The Rose-Marie Lewent Conference – The Dead Sea Scrolls at 70

QumranThe NYU Center for Ancient Studies, in conjunction with the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, announces 

The Rose-Marie Lewent Conference
The Dead Sea Scrolls at 70

November 16-17, 2017
Hemmerdinger Hall, Silver Center for Arts and Science, Room 102
32 Waverly Place or 31 Washington Place (wheelchair access)

SESSION 1: The Community/Communities behind the Dead Sea Scrolls
9:15 a.m. Welcome
Matthew S. Santirocco, NYU

9:30 a.m. What Does Archaeology Tell Us about the Community/Communities behind the Dead Sea Scrolls?
Jodi Magness, University of North Carolina

10:15 a.m. Archaeology and Text: Khirbet Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Lawrence H. Schiffman, NYU

SESSION 2: Insiders and Outsiders in the Dead Sea Scrolls
11:00 a.m. Sectarians and Their Semantic Domain: How Best—or Least Badly—to Identify the People of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Maxine Grossman, University of Maryland

11:45 a.m. Isolated in the Judean Desert? The Qumran Sectarians in Imperial Contexts
Alexandria Frisch, Ursinus College

SESSION 3: The Projects of the Israel Antiquities Authority
2:00 p.m. The Conservation and Preservation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 70 Years Later

Pnina Shor, Israel Antiquities Authority

SESSION 4: The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Mysterious
2:45 p.m. Magic and… Continue reading

Orthodox, Diverse Yet Alike

Examining different sects of religious shows similarities

Orthodox Diverse Yet AlikeOne of the things that strikes me every time I am in Israel is the disparity between the nature of the Orthodox communities of the United States and Israel. There is a general assumption by many people that the Orthodox in both countries can be divided into the Modern Orthodox and the Haredim, usually translated as Ultra-Orthodox, and that those labeled by these sobriquets in these two very different environments truly must be equivalent. Both of these assumptions are false. Understanding how and why these communities are so different is a tremendous help in grasping the religious issues that separate Israel and the American Jewish community and that periodically lead to major public spats.

Read the rest of this article from the Jewish Tribune.

When the Talmud Was Burned

When the Talmud Was BurnedHow was it that you, O Law, given by G-d, the Consuming Fire,
Should be consumed by the fire of mortals,
And that the heathens weren’t singed by your burning coals?
How can food ever again be sweet to my palate
After beholding what your plunderers have gathered?
Men whom you rejected from entering your assembly
Burned the spoil of the Most High in the midst of the market
Like the possessions of a condemned city.

(Adapted from a translation by A. Rosenfeld)

With these poignant words from the kinah “Sha’ali Serufah Va’eish,” recited by Ashkenazim each year on Tishah B’Av, Rav Meir of Rothenberg (1215-1293) mourned the burning of the Talmud in Paris that he had witnessed in June of 1242. He writes that he himself saw 24 wagon loads of Talmudic volumes destroyed. This horrible anti-Semitic act had enormous consequences for the study of the Gemara in Ashkenaz (France and Germany) in the Middle Ages. In fact, we have only one complete manuscript of the Talmud Bavli, the Munich manuscript, an Ashkenazic copy from 1342.

But the burning of the Talmud in Paris was not a sudden, isolated event. Rather, it capped a long history… Continue reading