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Over the course of their history, Jews have championed a range of ideological views and operated within a variety of political contexts, generating a rich body of political thought. 

This year with the theme " Political Ramifications ," the Katz Center seeks to expand the study of this material in light of new developments in political theory and a changing world beyond academia.

A new cohort of fellows is now getting to work, stretching the boundaries of Jewish political thought in ways that intersect with the study of law, religion, history, literature, philosophy, and even music and poetry.

Their individual research projects treat topics as diverse as Napoleonic citizenship, ancient ritual, and modern political theology, and interpret influential thinkers from Joseph Karo to Hannah Arendt.

Collectively, these efforts will expand contemporary debates within Jewish political philosophy and ground them in a stronger understanding of the Jewish political past. 

Top, L to R: John Ackerman (University of Kent), Julie Cooper (Tel Aviv University), Loren Goldman (University of Pennsylvania), Menachem Lorberbaum (Tel Aviv University.  Bottom: Opening session of the Ruth Meltzer Seminar Series, September 14, 2016: Roundtable discussion with Julie Cooper, David Myers, and Menachem Lorberbaum moderated by Anne Norton of Penn's Political Science department


Check our website for the full calendar of academic and public programs.


Nature between Science and Religion:
Jewish Culture and the Natural World

Apply by October 31, 2016

The most recent issue of JQR, 106.3 (Summer 2016) features an extended section on education in the age of Jewish enlightenment.

Issue contributors include Maud Kozody, Marcin Wodzinsky, Michah Gottlieb, Rachel Manekin, and more.

The full TOC is here. G et the whole issue via Project Muse or Penn Press .

The Katz Center partnered with Penn Libraries and the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies (SIMS) to launch their first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). The course, offered free to all users through EdX, brings together the Katz Center’s scholarly networks with the extraordinary collections of SIMS to push Jewish scholarship into an exciting new collaborative space, and to reach interested audiences worldwide.

See our website for more information or go to to access the self-paced course directly. 
Each year the fellows at the Katz Center collectively curate an online exhibition of holdings in the Penn Libraries that touch on their research.

The latest exhibit, arising from the 2015 – 2016 fellowship theme of  Jews Beyond Reason: Exploring Emotion, the Unconscious, and Other Dimensions of Jews' Inner Lives , has just been published.

Explore the exhibit  here  and check out the variety of past exhibits  here .


Twenty-five graduate students and thirteen faculty converged on the Katz Center in June for Shaking Foundations, the 2016 Advanced Summer School for Graduate Students in Jewish Studies.

Created in partnership with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the program alternates each year between Jerusalem and Philadelphia. This year it was our turn to host, and participants spent an intense week teaching and learning about moments of disruption, transformation, and reinterpretation in various Jewish contexts from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives.

Issues of professionalization and current trends in the field were also on the agenda, along with opportunities to engage with local historical, architectural, and even culinary resources. Next year’s program will take place in Jerusalem just before the World Congress in August 2017; details to be announced later this fall.
Read more about the summer school, including faculty and student participants, on our website and check out this  blog post about the experience by summer school faculty member (and fellowship alumna) Jenna Weissman Joselit.
The summer school is generously supported in Philadelphia by Dr. Garry Rayant and Dr. Kathy Fields-Rayant.

This fall, the Katz Center embarks on the second year of the LEAP program, an innovative partnership with Clal, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. In this initiative, a group of leading North American rabbis is selected each year to study with Katz Center fellows, delving deeply into the annual theme over three intensive two-day sessions and bringing new ideas and experiences back to their constituencies. LEAP brings together significant thought leaders in the academy and the rabbinate, building trust and inspiring them to expand each other’s reach and influence. 
The Katz Center sadly bid goodbye to last year's fellows after the spring's 22nd Annual Gruss Colloquium in Judaic Studies.  A volume of essays connected with the Jews Beyond Reason theme is now being produced under the editorship of fellows Anne C. Dailey, Martin Kavka, and Lital Levy.

Pictured here: Galit Hasan-Rokem and Freddie Rokem, showing their love for Philadelphia on Penn's campus.

Longtime staff member Carrie Love announced her departure this summer. Fellows and other Center visitors will remember Carrie for her warmth and humor as well as for her tireless work on behalf of fellows in every aspect of their experience here. In the words of Associate Director Natalie Dohrmann, “There is a magic about Carrie, and everyone feels it.” While the Katz Center could not be sorrier to see her go, we wish her the very best in her new role at the Barnes Foundation. Asked to comment on her time at the Center, Carrie quoted Groucho Marx: “From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend on reading it.”
Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies | University of Pennsylvania
(215) 238-1290 |