News

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

Towson University Foundation announces 2021 grant award recipients

Evidence Against Intolerance: A Virtual Symposium on Teaching the Holocaust in the Digital Disinformation Era ($22,700)

In a recent nationwide poll, 63% of Millennials and Gen Z respondents did not know that 6 million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust and one in 10 respondents had never heard the term Holocaust. The grant-funded virtual symposium will be open to TU students as well as teachers throughout Maryland. Evidence Against Intolerance will bring together global Holocaust education and information literacy education experts and provide funding to select symposium participants for the creation of exemplary lesson plans. Accessible through Cook Library’s digital repository, the lesson plans will be available to teachers in Maryland and beyond.

TU students will be involved in the creation, implementation and evaluation of the symposium and lesson plan repository, and a library staff-supervised TU graduate student intern will coordinate the symposium.

“The Evidence Against Intolerance Symposium, and the resulting lesson plans, will strengthen Towson University’s position as a local, regional, and global leader in the field of Holocaust education,” notes Joyce Garczynski, assistant university librarian for development and communication.

Articles

The root of it all

The Baltimore Hebrew Institute was able to virtually host Jeremy Benstein for the biannual Shoubin Lecture series.

For 25 years, the lecture series has highlighted how the Hebrew language is reflected in literature and art and thereby ties the Jewish people to their traditions. Jeremy Benstein discussed the role of Hebrew language in Jewish history, identity and peoplehood. To read more go to The root of it all.

Former Baltimore Hebrew Institute student turns 100

For Mollie Witow, Baltimore Hebrew Institute, formerly Baltimore Hebrew University, has been a special place where she expanded her knowledge of Jewish studies. Her legacy of life long scholarship and Hebrew study has inspired her family. To read more go to Former Baltimore Hebrew Institute student turns 100.

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).