Tel Aviv Conference

Tel Aviv at 100

Myth, Memory, and Actuality

Sponsored by the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies

March 22-23, 2009


Welcome and Opening Remarks
Jehuda Reinharz, president, Brandeis University
Ilan Troen, director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, Brandeis University

Session 1: Imagining and Shaping Tel Aviv
Chair: Ilan Troen

Barbara Mann, Jewish Theological Seminary
Tel Aviv between Space and Place

Session II: Art & Architecture of Tel Aviv
Chair: Gannit Ankori, Brandeis University
On Israeli Art and Architecture

Alona Nitzan-Shiftan, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology
Architecture from the Sand: Zoom In/Zoom Out

Dalia Manor, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design
Art and the City: The Case of Tel Aviv

Session III: World Premiere, Documentary Film, Tel Aviv

Chair: Sharon Pucker Rivo, National Center for Jewish Film, Brandeis University

Modi Bar-On and Anat Zeltser, documentary filmmakers

Session IV: Borders and Boundaries: Early Tel Aviv and Jaffa

Chair: Mark Auslander, Brandeis University

Hizky Shoham, Yale University and Bar Ilan University
Tel Aviv's Invented Anniversaries

Deborah Bernstein, Haifa University
The Tel Aviv / Jaffa Border Zone

Nahum Karlinsky, University of Pennsylvania and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Underground Relations: Municipal Services of Mandatory Tel Aviv and Jaffa

Session V: Deprivation and Decay in the Fair City

Chair: Eugene Sheppard, Brandeis University

Orit Rozin, Tel Aviv University
Austerity Tel Aviv: Everyday Life 1948-1958

Anat Helman, University of Virginia and Hebrew University of Jerusalem
A Blot on the Fair Name of Tel Aviv: Dirt, Noise and Misbehavior in the First Hebrew City

Session VI: Tel Aviv Scene: Then and Now

Chair: Ilana Szobel, Brandeis University

Tammy Razi, Sapir College
Subversive Youth Cultures in Mandatory Tel Aviv

Rachel S. Harris, SUNY Albany
Manifestos for a New Poetics: The Contemporary Hebrew Literature Scene

Summary and Concluding Discussion
Chair: Jonathan Sarna, Brandeis University

Maoz Azaryahu, Haifa University
Tel Aviv: The Aspiring Metropolis

About the Speakers

Mark Auslander is director of the interdisciplinary Master’s program in Cultural Production and an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at Brandeis University. He is a sociocultural anthropologist with strong interests in political and symbolic processes. He received undergraduate and graduate training in Anthropology at the University of Chicago. His academic writings explore a wide range of topics, including south-central African witch finding movements, popular contests over South African nature reserves, Zulu iconography in global contexts, the social meanings of lynching photography, popular narratives of slavery in the rural American South, and African American family reunions. He has consulted at the Smithsonian on the
“African Voices” exhibition project and worked on “Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America” at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta. With his students and community members he has collaboratively curated exhibitions of African and African American art and cultural history.

Maoz Azaryahu is associate professor of Cultural Geography at the University of Haifa in Israel. His research focuses on the cultural and historical geographies of national myths and public memory in Israel and in Germany, landscapes of popular culture, the politics of street names, and the cultural history of places and landscapes. His books include Von Wilhelmplatz zu Thaelmannplatz. Politische Symbole im Oeffentlichen Leben der DDR 1945-1985, (1991); State Cults: Celebrating Independence and Commemorating the Fallen in Israel 1948-1956, (Hebrew) (1995); and Tel Aviv: Mythography of a City. Space, Place and Society Series, (2006).

Gannit Ankori is visiting professor of Art History at Brandeis University. She is the Henya Sharef Professor of Humanities at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she served as chair of the Department of Art History before coming to Brandeis. Ankori curated the acclaimed museum exhibition “Frida Kahlo’s Intimate Family Picture.” Her forthcoming English-language book Frida Kahlo will join her two books and numerous
articles on Kahlo. She has taught and lectured about Israeli and Palestinian art for many years and has published extensively on the visual representation of gender-related issues, the construction of identity, exile, trauma, and hybridity. Ankori won a Polonsky Prize for Originality and Creativity in the Humanistic Disciplines for her book Palestinian Art.

Modi Bar-On is an Israeli television presenter and writer whose career began as a stand-up comic and as a writer for the revolutionary Israeli satire show The Chamber Quintet. Over the past 11 years he has hosted the Champions League Show for an Israeli sports channel while also writing and presenting an acclaimed documentary series which took a fresh and intensive look at the Israeli story. With his partner Anat Zeltser he created It’s About People, a television series featuring biographies of Israeli heroes, and In the State of The Jews, a history of Israeli entertainment and Jewish humor. Recently the two collaborated on the series Six on Sixty, which focuses on men and women who were born at the same time the Israeli state was founded. Currently they are working on a documentary film about the history of Tel Aviv, the first Hebrew city.
This documentary will premiere at Brandeis University.

Deborah Bernstein teaches in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Haifa and chaired the Women Studies Program from 1997-2002. She has studied ethnic relations in Israeli society, the position of women in pre-state and post-1948 Israeli society, and Jewish-Arab relations in the mandate period, combining historical and sociological perspectives with a special interest in gender study and
analysis. Her many publications include The Struggle for Equality (1987), Constructing Boundaries—Jewish and Arab Workers in Mandatory Palestine, (2000), and Women on the Margins, Nationalism and Gender in Mandate Tel Aviv (Hebrew, 2008). She also edited Pioneers and Homemakers (1992).

Rachel S. Harris is assistant professor of Hebrew Literature and Language at the University at Albany. She has worked extensively on the role of suicide in Hebrew literature. Her current research examines the phenomenon of contemporary literary journals in Tel Aviv. Originally trained at the University of Edinburgh in Islamic Studies, Philosophy, and English Literature through the MA honors general program, Harris moved to London to pursue a masters degree in Middle Eastern History and Jewish Literature. These diverse fields have come together in her research to inform her interdisciplinary approach to literature.

Anat Helman is a lecturer in the Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry and the Cultural Studies Program at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Helman is the Rosenbloom Visiting Israeli Professor in Israel Studies at the University of Virginia. Her previous research centered on mandate-era Tel Aviv, and she is currently examining everyday culture in 1950s Israel.

Nahum Karlinsky is a faculty member at the Ben-Gurion Research Institute, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, where he teaches Modern Jewish History and Israel Studies. He is currently a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. His books include Counter History: The Hasidic Epistles from Eretz-Israel—Text and Context (1998) and California Dreaming: Ideology, Society
and Technology in the Citrus Industry of Palestine 1890-1939 (2005). His current research projects are Jewish Philanthropy between the Two World Wars; and The Palestinian-Arab Citrus Industry—Economic, Social and Cultural Considerations, a research project conducted jointly with Dr. Mustafa Kabha from the Open University of Israel.

Barbara Mann is associate professor of Jewish Literature and serves as the Simon H. Fabian Chair in Hebrew Literature at The Jewish Theological Seminary. Her areas of expertise include Israeli and Jewish literature, cultural studies, modern poetry, urban studies, literary modernism, and the fine arts. Mann is currently writing a book about conceptions of space and place in modern Jewish culture. Mann is the author of A Place in History: Modernism, Tel Aviv, and the Creation of Jewish Urban Space, (2006), and co-editor-in-chief of Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History. From 1997 to 2004, she was a member of the faculty at Princeton University, where she also served as a faculty fellow in Princeton’s Center for the Study of Religion. She was awarded a Fulbright-Hayes Faculty Research Abroad Fellowship in 1999 and recently served as a fellow at the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Dalia Manor is an art historian and critic with particular interest in contemporary art, Israeli art and culture, and issues of modern art and national identity in the Middle East. Manor has published various articles in academic journals and books including Art in Zion: The Genesis of Modern National Art in Jewish Palestine, (2005). In 2008 she was awarded a research grant by the Israel Science Foundation for her study of modern art in Jewish Palestine. She currently teaches at the Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem and at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, as well as at other academic institutions. Manor has written numerous art reviews in newspapers and journals in Israel and in Britain, and was a founding editor of Studio, Israel’s major art magazine. She has curated several exhibitions, including the large-scale 2007 Drawing Biennale in Jerusalem and Salame/Herzl: Views from Tel Aviv South, a group exhibition dedicated to the periphery of Tel Aviv.

Alona Nitzan-Shiftan is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology. She studies post-World War II architectural culture, particularly in Israel and the U.S., and her research focuses on cross-cultural contexts in light of recent thought in the fields of nationalism, orientalism and post-colonialism. She was recently awarded the position of Mary Davis and the Kress Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) at the National Gallery of Art, and was previously a Lady Davis Fellow at the Technion. Her publications have appeared in Architectural History, Theory and Criticism, Harvard Design Magazine, Jama’a, and Thresholds as well as in edited volumes such as The End of Tradition. She is currently working on Israelizing Jerusalem: the Politics of Architecture and Beauty in a Contested City and on I.M. Pei’s East Building, the subject of an exhibition she co-curated at the National Gallery.

Tammy Razi is a lecturer at Sapir College and also teaches at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. She received her Ph.D. (Summa Cum Laude) from Bar-Ilan University in 2006. Her dissertation focused on neglected children in mandatory Tel Aviv and the creation of the nation’s margins. She was a recipient of the Ephraim Urbach Post-Doctoral Fellowship of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture in 2007. Her publications and research
interests focus on the social and urban history of pre-state Israel as well as on gendered and comparative perspectives of modern childhood. Her book, Forsaken Children: the Backyard of Mandate Tel Aviv, (2009), has been awarded the Tel Aviv Centennial prize for best books on Tel Aviv. Her current research deals with colonial perspectives of cooperation between colonial and local authorities, especially in the context of social control.

Jehuda Reinharz is the Richard Koret Professor of Modern Jewish History and, since 1994, president of Brandeis University. He is the author of some one hundred articles and twenty books on European Jewish history and the history of Zionism and the State of Israel. His most recent publications include A Fearless Visionary in the Land of Israel: The Letters of Manya Shohat, 1906-1960, coedited with Shulamit Reinharz and Motti Golani (2005); and Israel in the Middle East: Documents and Readings on Society, Politics and Foreign Relations, Pre-1948 to the Present, coedited with Itamar Rabinovich (2007). The English version of his book Glorious, Accursed Europe, co-authored with Ya’acov Shavit and originally published in Hebrew, is forthcoming.

Sharon Pucker Rivo is co-founder and executive director of the National Center for Jewish Film and is an adjunct associate professor in the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies Department at Brandeis University, where she teaches an annual course on Jewish film. She has worked in the field of Jewish film and media for thirty years. Recognized nationally and internationally as an authority, she has been an invited lecturer at hundreds of venues including Bowdoin College, Wellesley College, University of California at Santa Cruz, the Barbican Centre in London, and the Jerusalem Film Festival. Ms. Rivo has curated a dozen retrospectives of Yiddish cinema, a retrospective of the Polish films of Andrzej Wajda, and co-curated twelve annual Jewish film festivals at the Wasserman Cinematheque. She was awarded the Zvi Cohen Leadership and Legacy Award by The Boston Center for Jewish Heritage at the Vilna Shul in recognition of her contribution, vision and commitment to preserving Jewish Cultural life in September 2007.

Orit Rozin is a Keshet post-doctoral fellow at the Jewish History department at Tel Aviv University. Rozin completed her doctoral dissertation at Tel Aviv University in 2002. Her book, Duty and Love – Individualism and Collectivism in 1950’s Israel, based on this dissertation, was published in 2008. Her research interests and publications focus on the social, legal, and cultural history of Israeli state and society in the 1950s and 1960s, combining studies of gender and comparative perspective with history from above and history from below. Her current research project focuses on the quest for civil rights in 1950s Israel and its impact on Israeli identity. Rozin teaches an array of courses on Israeli history at Tel Aviv University, including immigration, the Israeli home, law, legislation and public debates, and women’s history.

Jonathan Sarna is the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University and director of its Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program. Dubbed by the Forward newspaper in 2004 as one of America’s fifty most influential American Jews, he was chief historian for the 350th commemoration of the American Jewish community, and is recognized as a leading commentator on American Jewish history, religion and life. Sarna has written, edited, or co-edited more than twenty books, including the new A Time to Every Purpose: Letters to a Young Jew. He is best known for the acclaimed American Judaism: A History.