News

Baltimore Hebrew Institute is proud to share information about faculty publications and lectures, alumni and programs at the university.

Articles

Meet the 2020-2021 Graduates

Graduates earned master’s degrees in Jewish Studies, Leadership in Jewish Education and Communal Service or a Certificate in Jewish Communal Service.

Jews Out of the Question: A Critique of Anti-Semitism

Elad Lapidot

Book review by Dr. Gilad Sharvit

The academic field of the study of Antisemitism is fraught today with ongoing political debates on the legitimacy of the state of Israel and the nature of Zionism. Yet the effects of what one may call “classic” forms of racism and Antisemitism are still well observed in Jewish communities in the USA and Europe. These forms of Antisemitism are at the focus of Elad Lapidot’s wonderful new book Jews Out of the Question: A Critique of Anti-Anti-Semitism. Lapidot, however, does not engage with Antisemitism directly. Rather, in this latest work, he invites us to rethink how we should fight against Antisemitism. He is focused on the responses of Jewish and non-Jewish thinkers to Antisemitism in the 20th century, to suggest, quite surprisingly, that these responses share some rather important assumptions about Judaism. To clarify, Elad’s critique of anti-anti-Semitism does not intend to defend Antisemitism. On the contrary, his book suggests a fundamental affinity, and so a certain complicity between a dominant critique of Antisemitism and the criticized object.  Continue Reading

California Girl

Rose Haas has a passion for Jewish education; so much so that in 2016 she traveled 3,000 miles to attend American University for her undergraduate degree in Jewish Studies and Special Education.  In 2020, she made her way to Towson to begin work on her graduate degree in Leadership in Jewish Education and Communal Service.  Rose said that the excellence of both programs prompted her to move to the East coast, and she is so glad she relocated.

Her first year at TU was completely online due to the COVID pandemic. However, Rose discovered that “…learning online worked for me and that I learned so much in my classes because the instructors were excellent.”  Rose noted that she was still able to build a rapport with her instructors and her fellow students even though the classes were virtual.  Building a connection with her instructors and fellow students, even online, enabled coming back to class in person an easy transition.  Continue Reading

New Faculty Publications

Jennifer Caplan

“Public Heroes, Secret Jews: Jewish Identity and Comic Books”

Professor Caplan, an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies at TU, recently published the article “Public Heroes, Secret Jews: Jewish Identity and Comic Books.” The article featured in the recent Journal of Jewish Identities (issue 14:1), discusses how masking theory is used to analyze the public Jewishness of several notable comic book characters.  Although The Thing, Magneto, Ragman and Shadowcat are all canonically Jewish characters, they were not all Jewish at their inception. Three of the four, in fact, were created by Jewish writers who left only clues about a possible Jewish identity but would not commit to naming their creations as Jewish. Shadowcat is the only Jewish character, who was Jewish from her inception.

The article speculates that the reason why these comic book characters' Jewish identify was secret says more about the creators’ desire to hide in plain sight than it does about the characters themselves. To read more visit Journal of Jewish Identities (14:1)

Benjamin Fisher

Amsterdam’s People of the Book: Jewish Society and the Turn to Scripture in the Seventeenth Century

Fisher, associate professor in the Department of History and Director of Jewish Studies at Towson University, recently authored Amsterdam's People of the Book: Jewish Society and the Turn to Scripture in the Seventeenth Century (Hebrew Union College Press, 2020). Fisher surveys how Jews in the seventeenth-century Netherlands interacted with diverse Protestant movements, new teachings, and Christian religious tests, and how these encounters unexpectedly changed Jewish thinking about Judaism, the Bible and even Jesus and Christianity. A video lecture regarding the book can be viewed at Amsterdam's People of the Book (YouTube).

Gilad Sharvit 

Canonization and Alterity: Heresy in Jewish History, Thought and Literature

Sharvit, assistant professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Towson University, along with Dr. Willi Goetschel, professor of German and Philosophy at the University of Toronto, edited the volume (Perspectives on Jewish Texts and Contexts Book 14) which offers an examination of  varied forms of heresy in Jewish thought, literature and history. The chapters examine how heresy played a role in the Hellenic period and in Rabbinic literature, as well as its influence in Kabbalah and on modern thinkers such as Spinoza, Freud and Derrida and literary figures such as Kafka, Tchernichovsky and I.B. Singer. A video lecture regarding the book can be viewed at Judaism and Heresy: The case of Spinoza, Freud, and Tchernichovsky (YouTube).