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Top Jewish historian will deliver SU’s B. G. Rudolph Lecture in Judaic Studies in April
Top Jewish historian will deliver SU’s B. G. Rudolph Lecture in Judaic Studies in AprilMarch 21, 2006Cynthia J. Moritzcjmoritz@syr.edu
Moshe Rosman, one of the leading Jewish historians, will deliver Syracuse University’s 2005-06 B. G. Rudolph Lecture in Judaic Studies on Sunday, April 2. The lecture will begin at 2 p.m. at SU’s Winnick Hillel Center for Jewish Life (102 Walnut Place).
The topic of Rosman’s lecture will be “Stories That Change History: The Unique Career of ‘Shivhei ha-Besht.'” Probably the best known and most widely read Jewish folklore collection of the past 200 years is “Shivhei ha-Besht,” the book about the founder of Hasidism, known in English as “In Praise of the Ba’al Shem Tov.” These stories underlie popular notions of Hasidism as a warm, spiritually rich tradition that emphasizes joy, the value of the individual and God’s love for each person. Since it was first published in 1814-15, “Shivhei ha-Besht” has been analyzed as inspirational literature, political tract, holy writ, historical source and theological doctrine and sometimes attacked as silly stories. In this lecture, Rosman will describe the ways in which “Shivhei ha-Besht” has been read and interpreted and how it has served as one of the wellsprings of modern Jewish culture.
Rosman attended Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTSA) in New York, earning bachelor degrees in both psychology and Judaica. He continued in the Graduate School of JTSA and was granted a Ph.D. degree in history in 1982. A professor in the Department of Jewish history of Israel’s Bar Ilan University, he resides with his wife and their six children in Jerusalem. Currently, he is a fellow at the Center for Advanced Jewish Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
From the beginning of his graduate studies, Rosman was interested in the history of the Jews in the early modern period in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. He viewed this as the classical period in the history of both Poland and Polish Jews. Rosman has specialized in integrating Jewish literary and Polish archival sources, first visiting Polish archives as a Fulbright Scholar in 1978. Since then, Rosman has spent considerable timein Polish, Ukrainian and other archives gathering materials for his research.
Rosman’s book, “The Lords’ Jews,” (published in a Polish translation by the Polish National Library) winner of the Milewski Award in Poland, demonstrated the mechanisms of the marriage of convenience between Jews and Polish noblemen and showed its broad implications for both parties. His book “Founder of Hasidism” (University of California Press, 1996) winner of the National Jewish Book Award, made use of Polish sources to place both Israel Ba’al Shem Tov and the Hasidic movement in a new perspective. Rosman asserted that the Ba’al Shem Tov was much more a continuer of past traditions than the innovator of a new movement. In his other studies Rosman has dealt with topics such as the lives of Jewish women in Poland, Jewish communal institutions, the Chmielnicki Uprising and the involvement of Polish authorities in the affairs of the Jewish community.
Rosman is currently finishing a book, “How Jewish Is Jewish History?” on writing Jewish historiography in the post-modern age, to be published by the Littman Library of Jewish Civilization in March 2007.
The annual B. G. Rudolph Lecture in Judaic Studies was inaugurated by B. G. Rudolph in 1962. Since then his son Jay Rudolph, along with many others including the Holstein and Rothman families, have helped to build the Judaic Studies Program at Syracuse University.
Rosman’s lecture and the reception that will follow are both free and open to the public.Parking is available on the street or in the neighboring parking lot.For further information, visit http://jsp.syr.edu orcontact Pamela Paul in SU’s Judaic Studies Program at 443-5671 or email@example.com.