CULTURE AND HISTORY FROM AFAR WITH JHSEMINARS
Wednesday, Oct 27th at 6 pm Israel time: THE TREASURES OF THE BODLEIAN LIBRARY (OXFORD), Prof. Gary Rendsburg
Simply stated, the Bodleian Library of the University of Oxford has the greatest collection of Hebrew manuscripts in the world. Star attractions include: Maimonides’s own handwritten copy of his Commentary on the Mishna; his personal copy (written by a trusted scribe) of his Mishneh Torah (Code of Jewish Law); and the Kennicott Bible, written in Spain in 1476, the crown jewel of all medieval Jewish manuscripts.The lecture will trace the history of the Judaica collection, starting with Thomas Bodley (1545–1613) himself, founder of the library, advisor to Queen Elizabeth, and accomplished Hebraist. We also will discuss the remarkable work and distinguished careers of John Selden, Edward Pococke, and Robert Huntington, three important 17th English scholars, with the latter two having traveled widely in the Middle East, from their base in Aleppo. Gary Rendsburg has lived in Oxford and has conducted academic research at the Bodleian Library. Join us as he brings the verve and culture of the library to life, with both serious history teaching and a pleasant dose of Anglophilia.
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.
Wednesday, November 10th at 6 pm Israel time: TRAVEL THE SILK ROAD IN CHINA FROM THE TIEN SHAN MOUNTAINS TO THE ANCIENT CAPITAL OF KAIFENG: MEET THE JEWISH COMMUNITY WHICH HAS LIVED HERE FOR CENTURIES TO LEARN ABOUT THE OTHER JEWISH GROUPS IN CHINA TODAY, Jacob Shoshan.
We will enter China from the Western edge of this enormous country and will travel from the Taklamakan Desert to the Tien Shan Mountains. Jacob Shoshan will speak about the different ethnicities and religions as we enter the land of the Uyghurs and explore Xinjiang. In Tengrism, Khan Tengri is the lord of all spirits and the religion's supreme deity. In the lecture, Jacob will show us fascinating temples – Moslem, Christian, Buddhist – and Jewish! We will visit the Jewish community in Kaifeng and hear their amazing story. Jacob will speak about the fate of tens of thousands of Jews seeking shelter in Eastern China during the horrible years of the Holocaust. We wil also learn about the Jewish Republic tucked away at the far edges of Siberia, where everything is written in Yiddish!
Our guide will be Jacob Shoshan. Born in Jerusalem, he is a licensed tour guide in Israel as well as a teacher and lecturer for The Tour Guide Colleges in Israel. He is also a Senior Tour Director and Lecturer for the Geographical Society, Israel. Jacob has visited 98 countries and led tours in 65 countries on all six continents and is fluent in 15 languages. He presents in-depth discussions on Jewish history, philosophy and culture and is deeply involved in Holocaust education.
Wednesday, November 17th at 6 pm Israel time: THE RISE, FALL AND RESURGENCE OF JEWISH LIFE IN ST. PETERSBURG/LENINGRAD, Jane Kempinsky
Discussing St. Petersburg/ Leningrad’s Jewish community, Jane Kempinsky will speak about its life under the Soviet regime. She will speak about the anti-Semitism and anti-Zionisim as part of the state policy which resulted in a phenomena called "refusniks". Jane will share her personal story which perfectly illustrates the life of a Soviet Jewish family. Also covered in the lecture will be the modern day situation and see the changes of Jewish life and identity which took place recently. She will also walk us along the historical part of St. Petersburg which includes sites which are connected to the Jewish history. St. Petersburg as a former capital of Russian Empire perfectly illustrates connections between Russian and Jewish history.
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 perspective, giving one a taste of what it is to be a Jew living in Russia.
TO REGISTER FOR A LECTURE: ONE MUST PAY VIA PAYPAL.ME/JHSEMINARS (USD 12 per lecture)
AND THEN EMAIL: JHS@JewishHistoricalSeminars.com.