Recent Books Published by

Judaic Studies Department Professors

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Mission Statement

The Judaic Studies Department at Brooklyn College is committed to rigorous, critical and serious teaching and research about the Jewish civilization born in the ancient Middle East that has flourished in a variety of forms in many places for more than three thousand years. The department's course offerings and programs reflect the chronological scope and geographic diversity of the Jewish experience, with particular strength in the fields of intellectual, religious and social history, founded on analytic study of primary sources. Courses on Hebrew and Yiddish promote access to broad Jewish literature that is also studied in translation, while students are urged to study Arabic, Spanish and other languages that facilitate access to sources. The department also actively seeks to promote study of the many Jewish communities of Brooklyn.

Current News

During the week of March 31 to April 3, 2014, the Judaic Studies Department will host a remarkable visit by distinguished socio-linguist, literary scholar, author, poet, translator, and editor, Prof. Ilan Stavans of Amherst College, as part of the Language-Identity-Diversity Project. Prof. Stavans is a native-speaker of Yiddish and Spanish, with fluency in Hebrew and mastery of English. He has agreed to undertake a remarkable academic marathon, by coming to Brooklyn College not to deliver just one lecture, but to make five public presentations and to meet with the students and faculty in more than a dozen courses sponsored by the Judaic Studies Department, Puerto Rican and Latino Studies, Modern Languages and Literature, Sociology, English and Comparative Literature, and the Honors College, in addition to screening a tragi-comic Mexican-Spanish film based on his story, "My Mexican Shivah" and will be video interviewed by Prof. Sara Reguer for CUNY TV online. In the keynote lecture in the Frances Haidt Memorial Lecture Series, Prof. Stavans will address "Isaac Bashevis Singer's Women and Mine."

A New Sound in Hebrew: National Identity and the National Poet

On Thursday, April 3, 5:30 PM, at BC Library Room 241, Dr. Miryam Segal, Associate Professor of Hebrew and Director of Religious Studies atMiryam Segal Queens College, will speak on "A New Sound in Hebrew: National Identity and the National Poet." Prof. Segal is the author of path-breaking research examining the struggle over the sound of modern Hebrew that came with the adoption of a new accent to replace the European Ashkenazic accent identified with negative stereotypes of the Diaspora Jew. The new Hebrew accent was intended to embody and promote a new Jewish national identity. Yet, paradoxically, the most prominent national Jewish poet was unable to adopt the new accent that became established from the 1920s as the sound of the Israeli mother-tongue.


"Women and Other Jews Using Jewish Languages"

Thursday, April 24, 2014, 12:30 to 2 PM

at Tanger Auditorium in the Brooklyn College Library

Prof. Zelda Kahan Newman (Lehman College)

"What We Can Learn From Hasidic Yiddish"


Prof. Kahan has been conducting research among Satmar Hasidic women, seeking to document the evolution of contemporary Hasidic Yiddish in communities based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Prof. Ayala Fader (Fordham University)

"Bi-lingualism among Bobover Hasidic Girls in Brooklyn"

Prof. Fader is a linguistic anthropologist and the author of Mitzvah Girls (Princeton University Press) that is based on participatory observation among students and faculty at one of the largest Hasidic Jewish girls schools in Borough Park, Brooklyn.

Prof. Jane Mushabac (New York City College of Technology)

“A Turkish Jew’s Tale: ‘Pasha’"

Prof. Mushabac teaches literature and writing and is an author who uses her family's heritage language of Turkish-Sephardic Ladino in her creative writing.


New Judaic Studies Professors

The Judaic Studies Department lost three veteran members with the retirement of Professors Herbert Druks, Sid Z. Leiman, and Jonathan Helfand.

A search for a professor of Rabbinic Literature drew many distinguished candidates. After thorough review of credentials, publications, recommendation letters, and interviews, as well as sample lectures, the new Assistant Professor of Rabbinic Literature is Dr. David Brodsky who began his appointment in Fall 2013.

David Brodsky Assistant Professor David Brodsky of Judaic studieswas previously co-chair of the department of Rabbinic Civilization at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Prior to that, Brodsky was the Perlow Lecturer in Classical Judaism in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. He has also taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Academy for Jewish Religion, and was recently a visiting scholar at New York University. Brodsky teaches courses on rabbinic literature and Second Temple Judaism. He received his B.A. in Classics from Wesleyan University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Jewish Studies from New York University. He has studied in several yeshivot in Israel and the United States, including Yeshivat Or Etzion and the Telshe Yeshiva. Brodsky's research and publications focus on situating the Babylonian Talmud in its Christian Syriac, Zoroastrian Persian, and Greco-Roman contexts.

A search for a scholar in American Jewish Studies was conducted to appoint a Assistant Professor effective Fall 2014. After reviewing many capable applicants, the search committee made its recommendation to the Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. The identity of the new Assistant Professor of American Jewish Studies will be announced before the upcoming Spring Break that conincides with Passover.

Appointments of visiting professors of Hebrew Language and Literature and Israeli Studies are pending and will be announced for Fall 2014.

Professor Robert Moses Shapiro has been appointed to the New York City Park and Recreation Department's Advisory Council on Holocaust Memorials, with particular focus on the Holocaust Memorial in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.

Fall 2013 Courses are now available:

Fall 2013 Judaic Studies Courses

Note the brand new

Holocaust Movies course JUST 4751

"Indelible Shadows:

Movies and the Holocaust"

Tuesdays, 6:30-9:15 PM.

Japanese BC Yiddish Student

Aya Kiyohisa sings "Dona, Dona" at

Summer Yiddish Program Graduation,

July 26, 2013:

"Dona, Dona" in Yiddish and Japanese by Aya Kiyohisa at YIVO

Prof. Robert Moses Shapiro with several colleagues at the first Polin Academy Summer Seminar for Educators at the newly opened Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Poland, July 2013.

Note Dr. Joel Wolowelsky, Dean of the Faculty and instructor in Jewish Ethics and Mathematics at the Yeshiva of Flatbush (second from right).

The Polin Academy program seeks to promote effective and accurate teaching about the thousand-year history of Jewish life in Poland. Read more about the PASS program at the new Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.

Intensive Summer YIDDISH

Comes to Brooklyn College, 2013!!!

UPDATE: The 2013 Summer Yiddish Program opens on June 17 with more than 43 students from across the USA, Canada, Israel, Poland, Ukraine, and other countries. More than 30 of the students and instructors will be living in BC's Kenilworth Residential Hall, creating an environment for immersion in Yiddish language.

The YIVO Institute's distinguished Uriel Weinreich Summer Yiddish Program will be held at Brooklyn College starting in the coming summer of 2013. The six-week intensive program in Yiddish language, literature, and culture will meet Monday through Friday from June 17 to July 26. Students can enroll at four different skill levels, from absolute beginners to advanced. Students can enroll for transferrable college credit or as non-credit students. Housing is available at reasonable rates at Brooklyn College's new Kenilworth Residential Hall.

For more information, go to

or contact Jennifer Young 917 606 8290


Register now!

Summer and Fall 2013

Judaic Studies Courses


Judaic Studies Chair Prof. Sara Reguer's new book, The Most Tenacious of Minorities: The Jews of Italy, is now available from Academic Studies Press and The book is the result of years of research in archives and libraries, both in the USA and in Italy, as well as travel to archaeological and historic sites, reflecting the more than two millenia of Jewish engagement with Italy. With numerous photographs, maps, and documents, the book is both scholarly and written in a very accessible style that will meet the needs of college students, as well as others interested in the secrets of Jewish survival and continuity in Italy.


Judaic Studies Departmental Awards Party, May 2013

Honoring students who have excelled academically and demonstrated committment to values embodied in the Judaic and Liberal Arts traditions. Some are pursuing careers in education, research, rabbinics, medicine, and law, while others are exploring the Judaic heritage in a new chapter of their lives. Students being honored have both earned scholarships, raised families, and worked to support themselves and their families, who join in the celebration.




Yom HaShoah Programs

On April 7, 2013, Prof. Sara Reguer spoke to a large audience at the Mt. Sinai Jewish Center in Washington Heights, movingly sketching the history and fate of the Jewish community in Brisk (Brest Litovsk, Belarus) before and during the Second World War. Brisk was home to Prof. Reguer's grandparents, in a community served by the distinguished dynasty of Soloveitchik rabbis.

At the Center for Jewish History, on April 7, 2013, Prof. Robert Moses Shapiro presented a detailed description of the origins, provenance, and contents of the Hersh Wasser Collection in the YIVO Archives. Wasser worked closely with Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum, founder of the clandestine archive of the Warsaw Ghetto known by the codename Oyneg Shabes. It was Wasser who led searchers to the discovery in September 1946 of a cache of the documents buried under the rubble of the Wasser Ghetto. Fearful of the fate of the precious documents under intensifying Communist rule in Poland, Wasser engaged in a three-year clandestine effort to smuggle important documents to the YIVO Institute in New York City. Prof. Shapiro studied the Hersh Wasser Collection and provided much of the material for the new archival finding aid for the collection that is now being digitized for preservation and scholarly access.

BBC Radio Documentary Broadcast on the Secret Warsaw Ghetto Archive

Professor Robert Moses Shapiro was interviewed for a BBC Radio documentary about the secret Warsaw Ghetto Archive, code-named Oyneg Shabes by its organizer, the historian and activist Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum. The documentary includes portions of the interview with Prof. Shapiro amid readings from the archive and interviews with survivors and Polish scholars, edited together with sound effects and musical recordings, creating a sonic documentary image of life in the ghetto where over 400,000 Jews were forced to live from 1940 to 1943. The one-hour documentary, "Voices from the Ghetto," was first broadcast on the BBC on December 29, 2012, and will be repeated on January 27, 2013, designated by the United Nations for commemoration of the Holocaust. It will also be broadcast on April 19, 2013, the sevenieth anniversary of the start of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The program can also be heard at Voices from the Ghetto.

Professor Sara Reguer, Chair of Judaic Studies, presented “So You Think all Jews Speak Yiddish?” at the Communities of Brooklyn Symposium, Brooklyn College, April 23, 2012. She also reviewed the film “A Tree of Life,” directed by Hava Volterra (Ruth Diskin Films, 2008), in Italian American Review, Fall 2012. Prof. Reguer's forthcoming book, The Most Tenacious of Minorities: The Jews of Italy, is scheduled for publication in early 2013 by Academic Studies Press (ISBN 9781618112446).

The Judaic Studies Department congratulates Professor Herbert Druks and Professor Sid Leiman on making the transition to emeritus status with their retirement from Brooklyn College in 2012. The members of the Department wish them many years of good health and continued scholarly engagement after more than thirty years of service on the Brooklyn College faculty.

Professor Jonathan Helfand, the longest-serving faculty member in the history of the Judaic Studies Department, has announced his decision to retire in 2013, after forty years on the Brooklyn College faculty. In addition to teaching a variety of courses in modern Jewish history and Halakha, Prof. Helfand has also served for two decades as the Director of the CUNY Study in Israel Program and as supervisor of the program that grants students up to 30 transfer credits for intensive study in yeshivas and seminaries in Israel, as well as in the United States.

Professor Sharon Flatto continues as administrator of the Judaic Studies Masters Program and has assumed responsibility for supervising the recognition of transfer credits for study in yeshivas and seminaries.

Professor Robert Shapiro returned to teaching in Fall 2012, after a year's sabbatical during which he conducted research on a group of Yiddish and Polish diaries from the Lodz Ghetto and from the Sonderkommando at Auschwitz-Birkenau. During January 2012, Prof. Shapiro taught a graduate seminar on "Archival Research in Yiddish" at the YIVO-Bard College Institute of East European Jewish Studies, working with doctoral students from Israel, Russia, and Germany. In addition, during 2012 Prof. Shapiro translated a series of Yiddish and Polish documents for a forthcoming anthology of primary sources on the work of the Central Jewish Historical Commission in Poland that came into existence at the end of the Second World War. The editor of the volume of translations is the German-Israeli scholar, Dr. Laura Jockusch, of the University of Haifa Holocaust Studies Program, whose book “Collect and Record!” Jewish Holocaust Documentation in Postwar Europe was published by Oxford University Press in Fall 2012.

Judaic Studies Departmental

Awards Party, May 2012


To learn what Yom Ha-zikaron (Memorial Day) means for Israelis, view the following documentary film:  

Register now for

Summer and Fall 2011

Judaic Studies Courses

Follow the links to view the

Summer 2011 and Fall 2011 Judaic Studies courses.


Annual Judaic Studies Departmental Awards to Students were presented on May 3, 2011, to Morris Betesh (Abraham S. Goodhartz Memorial Scholarship), Aleeza Chanowitz (Holocaust Studies Memorial Award), Habib Hymie Chera (Kennedy Human Relations Award), Loraine Cohen (Israel Gerber Memorial Award), and Michael Widroff (Faculty Hillel Associates in Judaic Studies Award).

Michael Widroff                    Morris Betesh                         Habib Hymie Chera

Aleeza Chanowitz (right, with mother)          Loraine Cohen (right, with mother and sister)          

                                                   Dean Donna Wilson       Department Chair

                                                                                    Prof. Sara Reguer

 Prof. Sharon Flatto                                              Dean Donna Wilson          Associate Provost

                                                                                                             Jerry Mirotznik

Prof. Jonathan Helfand        Prof. Itzhak Kerstein       Prof. Sid Leiman           Prof. Itzhak Kerstein


            Mr. and Mrs. Michael Widroff

Prof. Herbert Druks                      Prof. Jonathan Helfand                  Mrs. Margaret Brummell

Mrs. Donna Brigando                 Dr. Ilana Abramovitch          Prof. Robert M. Shapiro

Recently promoted to Full Professor, Dr. Robert Moses Shapiro is completing his seventh year at Brooklyn College, where he teaches courses about East European Jewry, the Holocaust, Yiddish Language and Literature, and the Jewish Diaspora. He has been awarded a sabbatical fellowship for the 2011-12 academic year, to complete several book projects related to his previous publications on the Lodz ghetto and Auschwitz.


The April 28, 2011, the Brooklyn College Interdisciplinary Colloquium on North Africa and the Wider World, attracted a very large audience to hear presentations about North Africa from antiquity to the present. Judaic Studies Chair Prof. Sara Reguer spoke on "The Western Allies Invade North Africa . . . in 1942."

Prof. Vivian Mann of the Jewish Theological Seminary delivered this year's Frances Haidt, '44, Memorial Lecture, on March 24, 2011, at the Tanger Auditorium. The lecture was co-sponsored by the Ethyle R. Wolfe Institute for the Humanities with the Department of Judaic Studies and the Department of English. Prof. Mann's illustrated lecture topic was "Islamic Art: A Project of Muslims, Jews, and Christians."


Prof. Sharon Flatto

is currently on sabbatical, holding a distinguished Wolfe Institute for the Humanities Fellowship for 2010-11. Her book, The Kabbalistic Culture of Eighteenth-Century Prague: Ezekiel Landau and His Contemporaries (Oxford: Littman Press, 2010), has received enthusiastic reviews. Her most recently published article, “Believing the Censor? A Response to ‘Deists, Sabbatians, and Kabbalists in Prague: A Censored Sermon of R. Ezekiel Landau, 1770,” appears in Kabbalah: Journal for the Study of Jewish Mystical Texts, vol. 24 (2011), pp. 123-146. At the 42nd Annual Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies, held in Boston in December 2010, Prof. Flatto presented a paper on “Early Modern Rabbinic Culture: The State of the Field and Necessary Areas of Research,” as part of a panel on "New Directions in Early Modern Jewish History: Continuity or Break?"


Biographies of American Jewish Soldiers Killed in Action in Afghanistan and Iraq

Follow the link 135331 to see photographs and short profiles of American Jewish fighting men and women who were killed in action in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001. Some examples:

Sgt. Elijah Tai Wah Wong Sgt. Elijah Tai Wah Wong ‘From IDF to U.S. Army’

Elijah Tai Wah Wong came from a poor family on New York City’s Lower East Side projects. His father was of Chinese descent, but Wong and his siblings were raised with Modern Orthodox Jewish values through their Jewish mother. Wong is remembered by his sister as an outgoing, funny and mischievous child who attended grade school at Yeshiva Rabbi Jacob Konvitz and from there went on to Israel to finish high school on a kibbutz. After graduation, Wong joined the Israel Defense Forces and served in the Golani corps.

Returning from Israel, Wong enlisted in the Air Force, married his wife, Lizeth, and became a father of three children. “Eli didn’t wait for someone to say to do something, he just went ahead and did it. He was always positive and a bit sarcastic at times.… He always saw the good side of everything and always tried to make people laugh,” his wife told the Forward.

Wong is remembered as someone who would always learn jokes just to make people laugh. He was also a talented artist, even though he did not spend a lot of time drawing as an adult. “Eli was the kind of person who tried to save the world one person at a time and truly believed he could…. Eli believed that humanity is good and ultimately good will prevail,” his sister wrote the Forward.

Elijah Tai Wah Wong was killed February 9, 2004, in Iraq, while defusing a bomb. He was 42 years old.

Capt. Michael Y. Tarlavsky Capt. Michael Y. Tarlavsky ‘Religious Refugee’

Born in Latvia when it was still part of the Soviet Union, Michael Tarlavsky was 5 years old in 1979, when his family immigrated to the United States as religious refugees. He was placed with a sponsor family in the New Orleans Jewish community. The family later moved to Clifton, N.J.

Sociable and friendly, Tarlavsky was popular and athletic in high school and studied sports medicine at Rutgers University. An adventurer, Tarlavsky was a scuba diving master, went skydiving and loved to travel on a whim. “He lived 90 years in his 30,” his sister, Elina Tarlavsky, told the Forward. Always knowing that he was going to be in the military, Tarlavsky joined the ROTC in college.

When he was deployed to Korea’s demilitarized zone, he had a chance to meet Benjamin Netanyahu and give him a tour of the area. Later, because Tarlavsky spoke Russian, he became valuable in Afghanistan and spent a great deal of time meeting tribal leaders and establishing relationships.

After his first tour, Tarlavsky married his fiance, Tricia, an Army captain who shared his love of adventure and the outdoors. He also had a chance to deliver his son, Joseph Michael, and was in Tennessee for the first nine months of his son’s life before he was sent to Iraq. Tarlavsky was killed only a month into his deployment.

The night before he was killed, Elina received an instant message from her brother, wishing her a happy birthday.

“When we would fight as children, my father always told us, ‘When your mother and I are gone, you’ll only have each other,’ and not having that now is probably the hardest thing,” Elina said.

Michael Tarlavsky was killed August 12, 2004, when his unit was attacked in Najaf, Iraq. He was 30 years old.

Read more:
Read more:

Follow the link to improve your Yiddish idioms and enjoy:

Spring 2011 Yiddish 2 meets Mon.-Wed., 8-9:15 PM, at James Hall.

Yiddish: Words should be weighed, not counted.


Register for Spring 2011 Judaic Studies Courses

View the full list of Spring 2011 courses.

Early Photos of Palestine before the First World War, collected by the Palestine Exploration Fund, can be viewed on-line can be viewed on-line.

Visit the World-renowned On-Line Leiman Library

The Leiman Library is a private collection of Judaica located in Kew Gardens Hills, N.Y. Its primary strengths are in Bible, Talmud, Rabbinics, Jewish Thought, and Jewish History. Its over 100,000 items consist of some 30,000 books, plus an even larger collection of pamphlets, scholarly essays, newspapers, newspaper clippings, posters, postcards, photographs, stamps, coins, and related items. The purpose of its on-line website is to make available to the public some of the treasures of the collection. Curator of the Library is Prof. Shnayer Leiman of Brooklyn College's Department of Judaic Studies. To tour the On-line Leiman Library Website, follow the link Leiman Library on-line website.


Making the Secret Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto Accessible at the YIVO Archives

Prof. Robert M. Shapiro and YIVO's Chief Archivist Emeritus Marek Web compiled a new, detailed catalog and finding aid to the Hersh Wasser Collection at the YIVO Archives in the Center for Jewish History at 15 West 16th Street. Most of the Wasser Collection consists of documents smuggled out of postwar Poland by Hersh Wasser, who had been a key member of Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum's clandestine Oyneg Shabes Archive team that buried thousands of documents that were retrieved from the rubble of the Warsaw Ghetto in 1946 and 1950. Probably motivated by fear for the safety of the precious secret ghetto archive, Wasser surreptitiously removed hundreds of pages of documents and sent them by various means to the YIVO Institute in New York City. Professor Shapiro also published The Warsaw Ghetto Oyneg Shabes-Ringelblum Archive: Catalog and Guide, co-edited by Tadeusz Epsztein, with an introduction by Samuel D. Kassow (Indiana University Press in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, 2009).

Prof. Reguer's Lecture at the Library of Congress

on October 25, 2010

Prof. Sara Reguer spoke on "The Cairo Genizah: The World of Jewish Women" at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, on Monday, October 25, 12-1 PM, at the African and Middle Eastern Reading Room in the Thomas Jefferson Building, LJ 220, 101 Independence Avenue, SE. The lecture was open to the public. For more information, contact Dr. Peggy Pearlstein at (202)707-3779 or


Meet BC Graduate Rabbi Chai Posner

2006 Judaic Studies graduate Rabbi Chai Posner has been appointed Associate Rabbi of Beth Tfiloh, the largest Orthodox congregation in Baltimore, MD. Rabbi Posner served as a rabbinic intern with the Beth David Synagogue in West Hartford, Connecticut and Kingsway Jewish Center in Brooklyn, New York, where he assumed full rabbinic duties, taught adult education classes and ran youth programs. He developed his interest in teaching and working with children through his years at the Flatbush Park Jewish Center Camp, where he served in a variety of capacities, including Division Head, Sports Director and Head of Judaic Studies. This spring, Rabbi Posner will graduate from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, founded by Rabbi Avi Weiss; he holds a B.A. in Judaic Studies from Brooklyn College and attended Yeshivot in Israel. He and his wife, Rachel, are the proud parents of a one and a half year old son, Roni.

September 26, 2010

Yiddish at Princeton University (almost)

There is a Yiddish Conversation Table at Princeton, led by a student seeking introduction of formal instruction in Yiddish language, pointing to the examples of Harvard, the Sorbonne, Columbia, U. of Pennsylvania, UCLA, and the U. of Texas. She could also have included Brooklyn College, where Yiddish has been taught for more than half a century. Follow the link for more


September 21, 2010



Folksbiene National Yiddish Theater at Brooklyn College

Motl Didner, Associate Director of the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene, greeting the audience.

An audience of over 600 at Whitman Hall applauded, laughed, cheered, and grew teary as some of today's hottest young talents performed new Yiddish songs and new interpretations of the classics, under the direction of Maestro Zalmen Mlotek. Piano, bass, drums, guitar, clarinet, shepherd's pipe, and accordion accompanied songs in Yiddish, while supertitle translations into English and Russian were projected above the stage.

Beginner Yiddish student Greg Golod discussing Yiddish music with Prof. Sara Reguer, Chair of Judaic Studies.

The appearance by the National Yiddish Theater was made possible with the support of CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein and was co-sponsored by the departments of Judaic Studies, Modern Languages, History, English, Theater, Television and Radio, and by the Honors Academy and the Ethyle R. Wolfe Institute for the Humanities.

Yiddish has been taught at BC for almost 50 years. The current Yiddish instructor is Prof. Robert Moses Shapiro, who will be teaching both Yiddish language and Yiddish Literature in Translation in Spring 2011.

August 13, 2010

The annual convention of the Society of American Archivists presented a Certificate of Special Merit to Prof. Robert Moses Shapiro, for his recent book, The Warsaw Ghetto Oyneg Shabes-Ringelblum Archive: Catalog and Guide, which Prof. Shapiro translated and edited from the original Polish manuscript compiled by Dr. Tadeusz Epsztein of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, Poland. The book was jointly published in January 2010 by Indiana University Press, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Jewish Historical Institute.


May 4, 2010

Judaic Studies Awards Party

Awards recipients with Prof. Sara Reguer, Chair of Judaic Studies, and Prof. William Tramontano, Provost of Brooklyn College.

Prof. Itzhak Kerstein, veteran Hebrew instructor at Brooklyn College.

Prof. Sid Leiman

Prof. Jonathan Helfand,

Director of Israel and Yeshiva Study Programs.

Prof. Sharon Flatto has been awarded a prestigious Wolfe Fellowship for 2010-11, as well as a PSC-CUNY research grant. The Littman Library has published Prof. Flatto's book, Flatto cover The Kabbalistic Culture of Eighteenth-century Prague: Ezekiel Landau And His Contemporaries.

Prof. Robert Moses Shapiro has been awarded a Tow Faculty Travel Fellowship and a PSC-CUNY grant in support of research comparing two major ghettos in Nazi-occupied Poland. Prof. Shapiro's book, The Warsaw Ghetto Oyneg Shabes-ringelblum Archive: Catalog and Guide, was published by Indiana University Press in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. On April 25, 2010, Prof. Shapiro spoke at the Holocaust Memorial Park in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, in conjunction with the dedication of a new granite marker in memory of the Jewish communities in Zaglebie, Poland.


Prof. Susan Zuccotti of Barnard College delivered this year's Frances Haidt, '44, Memorial Lecture presented by the Ethyle R. Wolfe Institute for the Humanities in cooperation with the Department of Judaic Studies and the Department of English. Prof. Zuccotti's topic at her lecture on Tuesday, April 22, 12:30-1:45 PM, at Tanger Auditorium, wase the controversial record of wartime Pope Pius XII.

German historian Thorsten Wagner of Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, spent two days at Brooklyn College on April 13 and 14, 2010, as a guest of the Judaic Studies Department, during which he presented a public lecture, sponsored by the Hillel Foundation, about revelations from his current research on the rescue of Denmark's Jews during the Holocaust. With support from the Core Curriculum Director, our German guest also visited several classes to talk about the rebirth of German Jewry since 1945 and how Germany remembers the Holocaust today.

Department Chair Prof. Sara Reguer was on sabbatical leave during Fall 2009, during which she used a Tow Faculty Travel Grant to research a chapter for her forthcoming book on the Jews of Italy. She spent almost a month on the island Sardinia in search of information about Conversos.

Prof. Robert Moses Shapiro spent two weeks in August 2009 in Lódz, Poland, as a guest lecturer at the University of Lódz Center for Jewish Research. Prof. Shapiro's stay was facilitated by the United States Embassy in Warsaw, with funds from the Fulbright-Hays Program. Prof. Shapiro presented several lectures about the history of Jews in Lódz, both before and during the Second World War, in conjunction with the commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the liquidation of the ghetto in Lódz, that was last and longest existing ghetto created by the Nazi Germans in occupied Poland.

Ephraim Kaye, director of International Teacher Training at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel, spent two days in December 2009 at Brooklyn College as a guest of the Judaic Studies Department. With sponsorship from the Hillel Foundation, Mr. Kaye addressed students on how to deal with Holocaust deniers. Sponsored by the School of Education, Mr. Kaye made a special presentation for teachers on how to use the challenge of Holocaust denial as a teaching opportunity. With support of the Core Curriculum Office, Ephraim Kaye met with Prof. Shapiro's classes to talk about his own experience as an American Jew who chose to immigrate to Israel.

"Memoirs of a 'Jewminicana'" was the title of a presentation made by free-lance author and rebbitsn Aliza Hausman on March 17, 2009, using her own biography to illustrate a discussion of the diverse nature of Jewish identity. The event was co-sponsored by the Core Curriculum, History Department, Women's Studies Program, Honors College, and Phi Beta Kappa. Ms. Hausman is a first-generation Dominican-American Latina and Orthodox Jewish convert  blogging at Read her recent interview in the Jewish Press


New York Times Columnist Addresses the Question of How Well the Press Covers Israel

Clyde Haberman, a renowned newspaperman and CUNY graduate, who spent 13 years as a globetrotting foreign correspondent for The New York Times in locales such as Tokyo, Rome and Jerusalem before taking up his current assignment in 1995 as Metro section columnist for the paper, delivered this year's Frances Haidt, '44, Memorial Lecture presented by the Ethyle R. Wolfe Institute for the Humanities in cooperation with the Department of Judaic Studies and the Department of English.

The subject of Haberman's talk, which was held March 18, 2009, in the Woody Tanger Auditorium at the Brooklyn College Library, was "Covering Israel: Does the Press Get It Right?" His answer was usually, but not always. "Nobody always gets it right," he told his audience of more than 100 persons. "But, yes, mostly over all we get it right."

Haberman described how shortly after arriving in Jerusalem in 1991, he joined several other correspondents in covering an anti-Palestinian demonstration by Orthodox Jews. One of the protestors came up to him and bluntly asked, "Are you a Jew?" Haberman replied that he was and the man quickly rejoined his fellow demonstrators. Then one of Haberman's fellow journalists, a Briton, who also was Jewish, warned him not to tell people he was Jewish. "It will just cause trouble for you," he said.

Haberman, a 1966 graduate of City College of New York who is married and has three children and one grandchild, admitted that covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for four years was one of the most troublesome - even dangerous - assignments for the Times, with the exception of covering the Iraq War. He spoke of aspects of his time in the Middle East that bothered him and others that amused him, then took questions from his mostly elderly audience.

Prior to joining the Times in 1977, Haberman worked at the New York Post, where he covered a wide range of local and national stories, including the bloody Attica prison rebellion in 1971 and Jimmy Carter's 1976 campaign for President.

The Israelis and the Palestinians have many different words to describe the things they are fighting over, he said. But, he added, they both claim to be fighting for the same thing. The Palestinians call it "Salaam," the Israelis call it "Shalom." Both words mean "Peace." (BC Office of Communications, edited.)

Robert Moses Shapiro has been promoted to Associate Professor of Judaic Studies, in which he specializes in the history, culture and literature of East European Jewry, Polish Jews and the Holocaust, as well as Yiddish language and literature.

Prof. Sara Reguer, Chair of the Judaic Studies Department, used a prestigious research fellowship to travel to a series of archives in Italy during January 2008, pursuing her study of the figure of Judith in Italian Jewish liturgical and folklore traditions.

Prof. Sharon Flatto has been promoted to Associate Professor of Judaic Studies and was elected to tenure at Brooklyn College, in recognition of her scholarship, teaching and service to the community. Her study of Rabbi Ezekiel Landau, the prominent 18th century leader of Prague Jewry, is scheduled for publication by the Littman Press in 2008.

On September 20, 2007, the Judaic Studies Department cooperated with the Wolfe Institute for the Humanities and the English Department to sponsor a lecture, "Whose Story? Israeli and American Jewish Autobiography," presented by the distinguished scholar Hana Wirth-Nesher, who compared and contrasted the autobiographical writings of the Israeli Amos Oz and the American Philip Roth. Dr. Wirth-Nesher is professor of English at Tel Aviv University, where she also directs the study of the Jewish experience in the USA, and is director of the Goldreich Institute for Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture.

Prof. Robert M. Shapiro's translation of Isaiah Trunk, Lódz Ghetto: A History (Indiana University Press, 2006), was awarded a Bronze Medal in the ForeWord Magazine competition for Book of the Year in History. Lódz Ghetto: A History was issued in a new paperback edition in February 2008.

On October 28, 2007, Prof. Robert M. Shapiro participated in a symposium, "Jewish Resistance Reconsidered," at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Dr. Shapiro spoke on "Popular History, Judaism, and Resistance." Other participants in the symposium were Israel Gutman and Yehuda Bauer of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, David Engel of New York University, Judy Baumel-Schwartz of Bar-Ilan University, and museum curator Yitzchak Mais.

The second Frances Haidt '44 Memorial Lecture was held on April 24, 2008, and delivered by Dr. Ruth Westheimer, noted family therapist, researcher, author, documentary filmmaker, and television personality. chair of New York Univeristy's Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. "Dr. Ruth" spent the early years of her career in the Heath and Nutrition Department at Brooklyn College. Her theme for the 2nd Haidt Lecture was "Heavenly Sex: The Jewish Family." She addressed the large audience in her renowned fashion that combines humor with serious observations about fundamental aspects of human relations and family life. She interwove recollections of her own life that began in Frankfurt, Germany, continued with refuge in a Jewish orphanage in Switzerland and immigration to then-Palestine, where she joined the Haganah and participated in the nascent Jewish State of Israel's fight for survival in 1948-49. After recovering from her injuries, "Dr. Ruth" left Israel to pursue education and a career in research, teaching, and writing in the USA.The lecture was co-sponsored by the Wolfe Institute for the Humanities.