Though we have written about some of the events held by the Jewish Studies department this year already, several more have passed unmentioned. Here is a quick recount of the various ones we have missed.
The department co-sponsored not one, but two book launches.
Poster for book launch
On January 28 we co-hosted with the Department of History and the McGill Bookstore the launch event for McGill professor Gil Troy’s book Moynihan’s Moment: America’s Fight against Zionism as Racism on campus. The book deals with the American efforts to prevent the 1975 U.N. resolution that equated Zionism with racism. The event included a short lecture from Prof. Troy and a book signing.
On February 21, we co-sponsored an event at the Jewish Public Library for Pierre Anctil’s book, Jacob Isaac Segal 1896 – 1954: un poète Yiddish de Montréal et son milieu, on the Montreal Yiddish poet Jacob-Isaac Segal. The event included poetry readings, an introductory talk, a book signing and a wine and cheese reception.
Josh Lambert lecturing
Additionally, our department hosted Josh Lambert for his lecture “Vulgar Words and Belles Lettres: Yiddish Literature and American Obscenity” on the unmatched freedom which American Yiddish writers had in the early 20th century compared to English writers in writing on sex. The lecture took place on October 25th, 2012.
Two classes also featured particularly noteworthy guest lecturers.
Arthur Green lecturing
On October 17th, 2012 Rabbi Arthur Green, PhD was a guest speaker in Eric Caplan’s class, Denominations in North American Judaism. Rabbi Green, a nationally recognized historian of Jewish religion and a theologian, is the founding dean of Hebrew College’s non denominational Rabbinical School. Green described his spiritual development and presented his personal understandings of Judaism which are equally inspired by Hasidic writings and by liberal Jewish thought. Students were impressed by his heartfelt embrace of pluralism within Judaism, his provocative analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Renewal and Orthodox Judaisms, and by his description of how Hebrew College prepares rabbis to deal with the variety of challenges that they will encounter in their congregations.
Liane Altowski’s Sephardic Footprints in World Music class featured Orel Gozlan in a performance and a lecture on March 12, 2013. Orel is currently enrolled at the University of Montreal where he is studying to become a high school French teacher. He also currently works as a chazzan at the synagogue Or Shalom, on the West Island. Orel spoke about “The Art of the Piyut,” regarding the unique elements that pertain to Sephardic religious music from his own deep interest and personal history with this rich musical heritage. With poise and humor Orel gave a lively explanation on the various elements that pertain to Sephardic liturgical music for students coming from both Ashkenazi and Sephardic traditions. He discussed the distinct roles of the Paytan and the Chazzan and he also elaborated on the musical properties of the Maqam and the Muwal. Orel’s lecture was multidimensional as he effortlessly weaved in melodic fragments of Bakashot as examples of piyutim with Spanish and Andalusian influences. Orel Gozlan proved that he is not only a gifted chazzan, but also a gifted and inspiring educator – someone to watch!
Our table at the McGill Open House, Oct. 28, 2012. Pictured: Mikey Schwartz, JSSA President.
We wish all our readers a good summer, and hope to see you at some of the various events we will undoubtedly hold next year.