsbury,      London WC1E 7JL

The Russian Revolution of 1917 stormed through the cities and towns of the former Pale of Settlement, bringing promises, hopes, enthusiasm and empowerment to millions of Jews. But the Revolution also brought fear and violence. It was this violence, unleashed throughout Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution and into the Civil War of 1918-1921, that ultimately swayed the Jews to support the Bolshevik cause. The pervasiveness, extraordinary brutality, and unprecedented nature of the anti-Jewish pogroms that followed the Revolution shaped the relationship between Jews and the new Bolshevik power, sparking a Soviet Jewish alliance. By exploring the tumultuous events in Berdichev, Minsk and Moscow, three cities located in different regions of the Soviet territory, this talk will capture Jewish responses to the 1917 Revolution, and reassess the role that violence played in the choices Jews made.

Click here for further information:


Oxford Seminar in Advanced Jewish Studies (2019-2010), Call for Proposals

Oxford Seminar in Advanced Jewish Studies 2019-2020



 The Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies invites proposals from individuals or institutions wishing to direct an Oxford Seminar in Advanced Jewish Studies in 2019-2020. The Seminar may be convened either from mid October to mid March or from mid January to mid June.

The Seminar will convene in weekly meetings through the duration of two Oxford terms, which in 2019-2020 will be from 13 October to 7 December 2019, 19 January to 14 March 2020, and 26 April to 20 June 2020. These meetings will offer a forum for the group to address central research topics related to the overall theme of the project. One or more publications will be expected as a product of the Seminar.

The Seminar will be based on a core of visiting fellows who will participate in the work of the research group for the full six months, in conjunction with a larger number of fellows who will attend for shorter periods. The Seminar can expect funding for up to the equivalent of seven fellows in residence for six months.

Visiting fellows will each receive an allowance, including a sum to cover accommodation and travelling expenses, and shared office space in the centre of Oxford in the Clarendon Institute, where the Leopold Muller Memorial Library is housed and where most of the Centre’s academic staff have their offices.

Proposals are invited for research groups in any area of Hebrew and Jewish Studies. Preference will be given to a project with a clear research rationale which involves use of special resources available in Oxford.

Proposals, in not more than two pages, should include the following information:

  1. Title of Seminar
  2. Seminar leader or leaders
  3. Description of subject
  4. Methods to be used to take advantage of collaborative research
  5. Possibilities for innovation through the research project
  6. Reasons why Oxford is particularly appropriate as the venue for the seminar
  7. Value of the Seminar for the development of Jewish Studies as an academic subject
  8. Names of scholars who might be invited to participate in the project

Please attach a brief curriculum vitae of each Seminar leader.

The Centre will inform applicants in early February 2018 which proposals have been selected for further consideration and may request further information from proposers before the final decision in mid March 2018.

Please send your proposal to the Registrar, Martine Smith-Huvers, by email ( by 15 January 2018.

For information on previous Seminars held at the Centre see, and on the Seminar to be held in 2017-2018, see