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Lapidus Family Fund in American Jewish Studies

Thanks to a recent grant by Sidney and Ruth Lapidus and their family, the Program collaborates with the Program in Judaic Studies to offer courses and events related to American Jewish Studies. 


Spring 2014 Events and Courses


AMS 323 / JDS 323   America in Judaism
Rabbi Lance Sussman

Although the idea of an “American Judaism” emerged in the early decades of the nineteenth century, scholars have yet to define this concept in precise terms and explain how it differs from a simpler historical understanding of “Judaism in America.”  Our seminar will examine the Americanization of Judaism beginning with the earliest transplanted Iberian concepts of Judaism in the “new world” to the transformation of Jewish religious life in the United States.  Special attention will be paid to Jewish theology, the rabbinate, gender, denominationalism, and the polity of the American synagogue.

RABBI LANCE J. SUSSMAN, Ph.D. began his service as the eighth Senior Rabbi of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in July 2001. He earned his Ph.D. at the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion (Cincinnati).   A "Rabbi Doctor" in the tradition of KI's Dr. Bert Korn, Sussman is a renowned author and dynamic lecturer. Rabbi Sussman has published numerous books and articles, including Isaac Lesser and the Making of American Judaism, and Sharing Sacred Moments (a collection of his sermons), and served as an editor of Reform Judaism in America: A Biographical Dictionary and Sourcebook. His online and print book and movie reviews attract wide attention. He has appeared in several PBS specials on Judaism in America and has co-produced a documentary of his own, Voices for Justice with  Dr. Gary P. Zola. Rabbi Sussman served as national Chair of the CCAR Press, the publishing arm of the Central Conference of American Rabbis for ten years and recently was elected President of the Association for Progressive Judaism, an independent Reform think tank based in New York City.  He is a Trustee of the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, the American Jewish Historical Society (NY) and is an active member of the Academic Advisory and Editorial Board of the American Jewish Archives (Cincinnati).  Previously, Rabbi Sussman served as Chair of Jewish Studies Department at Binghamton University-SUNY and has offered courses in Jewish History at Hebrew Union College in New York City and Princeton University.  He currently teaches American Jewish History at Princeton University and Modern Jewish History at Temple University and Gratz College.  Rabbi Sussman is currently serving as Curator for a major exhibit on "Jews, Judaism and American Culture, 1776-1860" at the Center for Jewish History (NY) opening February 2014.

Fall 2013 Events and Courses


ENG 410 / AMS 393 / THR 368 / JDS 410 Jewish Identity and Performance in the U.S.    
Jill S. Dolan, Department of English; Lewis Center for the Arts; Program in the Study of Gender and Sexuality
Stacy Wolf, Program in Theater, Lewis Center for the Arts; Princeton Atelier     

What does Jewishness mean in the U.S.? Is it ethnicity or religion? Identity or culture? Belief or practice? How do performance and theater answer or illuminate these questions? We’ll consider plays and performances, bodies and texts, performers and spectators, history, memory, and the present.