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Year recap and Fall courses preview.
Year recap and Fall courses preview.
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Message from the Director


Dear friends,
Once again we find ourselves at the close of an academic year. If you are a student, you are likely looking forward to saying goodbye to Spring term and hello to summer. If you are one of the many community members on our mailing list, I know you will want to join me in congratulating our students on the hard work they have put into their studies. A special mazel tov to our graduating student, Ilana Anfanger; we wish her derekh tzlekha -- bon voyage -- as she leaves PSU and the strong community she has built here for the wider world. 

In this issue of our newsletter, we review the year gone by and look forward to Fall term of 2018. Learn about our innovative History of Antisemitism course that enrolled almost 100 students, catch up on faculty news, and learn about the courses we'll offer in the fall. And watch this space for upcoming news on an exciting new scholarship program that we'll be launching in the very near future.

We wish you an enjoyable summer. 

Natan Signature



Natan M. Meir, Academic Director
Cogan Lecture audience
Audience members listen to Prof. Timothy Snyder deliver the 2018 Sara Glasgow Cogan Lecture
This year, the Judaic Studies Program offered the PSU campus and the Portland community nine educational, stimulating, and inspiring public events. 
Some highlights: Artist-in-Residence David Spear gave us "Songs from the Heart," the third annual Levy Event, including the scored and restored "Hungry Hearts" and the knock-out Cabaret J. In "Tenement Stories," Gus and Libby Solomon Lecturer Annie Polland told the story of three generations of immigrants to New York's Lower Side. The Lokey Lecture featured Prof. Aviva Halamish shattering long-held myths on the role of the Holocaust in the establishment of the State of Israel. And we hosted over 550 people in Smith Memorial Student Union's ballroom for the Sara Glasgow Cogan Memorial Lecture, "Resisting Tyranny: Lessons from the European 20th Century," with Prof. Timothy Snyder.

These events were made possible by our community supporters -- thank you! The programs offered by the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies are always free and open to the public. If you'd like to help us continue to bring this kind of high-caliber and thought-provoking programming to Portland, please consider making a contribution.
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History of Antisemitism Mini-Course

On two Sundays in April, 90 PSU students and 30 community auditors filled a classroom in Shattuck Hall for an innovative mini-course on the history of antisemitism. The course, worth two credits (as opposed to the usual four for full-term courses), featured Professor John Efron of UC Berkeley as guest lecturer. "History of Antisemitism" was originally the brainchild of a group of Judaic Studies students who, two years ago, disturbed by a spate of antisemitic incidents on campus, decided that the PSU campus was in need of an academic course on antisemitism and applied to the Oregon Jewish Community Youth Foundation for a grant to fund the course. Other supporting agencies included PSU's Holocaust and Genocide Studies Project and a President's Diversity Mini-Grant. Special thanks to Prof. Nina Spiegel for taking on the tremendous task of coordinating instructional content and grading. 
almost 100 students plus auditors attended
Over 100 students and auditors attended
Dr. John Efron teaching
Dr. John Efron teaching
Student reports results of her break out group session
Student reports results of small group break out session

Faculty, students, and program supporters gathered on June 4 for a festive celebration of this year’s graduate and scholarship awardees.
End of Year Celebration
Judaic Studies minor Ilana Anfanger '18 (second from L) and major Maddie Marcus (second from R) celebrate with friends.
CLAS Dean Karen Marongelle, CLAS Director of Development Allison Rollison and Judaic Studies Advisory Committee member Larry Levy
Faculty News

Michael Weingrad spent winter and spring terms 2018 on sabbatical leave, including a research stay in Israel. His essay on recent Israeli science fiction appeared in the spring issue of the Jewish Review of Books. In June, his essay on the poetry of Rahel and review of novels by Israeli writers Orly Castel-Bloom and Moshe Sakal will appear in Mosaic Magazine. He gave a talk on Jews and fantasy literature at Ohio State University in April.

Prof. Nina Spiegel will be on sabbatical leave in academic year 2018-19, working on her latest project. “The New Israelis: Cultural Development and Exchange in the Early Years of the State” is a study of the development of Israeli culture in the post-state era, focusing on the early years of the state in the 1950s and early 1960s.


Prof. Natan Meir published “Charting the Outer Provinces of Jewry: The Study of East European Jewry's Margins" in the latest issue of Polin, a journal dedicated to the study of the history and culture of Polish Jewry.




Prof. Meir invites community members to join him on an unforgettable trip to Central and Eastern Europe this October. He will serve as Scholar-in-Residence on Ayelet Tours’ “Traveling University” tour of Jewish heritage sites in Prague, Budapest, Krakow, and Warsaw, Oct. 8-18.  


We'll uncover the stories of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Stroll through former Jewish neighborhoods, marvel at stunning synagogues, and wander centuries-old cemeteries as we bring the past to life through historical documents, poetry, and photographs. We'll also visit exciting new institutions such as the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

Fall 2018 Courses


When does the history of the Jews begin? How reliable is the Bible as a source for Jewish origins? What was life like for Jews living under Greek and Roman rule, during the time of Jesus, or under the first Christian and Muslim empires? This course will answer all these questions.
This course looks at the Jewish encounter with modernity through literature.  The focus will be on literature produced by East European Jews in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a period of great upheaval reflected in the emerging modern Hebrew and Yiddish literatures of the time.

Discusses the development and interaction of Roman paganism, Christianity and Judaism during the period of Late Antiquity. Topics include education, philosophy, asceticism, ritual, religious law, the image of the holy man and the phenomenon of religious polemic in the Later Roman Empire (c. 250-600 CE).

Why the Jews? Why the Germans?  Why genocide? Study the Holocaust as both a German and a pan-European phenomenon. Understand it from the perspective of its victims, both Jews and others. Grasp the extent of collaboration with the Nazis and the nature of resistance. Comprehend why the aftershocks of this historical earthquake are still being felt today, three-quarters of a century later.  

Audit a class!

Oregon residents aged 65 and older may audit most of PSU's regular classes on a space available basis. Learn more.

Community Partner Events

R.B. Kitaj Art Exhibit at OJMCHE

In honor of our first anniversary, Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education opens R.B. Kitaj: A Jew Etc., Etc., by renowned artist R.B. Kitaj. The exhibit runs June 7 through September 30.

Organized by OJMCHE and curated by Bruce Guenther, R.B. Kitaj: A Jew Etc., Etc. provides the first Northwest overview of one of the most important post-1960 contemporary artists, R.B. Kitaj. The exhibition presents a survey of 16 oil paintings and four drawings, focusing on works created between 1990 and the artist’s death in 2007, which reflect the artist’s deep exploration of a rich complexity of ideas and references to art history and Judaism.
724 NW Davis Street, Portland
Saturday–Sunday: Noon to 5pm
Tuesday–Thursday: 11am-5pm; Friday: 11am-4pm 
Guided tours Wednesday at 1pm  

Isle of Klezbos

8pm -11pm (Doors open at 7:00pm)
 All-gal powerhouse tours the West Coast for our 20th anniversary & we're thrilled to make our Oregon debut this July in Portland, joined on this Alberta Rose Theatre bill by the Portland Klezmer All Stars (opening act featuring members of 3 Leg Torso, Blue Cranes, Klezmocracy and many more).

$18 Advance / $22 At the Door
$12 Seniors 65+ and Kids 12 & Under
(Minors OK when accompanied by a parent or guardian).
Thursday, July 12 at 8:00 PM - 11:00 PM PDT
The Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St, Portland, Oregon 97211
Every gift makes it possible for us to continue serving our students and community.
Portland State University | Judaic Studies PO Box 751 | Portland, OR 97207-0751 US
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