February 9, 2004

Jewish issues of past, present highlighted in lecture series

By Eric Rangus

Over three nights, a pair of lecture series--and the speakers they bring to campus--will highlight Emory's Jewish and Middle Eastern studies programs.

Leading off, on Tuesday, Feb. 10, the Eighth Annual Tenenbaum Family Lecture Series in Judaic Studies will feature Hasia Diner, Paul S. and Sylvia Steinberg Professor in American Jewish History at New York University, who will present "Wandering Jews: Peddlers in the American South," at 7:30 p.m. in the Carlos Museum reception hall.

The next night, Wednesday, Feb. 11, the Middle East Research Program and the Institute for the Study of Modern Israel will present Rueven Hazan from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who will speak as part of the Anna Robinson Family Lecture Series on Modern Israel, at 7:30 p.m. in White Hall.

Diner is author of more than a dozen books, her most recent being Hungering for America: Italian, Irish and Jewish Foodways in the Age of Migration (Harvard University Press, 2001). Her next book, Jews of the United States, 1654 to 2000 , will be released this summer.

In her lecture "Wandering Jews," Diner will explore peddling, which for most of the 19th and early 20th centuries was the primary occupation for new Jewish arrivals in the South as well as the conduit for further Jewish migration to the region.

Diner is the second of three speakers in this year's Tenenbaum series, which explores American Jewish history. Earlier in the day, Diner will be giving a seminar for faculty and graduate students, 'Jews and the American Encounter with Difference."

Hazan's talk, Short-Term Hawks and Long-Term Doves: Israeli Politics and Peace , is his third presentation during the Robinson lecture series. The series, named after the Robinson family of Atlanta, Philadelphia and Knoxville, Tenn. (Anna was a 1977 graduate of Emory College), focuses on current aspects of modern Israeli society, politics and culture.

In October, as part of the series, Hazan delivered two lectures in Knoxville, coordinated by the Fern and Manfred Steinfeld Program in Judaic Studies at the University of Tennessee and the Knoxville Jewish Federation.

Hazan's Feb. 11 presentation will explore the apparent paradox of Israeli attitudes toward the Palestinians. On one hand Israelis are increasingly voting for right-wing parties that oppose the Palestinians, yet public opinion polls show that Israelis are increasingly supportive of left-wing party policies that show a willingness to make concessions to the Palestinians.

Hazan, currently a visiting assistant professor of political science, earned his doctorate at Columbia University. He is a former assistant to the Israeli Parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and once was a newspaper reporter, having worked the desk at the Jerusalem Post .

Both lectures are free and open to the public.