May 2016

Topic of the Week: Call for Papers

May 26, 2016

The Jewish History Division of the Multi-disciplinary Department of Western Galilee College is organizing an international workshop: Jewish Family Confronting Crisis in Modern Times (1800-2017): Divorce, Agunot and Inter-marriage.

The workshop will include sessions on:

-       Divorce among Jews 1800-1914

-       Divorce among Jews 1914-2017

-       Inter-marriage before 1950

-       Inter-marriage after 1950

-       Agunot 1800-1920

-       Agunot and Get Refusal 1920-2017

We seek proposals concerning Jewish communities in the Middle East, Europe, America and Israel.

Please submit a proposal (up to one page) including lecture title, name of presenter, description of the research topic, summary of findings, and sources. In addition, please send a CV to: Dr. Haim Sperber, haims@wgalil.ac.il

Deadline for proposals: 15 August 2016

Notification of acceptance will be sent by mid October 2016.

Dr. Haim Sperber, a two-time scholar-in-residence at HBI and member of the Academic Advisory Council, and the Jewish History Division of the Multi-disciplinary Department of Western Galilee College are organizing an international workshop.

The Jewish Family Confronting Crisis in Modern Times
(1800-2017): Divorce, Agunot and Inter-marriage
Western Galilee College
Akko, Israel
March 8-9, 2017

The workshop will include sessions on:

  • Divorce among Jews 1800-1914
  • Divorce among Jews 1914-2017
  • Inter-marriage before 1950
  • Inter-marriage after 1950
  • Agunot 1800-1920
  • Agunot and Get Refusal 1920-2017

Seeking proposals concerning Jewish communities in the Middle East, Europe, America and Israel.

Please submit a proposal (up to one page) including lecture title, name of presenter, description of the research topic, summary of findings, and sources. In addition, please send a CV to: Dr. Haim Sperber, haims@wgalil.ac.il

Deadline: Monday, August 15, 2016. Notification of acceptance will be sent by mid-October 2016.

At HBI, Dr. Sperber participated in a Spring Seminar titled, “New Approaches to the Agunah Problem.”


Topic of the Week: JOFA Webinar

May 17, 2016

How do young women and men feel about sex, love, and marriage? Who gets married and when? How do couples and individuals decide about children? What are the changing faces of modern Jewish families and what do diverse families mean for American Jewish life today?

On Thursday, May 12, JOFA and HBI partnered for a free webinar with Professor Sylvia Barack Fishmaneditor of Love, Marriage, and Jewish Families: Paradoxes of a Social Revolution and Dr. Michelle Shain, author of the chapter "Dreams and Realities: American Jewish Young Adults' Decisions about Fertility." Amy Powell, communications director at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, moderated the discussion.


Topic of the Week: Berches Recipe

May 6, 2016

Berches

By Gabrielle Rossmer Gropman & Sonya Gropman 

makes 2 medium loaves, or 1 extra-large loaf

Berches, the braided ceremonial bread of German Jews, differs from challah, the ceremonial bread of Eastern European Jews, in two ways: 1) it is “water bread” (it is made without egg in the dough), and 2) it usually includes cooked potato. This results in a bread with a whiter interior, a slight sourdough taste, an airy texture, and a shiny, golden brown, poppy seed-studded crust. 

This recipe is adapted from one by Herta Bloch, an owner of the much-loved German-Jewish specialty meat shop Bloch & Falk, which had several locations in NYC from the 1930s-1990s. 

7 cups (about 2 pounds) all-purpose flour + extra for the bread board

¼ cup + 2 cups warm water, or as needed

1 ¼ ounce package active dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)

½ teaspoon sugar

¼ cup neutral oil (such as safflower or canola) + extra for greasing bowl 1 white potato, boiled, peeled, mashed, and cooled

4 teaspoons salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

1-­‐2 tablespoons poppy seeds

1.  Place flour in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center of the flour. 

2.  Pour ¼ cup warm water in the well. Add yeast and sugar and stir gently to dissolve. Let sit 5-10 minutes until it is bubbling. 

3.  Add ¼ cup oil, mashed potato, and salt. With a wooden spoon (or better yet, your hands), start to mix the flour into the yeast mixture in the well. Gradually add warm water as needed to moisten the flour (being careful not to add too much -- the dough should remain firm and you may not need to use all 2 cups!), while continuing to mix. 

4.  Remove dough from bowl and put on a floured bread board (or a clean counter top). Knead by hand (press dough hard with the palm of your hand, fold dough over, repeat) until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is well-blended and smooth.

5.  Wash and dry the mixing bowl and grease lightly with oil. Return dough to bowl, cover with a slightly damp kitchen towel, and place in a warm spot (such as in an oven that has been pre-warmed on low, then turned off). Let it rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

6.  Punch down the dough in the bowl. Return to the floured bread board (or counter top) and knead until smooth.

7.  Lightly oil a baking sheet. 

For one extra-large loaf: Cut dough into three equal parts and roll each part into a rope of equal length. To braid dough: start with three ropes lined up in a parallel row. Pinch the ends together. Cross the left-hand rope over the middle rope (the left-hand rope now moves to the middle position). Cross the right-hand rope over the middle rope. Continue crossing left- and right-hand ropes until your reach the end of the ropes. Pinch the ends together and tuck under. Place on baking sheet.

For two medium loaves: Cut dough in half, and follow instructions above. 

8.  Cover the loaves with the damp kitchen towel. Return to warm spot and let rise until doubled in size, about 1-1½ hours.

9.  Preheat oven to 350° F. Brush the top of the loaf/loaves with the beaten egg and sprinkle generously with the poppy seeds. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown and tapping it on the bottom makes a hollow sound.

10.  Place on a wire rack to cool.

© 2015 Gabrielle Rossmer Gropman & Sonya Gropman German-Jewish Cuisine


Topic of the Week: Meet Our Scholars

May 2, 2016

Kathryn Hellerstein, Scholar-in-residence

As a scholar in residence at the HBI in Spring 2016, Kathryn Hellerstein has been researching and writing about Jewish American women poets as translators.  The title of her project is,  “ ‘What is it to be a Jewish Woman Poet?’  Women Poets as Jewish Translators.”  This spring, she has written two essays for this project:  "Women Poets as Jewish Translators:  Liturgy (1867 and 1996)” and "Jewish American Women Poets:  Anthologists and Translators (1966-1999)."  Hellerstein is Associate Professor of Yiddish at the University of Pennsylvania.  Her books include a translation and study of Moyshe-Leyb Halpern's poems, In New York: A Selection, (Jewish Publication Society, 1982), Paper Bridges:  Selected Poems of Kadya Molodowsky (Wayne State University Press, 1999), Jewish American Literature:  A Norton Anthology, of which she is co-editor (W. W. Norton, 2001).  Her new book, A Question of Tradition:  Women Poets in Yiddish, 1586-1987 (Stanford University Press, 2014), won the National Jewish Book Award in Women’s Studies.  Hellerstein’s poems and many scholarly articles on Yiddish and Jewish American literature have appeared in journals and anthologies, including American Yiddish Poetry: A Bilingual Anthology (University of California Press, 1986), to which she was a major contributor. Hellerstein has received grants from the NEA, the NEH, and the Guggenheim Foundation, as well as from the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute and the Marcus Center at the American Jewish Archives. Her Women Yiddish Poets: An Anthology, is forthcoming from Stanford University Press.