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  September 18, 2000

Judaic Studies Program Marks 21st Anniversary
with New Distinguished Lecture Series

A new annual lecture series to be given by a distinguished speaker on a topic in Judaic Studies begins Sunday, Sept. 24.

The inaugural Mittelman lecture will be given by Baruch A. Levine, Skirball Professor of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at New York University, at 2 p.m. in the Konover Auditorium, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. Levine, who is also one of the translators of the Jewish Publication Society Hebrew Bible, will discuss "The 'Where' of Religious Experience: Sacred Space in Biblical Perspective." President Philip E. Austin will give welcoming remarks and a reception will follow Levine's talk. The event is free and open to the public.

The annual Mittelman lecture series, designed to bring renowned speakers to the University to discuss topics in Judaic Studies, is sponsored by Eugene and Georgia Mittelman of Willimantic, longtime supporters of the University.

Levine's lecture celebrates the 21st anniversary of UConn's Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life. As part of the 21st anniversary celebration other lectures are also planned across the state:

Nov. 5 - Naomi Seidman, professor of Jewish studies, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, "Power and Possession: Dybbuks and the Sexual Transformation of Ashkenaz," 11 a.m., General Re Auditorium, Stamford campus.

Nov. 14 - Arthur Green, professor of Jewish thought, Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University, "New Directions in Jewish Theology," 7:30 p.m., Gilman Theater, Jewish Community Center, 335 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford.

Feb. 14 - Adolfo Roitman, Curator of the Shrine of the Book and the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, "The Greatest Archaeological Discovery of the Century: The Dead Sea Scrolls," 4 p.m., Konover Auditorium, Dodd Center, Storrs.

The Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life was founded by the Board of Trustees in February 1979, and was formally launched at an inaugural program in June of that year when Nobel Laureate I.B. Singer addressed nearly 1,000 people.

According to Arnold Dashefsky, director of the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, the Center is the first such entity founded at a college or university in Connecticut. Now housed in the Dodd Center, it was founded to foster academic study and research in Judaic Studies, to offer courses for academic concentration and enrichment and training for service in the community by providing a Judaic studies component, and to provide resources for continuing education.

Students may earn a bachelor of arts degree or a master's degree in Judaic studies. The B.A. is earned through the individualized major program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The courses cover various aspects of the history and literature of the Jews, from biblical times to the present. Courses are also offered in topics including ancient and modern Israel, the experience of the Jews among Christians or Muslims and Jewish life in contemporary America.

The new M.A. in Judaic Studies provides an opportunity for students to pursue philosophical, literary, theoretical, and empirical approaches to the field through creative scholarship.

Sherry Fisher