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Jewish Studies research seminar

Semester I 2014/5

2 December
Professor Tirzah Meacham (University of Toronto)
Realistic or Theoretical Discussions in Rabbinic Literature: The Case of the Three Women who Use Contraception 
16:30 Refreshments
17:00 Seminar
Virginia Woolf Building 6.01 (22 Kingsway)

Pre-menarchal pregnancy, superfetation, and pregnancy during lactation are the topics of the baraita of the Three Women who use contraception. Are the rabbinic discussions reflecting medical realia or are they theoretical? What is the significance if a case is realistic or theoretical?

Tirzah Meacham is Associate Professor of Talmudic and Rabbinic literature in the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Talmudic and Rabbinic literature from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She edited Sefer ha-bagrut le-Rav Shmuel ben Hofni Gaon ve-Sefer ha-shanim le-Rav Yehuda ha-Kohen Rosh haSeder (with Miriam Frenkel as translator from Judeo-Arabic to Hebrew, 1998). With Harry Fox (leBeit Yoreh) she edited Introducing Tosefta: Textual, Intratextual and Intertextual Studies (1999).

Semester 2 2014–15

10 February 
Dr Jennie Rosenfeld (Midreshet Lindenbaum, Jerusalem)
Sexuality and Orthodoxy: Contemporary Challenges and Reconciliations
16.30 Refreshments
17.00-18.30 Lecture
Virginia Woolf Building 6.01 (22 Kingsway) 

Taking the challenge of Orthodox single-hood and halakhic observance (which demands abstinence from any physical contact with the opposite sex) as a case study, we will examine various suggestions which have been put forward for resolving this conflict. In examining different solutions, we will focus both on the content of the solution (halakhic or otherwise), as well as the methodology which underlies it. I will also discuss my own approach and methodology and the way in which it has changed as my own role has changed (in moving from the academic realm into the realm of communal leadership). 

Dr Jennie Rosenfeld is currently studying in the Susie Bradfield Women's Institute for Halakhic Leadership at Midreshet Lindenbaum, and recently began serving as a Manhiga Ruchanit (Spiritual Leader). She holds a PhD in English from the CUNY Graduate Center where her dissertation was titled Talmudic Re-readings: Toward a Modern Orthodox Sexual Ethic. She co-authored Et Le'ehov: The Newlywed's Guide to Physical Intimacy.

24 February 
Dr Jeremy Schonfield (Oxford Centre for Hebrew & Jewish Studies/LBC)
What the Shema Does Not Say: Reading the Biblical Contexts
16.30 Lecture
18.00 Refreshments
Virginia Woolf Building 6.01 (22 Kingsway) 
 
The Shema, conventionally regarded as the central liturgical statement of Jewish belief, is a multifaceted and ambivalent exploration of doctrine. It invites monotheists to account for suffering, and explores the implications of such challenges for the integrity of Jewish responses to Torah.Dr Jeremy Schonfield is a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and Reader in Liturgy at Leo Baeck College, London. His book, Undercurrents of Jewish Prayer (Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Studies), was runner up in the American National Jewish Book Awards in the category of Modern Jewish Thought.

 

9 March 
The Maccabaean Lecture 2015 

24 March
Dr Tamra Wright (London School of Jewish Studies)
Do Dogs have 'Faces'? Animal Ethics in Jewish Tradition and the Philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas 
16.30 Refreshments
17.00-18.30 Lecture
Virginia Woolf Building 6.01 (22 Kingsway)
 
In 1986, three graduate students from the University of Warwick went to Paris to interview Emmanuel Levinas (1906-95). The interview, subsequently published under the title, "The Paradox of Morality", is frequently cited in the secondary literature, particularly as it is one of the very few places where Levinas discusses ethical responsibility for animals. This seminar will introduce Levinas's ethics, consider the links between his analysis of the "face-to-face" relationship with humans and our responsibility for animals, and explore the influence of Jewish thought on Levinas's approach to animal ethics.Dr Tamra Wright is Director of Academic Studies at the London School of Jewish Studies and a Visiting Lecturer at King's. A specialist in contemporary Jewish thought, she is the author of The Twilight of Jewish Philosophy: Emmanuel Levinas's Ethical Hermeneutics. Her most-cited publication is "The Paradox of Morality: An Interview with Emmanuel Levinas".
 
Upcoming:18-19 May 
On the Same Page: Digital Approaches to Hebrew Manuscripts
A Digital Humanities & Jewish Studies Symposium in cooperation with the Centre for Late Antique & Medieval Studies (CLAMS)
Nash Lecture Theatre (K2.31, Strand Campus)
 

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