UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM
Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies
Confronting Catastrophe: Jewish Religious Responses to the Holocaust
Jewish Source Study Initiative Summer Seminar
August 14-18, 2006
The Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies (CAHS) of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) announces a scholarly seminar, Confronting Catastrophe: Jewish Religious Responses to the Holocaust. The seminar will be held August 14-18 at the Museum.
This seminar is being organized in support of the Center’s Jewish Source Study Initiative (JSSI) and in association with the USHMM’s Committee on Church Relations and the Holocaust. The objective of the JSSI is to promote the use of the rich primary source collections on Jewish life and culture available at the Museum for the study of unexplored aspects of the Holocaust and the Jewish experience.
The seminar will examine Jewish religious and theological responses to the Holocaust both during and after the Second World War. The seminar will (1) focus attention on this facet of Jewish religious responses to Nazi persecution, and (2) facilitate a deeper understanding of the manner in which religious responses during the Holocaust influenced postwar theological efforts to confront the enormity of the destruction. Participants will examine the ways Jews sought to maintain religious observance under Nazi occupation, the moral and ethical dilemmas Jews confronted daily during the war, and how theologians and religious leaders have explained the meaning of the Holocaust in its aftermath.
Questions that will frame seminar discussions include: to what extent were contemporary Jewish religious responses conditioned by prior Jewish experience and tradition; how have Jewish thinkers engaged with the meaning of the Holocaust and with its implications for Judaism and Jewish identity; and in what ways can the study of religion and theology and the study of history inform one another? Participants will also engage in textual study using a variety of sources, including rabbinic responsa, diaries, and sermons. Discussions and seminar sessions will address themes of Jewish family life, Jewish ethics, leadership efforts, community preservation, moral deliberation, postwar religious observance, Holocaust memorialization, and Jewish practice. The format of the seminar will consist of lectures by the seminar leader, followed by discussion. Seminar participants will be expected to prepare a twenty-minute paper about their work in this area, to be distributed among the participants one month prior to the program, and to be presented (in English) at the seminar.
Seminar sessions will be led by Steven Katz, Professor of Religion and Director, Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies, Boston University, and Member and former co-Chair, Academic Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. His publications include Jewish Philosophers (1975); Jewish Ideas and Concepts (1977); Post-Holocaust Dialogues, which won the national Jewish Book Award in 1984; Historicism, the Holocaust and Zionism (1992); an edited volume, The Impact of the Holocaust on Jewish Theology (2005); and a multi-volume study entitled The Holocaust in Historical Context (1994-), selected as “the outstanding book in philosophy and theology” for 1994 by the American Association of University Publishers.
The application process is competitive. To ensure ample time for the participatory aspect of the seminar, up to fifteen scholars will be selected. A limited number of places will be available for international participants. Applications are welcome from scholars working in the fields of ethics, Jewish studies, religion, theology, Christian-Jewish relations, or other fields and/or projects directly applicable to the subject of religious responses to the Holocaust.
Applications must be submitted in English and include: (1) a statement of the candidate’s specific interest in attending the seminar; (2) a curriculum vitae; and (3) a supporting letter from an academic supervisor, departmental chair, dean, or director of research that addresses the candidate’s qualifications and purpose for attending the seminar. Applicants must be enrolled in or faculty or staff of an academic or research institution. Applicants in transition between appointments must provide a detailed explanation. All participants must attend the entire seminar. Non-U.S. citizens will be responsible for obtaining and covering the cost of any necessary visas to attend the workshop. Ability to present in English is required.
The organizers will defray the cost of (1) the most economical direct travel from the participant’s home institution to Washington, DC, and return; (2) lodging for non-local participants for the duration of the seminar; and (3) approximately $250 to help defray the cost of incidentals and meal expenses. These funds will be distributed four to six weeks after the seminar’s conclusion.
Applications should be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 202-479-9726. Applications must be postmarked no later than Friday, March 3, 2006. Selections will be announced in writing by Friday, March 17, 2006.
Applications and questions regarding this program should be addressed to: Dr. Avinoam Patt, Applied Research Scholars, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW, Washington, DC 20024-2126 (Tel: 202-488-0442; Fax: 202-479-9726; E-mail: email@example.com).
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