2020 LECTURES

Our 1st lecture to introduce the project:

MENORAH AND THE OLIVE BRANCHES: THE HISTORY OF THE EMBLEM OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL,  Prof. Shalom Sabar.  This lecture was free of charge and took place on Monday, May 11th.

ART OF JEWISH INTEREST IN THE HERMITAGE MUSEUM IN ST. PETERSBURG,  Evgenia (Jane) Kempinski (our guide in Russia).  This lecture took place on Wednesday, May 20th.

Jane Kempinski is a tour guide from St.Petersburg, Russia who has been giving tours for about 15 years already and is absolutely in love with her city and her job. She is Jewish, born and raised in Leningrad and then St.Petersburg. Her family has been living in St. Petersburg since the early 1920’s originating from the Pale of Settlement – Ukraine, Belorussia and Poland. Jane started specific Jewish Heritage tours of St.Petersburg and about 12 years ago started incorporating and interconnecting Russian and Jewish history and culture. Her idea is to show St.Petersburg from the Jewish prospective, giving one a taste of what it is to be a Jew living in Russia.

WAS SHAKESPEARE'S SHYLOCK REALLY AN ITALIAN JEW? Dr. Kathy Aron-Beller.  This lecture took place on Tuesday, May 26th.

Originally from London, Katherine Aron-Beller is lecturer of Jewish History in the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University and at Tel Aviv University. Her books include Jews on Trial: The Papal Inquisition in Modena 1598-1638 (Manchester University Press, 2011); an edited book with Christopher Black called The Roman Inquisition; Centre versus Peripheries (Brill, 2018) and most recently Christian Images and Jewish Desecrators: The History of an Allegation 400-1700 which is currently in publication. Her areas of expertise are medieval Jewish history, early modern Jewish-Christian relations, the early modern Inquisition and Anti-Semitism. In 2007-8 she was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the George Washington University in Washington DC. At present she is a Visiting Scholar of the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism. Dr. Aron-Beller has been a scholar in residence on many trips with Jewish Historical Seminars including trips to Spain, Portugal, England, Sicily and Italy.

SEE ROME THROUGH JEWISH EYES: THE HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF ROME DURING THE GHETTO, Micaela Pavoncello (Italian tour guide).  This lecture took place on Wednesday, June 3rd.

Micaela Pavoncello was born in Rome, 44 years old, she has been an active part of the Jewish Community of Rome since she was a teenager, particularly in the field of cultural and educational activities for young people.

She graduated in Art History and began her career as exhibition coordinator at the MACRO Museum.

Passionate about travel, she visits many Jewish communities around the world and decides to share her great passion for the history of her community: first as a tour guide, and later founding JewishRoma Walking Tours, an agency specialized in guided tours of Jewish Rome. She tells with passion and enthusiasm to hundreds of visitors the traditions, customs and stories of the Jews of Rome, witnesses and citizens of the Eternal City for more than 2,000 years. Micaela collaborates in the edition and production of books and documentaries on the history of this small but fascinating community.

A TALE OF TWO CITIES: THE GOLDEN AGE OF KETUBAH ILLUSTRATION IN VENICE AND ROME, Prof. Shalom Sabar.  This lecture took place on Tuesday, June 9th.

Shalom Sabar, Professor Emeritus at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the Department of Art History and Jewish Folklore has been a Scholar of Residence on many of our tours with Jewish Historical Seminars since 1996.

He has introduced everyone who had traveled with us to the wonderful culture and folklore of so many Jewish communities throughout the world.  His wonderful enthusiasm has rubbed off on everyone who listens to him!

THE JEWS OF LARISSA, GREECE AND THE TREASURES OF THE DIACHRONIC MUSEUM, Kapi Panou (our Greek guide). This lecture took place on Tuesday, June 16th.

Born in Salonica, Greece Kapi Panou is a highly qualified tour guide and member of the World Federation of Tourist Guides' Associations (WFTGA) Group of Lead Trainers. She has a long experience in group and private guiding all over Greece. A university graduate (Philosophical School) and, currently, a trainer in the School of Guides, Athens, she shares her knowledge and enthusiasm either with the most demanding "study" groups or the simple travellers who look for a comprehensive and thorough interpretation of the secrets of the Greek and Jewish heritage and contemporary life. She is always at the disposal of the "world" traveller who appreciates the "art of guiding."

HASIDISM: SPACE, PLACE AND SPIRIT, Prof. Marcin Wodziński.  This lecture took place on Monday, June 22nd.

Marcin Wodziński (b. 1966) was born and raised in Silesia, Poland. He works currently at the University of Wrocław, Poland, where he runs the Taube Department of Jewish Studies and holds position of professor of Jewish history and literature. His research focuses on the history and culture of East European Jews in modern times, especially the Haskalah and Hasidism. Of his recent publications, he is most proud of Historical Atlas of Hasidism (Princeton, 2018) and Hasidism: Key Questions (Oxford, 2018).

AN ITALIAN DREAM: IVREA, PIEDMONT AND OLIVETTI,  Cinzia Ballesio and Monica Gnocchi (our guides in Turin).  This lecture took place on Tuesday, June 30.

Cinzia Ballesio, a high school professor of Italian Literature and History until 2004 and an official tourist guide in Piemonte since 2008.  Interested in local Piedmont history and in women’s history, she published a Torino Guide for children and some studies about Italian women colleges and women in science during the XIX- XX centuries.  She is presently an editorial curator of NEOS Edizioni Torino historical series dedicate to women.  

Monica Gnocchi is a tour guide in Italian and English with the Torino Touris Board. Monica has a Master’s Degree in Languages and Modern Foreign Literatures with a speciality in history and a Postgraduate in Human Resources.  Her specialities are on Contemporary Arts and Architecture, the
UNESCO Heritage site of Ivrea, The Self Portrait of Leonardo Da Vinci, Wine and  Food tours and more.

THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE JEWS OF SPAIN, Dr. Kathy Aron-Beller.  This lecture took place on Tuesday, July 7th. 

Originally from London, Katherine Aron-Beller is lecturer of Jewish History in the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University and at Tel Aviv University. Her areas of expertise are medieval Jewish history, early modern Jewish-Christian relations, the early modern Inquisition and Anti-Semitism. In 2007-8 she was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the George Washington University in Washington DC. At present she is a Visiting Scholar of the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism. Dr. Aron-Beller has been a scholar in residence on many trips with Jewish Historical Seminars including trips to Spain, Portugal, England, Sicily and Italy.

JEWISH LONDON ON LOCATION: LONDON'S JEWISH JOURNEY PORTRAYED ON THE PAGE AND THE BIG SCREEN, Rachel Kolsky.  This lecture took place on Wednesday, July 15th.

Rachel Kolsky was our wonderful guide on our tour to England last year.

She is a popular prize-winning London Blue Badge Tourist Guide. Focusing on the 'human stories behind the buildings' Rachel's talks are known to be fun and informative filled with anecdotes past and present. From off-the-beaten track London and famous personalities to cinemas and shopping, memories of all aspects of London's rich and varied social history come flooding back. Before embarking on her career as Guide and Lecturer, Rachel, a qualified librarian, worked as an information professional in the financial services industry for over 25 years. Rachel has published five books including Jewish London (2012), Whitechapel in 50 Buildings (2016) and Women’s London (2018) and she is thrilled to have been a guest lecturer on cruises since 2009.

ST. PETERSBURG: AN ARCHITECTURAL DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE JEWISH COMMUNITY AND THE CAPITAL OF THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE, Dr. Vladimir Levin. This lecture took place on Tuesday, July 21.

Dr. Vladimir Levin is the Director of the Center for Jewish Art at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Born in St. Petersburg, he holds a Ph.D. from the Hebrew University. He authored From Revolution to War: Jewish Politics in Russia, 1907-1914 (in Hebrew, 2016) and co-edited Synagogues in Lithuania: A Catalogue (2010-2012). In 2017 he co-authored with Sergey Kravtsov the book Synagogue in Ukraine: Volhynia, and currently works on the book of Jewish heritage in Siberia with Anna Berezin. He also published c. 120 articles and essays about social and political aspects of modern Jewish history in Eastern Europe, synagogue architecture and ritual objects, Jewish religious Orthodoxy, Jewish-Muslim relations, Jews and Jewish politics in Lithuania, Russian architecture in the Holy Land, history of East-European Jewish communities etc.  Dr. Levin headed numerous research expeditions to documents synagogues and other monuments of Jewish material culture in eastern and central Europe and lead several research projects in the field of Jewish Art, the most important of which is the creation of the Bezalel Narkiss Index of Jewish Art – the world’s largest digital depository of Jewish heritage (http://cja.huji.ac.il/browser.php).

A VIRTUAL TOUR AND PERSONAL STORIES OF THE OLD JEWISH NEIGHBORHOOD OF MEXICO CITY IN THE EARLY 1900’S, Monica Unikel-Fasja.  This lecture took place on Monday, July 27.

Monica Unikel-Fasja found her passion in the streets of Historic Mexico City, where Jewish immigrants arrived and lived around a century ago. She has dedicated nearly half of her life to walk around those streets, narrating the testimonies and the stories of Jewish immigrants in the form of guided tours.Monica has also studied and published about the synagogues in Mexico, and she participated in the revitalization of an abandoned synagogue which today

she runs as a cultural center. The cultural center, named Nidje Israel, and now known as Historic Synagogue opened in 2010, and since then it has served as an open space for all sorts of Jewish cultural activities and all kinds of people.

SARAJEVO – THE JERUSALEM OF THE BALKANS: A STORY OF A UNIQUE JEWISH COMMUNITY, Dr. Eliezer Papo.  This lecture took place on Tuesday, August 4th.

Dr. Eliezer Papo is senior lecturer at the Hebrew Literature Department at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, a Chairman of the Moshe David Gaon Center for Ladino Culture at the same University and the chief-editor of El Prezente – Journal for Sephardic Studies (scientific journal published by the Gaon Center). Dr. Papo also serves as the President of Sefarad – Society for Sephardic Studies, an international professional association of scientist in the field of Sephardic studies.  He is a member of the Israeli National Academy for Ladino and serves also as a representative of the Israeli Academia in the Council of the National Authority for Ladino Culture, where he is also a member of the executive board. Besides a B.A. in law (University of Sarajevo), M.A. in Jewish languages and literatures (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), and a Ph.D. in Hebrew literature (BGU), Dr Papo also holds a degree in rabbinics (Midrash Sepharadi in Jerusalem). Since 1997, he serves as the non-residential rabbi of the Jewish community of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

TREASURES OF THE HERMITAGE, Jane Kempinski.  This lecture took place on Tuesday, August 11. 

Jane Kempinski is a tour guide from St.Petersburg, Russia who has been giving tours for about 15 years already and is absolutely in love with her city and her job. She is Jewish, born and raised in Leningrad and then St.Petersburg. Her family has been living in St. Petersburg since the early 1920’s originating from the Pale of Settlement – Ukraine, Belorussia and Poland. Jane started specific Jewish Heritage tours of St.Petersburg and about 12 years ago started incorporating and interconnecting Russian and Jewish history and culture. Her idea is to show St.Petersburg from the Jewish prospective, giving one a taste of what it is to be a Jew living in Russia.

AN EXPLORATORY VOYAGE TO UZBEKISTAN – DOCUMENTING JEWISH ART AND CULTURE IN BUKHARA, 1992, Prof. Shalom Sabar . This lecture took place on Wednesday, August 19th.

Shalom Sabar is a Professor Emeritus of the Dept of Art History and Jewish Folklore of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  Shalom has been our amazing scholar in residence on many of our tours throughout many years.  Shalom has introduced us all to the wonderful culture, art and folklore of so many Jewish communities throughout the world.  His wonderful enthusiasm has rubbed off on everyone who listens to him!

OXFORD’S JEWISH HERITAGE, Victoria Bentata.  This lecture took place Tuesday, August 25th.

Victoria Bentata Azaz has been a tour guide in Oxford for 15 years and is particularly interested in its Jewish Heritage.  She is a member of the local Jewish community and of the  Oxford Jewish Heritage Committee, which has been responsible for raising the profile of Jewish history in Oxford with its website (https://www.oxfordjewishheritage.co.uk/) and activities such as museum exhibitions, writing books and commissioning plaques.  She is the author of Oxford City Walks, which has sold over 4,500 copies and was the first Oxford walks book to feature a Jewish Heritage walk.  A graduate of the University of Oxford, where she studied Russian, she is currently working towards an MA in History at Oxford Brookes University where she is hoping to examine the impact on Oxford University of Jewish refugee scholars of the 1930s.  She is available for tours at http://www.oxfordcitywalks.co.uk/

THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS AND WHY THEY MATTER,  Prof. Gary Rensburg.  This lecture took place on Wednesday, September 2nd.

Gary A. Rendsburg serves as the Blanche and Irving Laurie Professor of Jewish History at Rutgers University.  His teaching and research focus on ‘all things ancient Israel’ – primarily language and literature, though also history and archaeology.  His secondary interests include the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Hebrew manuscript tradition, and Jewish life in the Middle Ages. Prof. Rendsburg is the author of seven books and about 180 articles.  His most recent book is How the Bible Is Written (Hendrickson, 2019), with particular attention to the use of language to create literature.  In addition, he has produced two programs for the Great Courses program, one on ‘The Book of Genesis’ and one on ‘The Dead Sea Scrolls’. During his career, Prof. Rendsburg has served as visiting professor or visiting researcher at the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, the University of Sydney, Hebrew University, UCLA, Colgate University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

 

THE SYNAGOGUES OF PIEDMONT, ITALY, Baruch Lampronti.  This lecture took place on Tuesday, September 8th.

 

Baruch Lampronti holds a degree in Architecture from the Polytechnic University of Turin. He works in research and promotion projects on the historic-artistic heritage of the Jewish Communities in Italy, generally cooperating with the Foundation for Jewish Cultural Heritage in Italy. He has curated or contributed to several exhibitions, authored articles and essays, and is involved in the cataloguing work of Italian Jewish artifacts undertaken by the Foundation and the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities. He also developed the itineraries website http://www.visitjewishitaly.it/en/ —the core of the Italian contribution to the “European Routes of Jewish Heritage”, promoted by the Council of Europe.  Baruch is active in the daily life of the Jewish Communities and Jewish institutions in Italy—especially in Turin, where he resides. He sits in the Cultural Heritage Commission of the Jewish Community of Turin and, among other responsibilities, coordinates the visits to the many sites belonging to the Community (https://torinoebraica.it/turismo/?lang=en).

MAY YOU BE INSCRIBED IN THE BOOK OF LIFE – THE ORIGINS AND EARLY HISTORY OF THE JEWISH NEW YEAR CARD, Prof. Shalom Sabar.  This lecture took place on Tuesday, September 15th.

Shalom Sabar is a Professor Emeritus of the Dept of Art History and Jewish Folklore of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Shalom has been our amazing scholar in residence on many of our tours throughout many years. Shalom has introduced us all to the wonderful culture, art and folklore of so many Jewish communities throughout the world. His wonderful enthusiasm has rubbed off on everyone who listens to him! Shalom has been an avid collector of New Year’s cards in the last 20 years.  When he started there were hardly any collectors of these cards since it was considered too simple of an item to collect and today all the museums, including the Israel Museum, are collecting and exhibiting the cards.

THE LIFE OF THE ROMAN JEWS FROM THE EMANCIPATION TO THE PRESENT DAY THROUGH THE NAZI OCCUPATION AND WWII, Micaela Pavoncello.  This lecture took place on Wednesday, September 23.

Micaela Pavoncello was born in Rome, 44 years old, she has been an active part of the Jewish Community of Rome since she was a teenager, particularly in the field of cultural and educational activities for young people.

She graduated in Art History and began her career as exhibition coordinator at the MACRO Museum.

Passionate about travel, she visits many Jewish communities around the world and decides to share her great passion for the history of her community: first as a tour guide, and later founding JewishRoma Walking Tours, an agency specialized in guided tours of Jewish Rome, she tells with passion and enthusiasm to hundreds of visitors the traditions, customs and stories of the Jews of Rome, witnesses and citizens of the Eternal City for more than 2,000 years. Micaela collaborates in the edition and production of books and documentaries on the history of this small but fascinating community.

UNCOVERING SECRET JEWISH LIFE IN THE TRIAL TRANSCRIPTS OF THE PORTUGUESE INQUISITION, Dr. Kathy Aron-Beller. This lecture took place on Wednesday, September 30.

Originally from London, Katherine Aron-Beller is lecturer of Jewish History in the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University and at Tel Aviv University. Her areas of expertise are medieval Jewish history, early modern Jewish-Christian relations, the early modern Inquisition and Anti-Semitism.

In 2007-8 she was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the George Washington University in Washington DC.

At present she is a Visiting Scholar of the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism. Dr. Aron-Beller has been a scholar in residence on many trips with Jewish Historical Seminars including trips to Spain, Portugal, England, Sicily and Italy.

WOMAN OF VALOR: IMAGES AND OBJECTS OF THE SEPHARDI WOMAN IN MOROCCO, Prof. Shalom Sabar. 

This lecture took place on Wednesday, October 7.

Shalom Sabar is a Professor Emeritus of the Dept of Art History and Jewish Folklore of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Shalom has been our amazing scholar in residence on many of our tours throughout many years. Shalom has introduced us all to the wonderful culture, art and folklore of so many Jewish communities throughout the world. His wonderful enthusiasm has rubbed off on everyone who listens to him! He has been our Scholar in Residence on our fabulous tours to Morocco.


ANCIENT CAPITALS OF IRAN AND THE JEWISH CONNECTION, Dr. Thamar E. Gindin.  This lecture took place on Tuesday, October 13th.

Dr. Thamar E. Gindin is Israel's first cultural attaché in free Iran, and until Iran is free, she builds bridges between the Iranian and Israeli nations, opening eyes on both sides to see the other side is just like us, with some fascinating differences. She does it by writing books, articles and posts, media appearances in Hebrew, English and Persian, podcasts, a blog and of course - lectures. She is currently a research fellow in Ezri Center in Haifa University.

YOUR LOYAL SUBJECTS: NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY, LONDON, Rachel Kolsky (our guide in England).  This lecture took place on Tuesday, October 20th.

Rachel Kolsky was our wonderful guide on our tour to England last year. She is a popular prize-winning London Blue Badge Tourist Guide. Focusing on the 'human stories behind the buildings' Rachel's talks are known to be fun and informative filled with anecdotes past and present. From off-the-beaten track London and famous personalities to cinemas and shopping, memories of all aspects of London's rich and varied social history come flooding back. Before embarking on her career as Guide and Lecturer, Rachel, a qualified librarian, worked as an information professional in the financial services industry for over 25 years. Rachel has published five books including Jewish London (2012), Whitechapel in 50 Buildings (2016) and Women’s London (2018) and she is thrilled to have been a guest lecturer on cruises since 2009.

ROMAN SALONA, EMPEROR DIOCLETIAN AND HIS PALACE IN MODERN SPLIT, CROATIA AND SIGNS OF JEWISH PRESENCE IN TURBULENT TIMES, Dr. Vedran Barbarić (our guide in Croatia).  This lecture took place on Tuesday, October 27th.

Dr. Vedran Barbarić is an Assistant Professor and the Vice-dean at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Split, Croatia. Throughout his professional career he has dedicated himself to the research and communication of various aspects of cultural heritage of the Eastern Adriatic area. Through this interest comes an impetus for the presentation of the well known layer of Roman history, as seen through the ancient written sources and the material remains in Salona, the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia and UNESCO world heritage site of Diocletian's palace in modern Split.

THE MEDITERRANEAN JOURNEY OF A LADINO SONG, Prof. Edwin Seroussi.  This lecture took place on Monday, November 2.

Edwin Seroussi is the Emanuel Alexandre Professor of Musicology at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Director of the Jewish Music Research Centre since 2000 as well as Visiting Scholar at Dartmouth College. He has previously taught at the Department of Music of Bar Ilan University and has been a visiting professor at several major institutions in Europe, North and Latin America.

Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Prof. Seroussi immigrated to Israel in 1971 where he studied at the Department of Musicology at the undergraduate and graduate levels continuing into his doctoral studies at the University of California Los Angeles (1981-1987). As a faculty member of the Department of Musicology at The Hebrew University, he teaches ethnomusicology, world music, theory and methodology in the study of oral traditions and popular music. His research focuses on the musical cultures of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, interactions between Jewish and Islamic cultures and popular music in Israel exploring process of hybridization, diaspora, nationalism and transnationalism. He founded Yuval Music Series and is editor of the acclaimed CD series Anthology of Music Traditions in Israel. Besides his academic activities he is active in the music scene of Israel and abroad in diverse capacities as producer, advisor, member of the board of musical institutions and representative to the International Music Council (UNESCO). He has been awarded several prestigious prizes, among them the Israel Prize in the field of musicology for 2018.

 

VISIT THE ALSATIAN MUSEUM OF STRASBOURG TO DISCOVER THE TREASURES AND RICHNESS OF RURAL LIFE IN ALSACE WHERE JEWS AND CHRISTIANS LIVED SIDE BY SIDE, Isabelle Hincker  (a guide in Alsace). 

This lecture took place on Tuesday, October 10th.

Born in Strasbourg in 1961, Isabelle Hinckler has been working as a tour guide for 29 years and has a great passion for the region of Alsace, its traditions and the dual culture which is a result of the changes of nationalities back and forth between France and Germany. She also used to be a teacher in a vocational high school for 32 years . Isabelle speaks French, German, Italian , English and the traditional Alsatian dialect that has some similarities with the Yeddish (or Yiddish?) Daïtsch spoken by the local Jewish people.  She would like to share her love for this multi cultural and multi religious area that welcomed in the 12th Century one of the oldest Jewish communities in France. Isabelle has been working in several museums in Strasbourg but the Musée Alsacien is her favourite one!

 

 

THE JEWS OF SICILY FROM MEDIEVAL TO EARLY MODERN TIMES, Dr. Kathy Aron-Beller.  This lecture took place on Tuesday, October 17th.

Originally from London, Katherine Aron-Beller is lecturer of Jewish History in the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University and at Tel Aviv University. Her areas of expertise are medieval Jewish history, early modern Jewish-Christian relations, the early modern Inquisition and Anti-Semitism. In 2007-8 she was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the George Washington University in Washington DC. At present she is a Visiting Scholar of the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism. Dr. Aron-Beller has been a scholar in residence on many trips with Jewish Historical Seminars including trips to Spain, Portugal, England, Sicily and Italy.

THE IMPRESSIONIST COLLECTION OF THE HERMITAGE MUSEUM, ST. PETERSBURG, Jane Kempinsky (our guide in Russia). This lecture took place on Tuesday, October 24.

Jane Kempinski is a tour guide from St.Petersburg, Russia who has been giving tours for about 15 years already and is absolutely in love with her city and her job. She is Jewish, born and raised in Leningrad and then St.Petersburg. Her family has been living in St. Petersburg since the early 1920’s originating from the Pale of Settlement – Ukraine, Belorussia and Poland. Jane started specific Jewish Heritage tours of St.Petersburg and about 12 years ago started incorporating and interconnecting Russian and Jewish history and culture. Her idea is to show St.Petersburg from the Jewish prospective, giving one a taste of what it is to be a Jew living in Russia.

EGYPT: A TRIP UP THE NILE AND THE BIBLICAL CONNECTION, Prof. Gary Rendsburg.  This lecture took place on Tuesday, December 1st.

Gary A. Rendsburg serves as the Blanche and Irving Laurie Professor of Jewish History at Rutgers University.  His teaching and research focus on ‘all things ancient Israel’ – primarily language and literature, though also history and archaeology.  His secondary interests include the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Hebrew manuscript tradition, and Jewish life in the Middle Ages. Prof. Rendsburg is the author of seven books and about 180 articles.  His most recent book is How the Bible Is Written (Hendrickson, 2019), with particular attention to the use of language to create literature.  In addition, he has produced two programs for the Great Courses program, one on ‘The Book of Genesis’ and one on ‘The Dead Sea Scrolls’. During his career, Prof. Rendsburg has served as visiting professor or visiting researcher at the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, the University of Sydney, Hebrew University, UCLA, Colgate University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

HOW DID TEL AVIV DEVELOP TO BECOME THE MOST JEWISH CITY IN THE WORLD, Abraham Silver

This lecture took place on Tuesday, December 8th.

Abraham Silver was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.  After receiving a B.A. in History and Philosophy from S.U.N.Y. Binghamton, Abraham moved to Kibbutz Ketura, a socialist pioneering settlement in Israel’s Negev desert, where he spent nineteen years as a date farmer. Abraham completed an M.A. in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. His architectural emphasis is on the design of Jewish Space in Israeli and modern American Jewish architecture. In addition to practicing architecture, he is a licensed tour guide and senior Jewish/Israel educator. Abraham’s background has led him to a unique understanding of Tel Aviv as the most Jewish city in the world: its development, its architecture, its impact on the Jewish world and Jewish Identity and the implications for the global family of nations. He provides specialty tours of Tel Aviv. Abraham is also a lecturer on the Architecture of Jerusalem at Hebrew University. He is co-author of the book “Living the Dream: Israel at 50” as well as “Israel at 60: People, Places and History”, a three-volume set of DVDs.  He is also co-founder of the Israel informational website, “Access Israel.”  Abraham and his wife Elissa live in Tel Aviv with their two thirteen-year-old daughters, Shiri and Libi.

THE JEWISH SILVERSMITHS’ MARKET OF BAGHDAD: THE CREATION OF CEREMONIAL ART FOR THE JEWS OF IRAQ AND THE ‘IRAQI DIASPORA’, Prof. Shalom Sabar.  This lecture took place on Wednesday, December 16th.

Shalom Sabar is a Professor Emeritus of the Dept of Art History and Jewish Folklore of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Shalom has been our amazing scholar in residence on many of our tours throughout many years. Shalom has introduced us all to the wonderful culture, art and folklore of so many Jewish communities throughout the world. His wonderful enthusiasm has rubbed off on everyone who listens to him! This lecture should be very exciting since it will introduce a world which we are not able to travel to.

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE UFFIZI GALLERY, FLORENCE, Simona Conti (our guide in Italy). This lecture took place on Wednesday, December 23rd.

Simona Conti was born in Florence, Italy,  in 1960 and received a degree in Foreign Languages (English and German) from the Superior School for Interpreters and Translators in 1982. She has been active in tourism since 1983. Simona’s first employment was as a tour director for an American travel agency, escorting groups throughout Italy.  She became an official guide in 1996, after having received a Masters. Up to the present time, Simona has guided thousands of visitors around her city, Florence which has included famous people like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Japanese baseball player Hideki Matsui, film directors like Steven Spielberg, writers like Ken Follett, movie stars like Michael J. Fox and Sarah Jessica Parker, musicians like Dire Straits’ founder Mark Knopfler.  and actors like Jane Fonda.  Currently Simona lives in the country with her husband, three dogs and five cats, on a farm property which they have painstakingly restored,  surrounded by 35 olive trees. Her part-time job is taking care of the vegetable garden and helping her husband with pruning and harvesting . In the Fall they pick their olives and have our own extra virgin olive oil made.   They have a daughter, Priscilla who became a medical doctor in Barcelona, Spain and lives currently in Florence, Italy, where she’s training as Psychiatrist.  Simona enjoys her chosen profession because it allows her to meet many different people and share with them the love for her beautiful city, Florence!

 

MOROCCO AND ITS TWO JEWISH COMMUNITIES: THE INDIGENOUS BERBER JEWS AND THE SPANISH EXPULSEES, Dr. Eliezer Papo.  This lecture took place on Wednesday, December 30.

Dr. Eliezer Papo is senior lecturer at the Hebrew Literature Department at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, a Chairman of the Moshe David Gaon Center for Ladino Culture at the same University and the chief-editor of El Prezente – Journal for Sephardic Studies (scientific journal published by the Gaon Center). Dr. Papo also serves as the President of Sefarad – Society for Sephardic Studies, an international professional association of scientist in the field of Sephardic studies.  He is a member of the Israeli National Academy for Ladino and serves also as a representative of the Israeli Academia in the Council of the National Authority for Ladino Culture, where he is also a member of the executive board. Besides a B.A. in law (University of Sarajevo), M.A. in Jewish languages and literatures (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), and a Ph.D. in Hebrew literature (BGU), Dr Papo also holds a degree in rabbinics (Midrash Sepharadi in Jerusalem). Since 1997, he serves as the non-residential rabbi of the Jewish community of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Eliezer has been our Scholar in Residence on our tours to Morocco.