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The Dybbukast + NEJS

The Dybbukast + NEJS Department at Brandeis University

The Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies (NEJS) at Brandeis University is collaborating with theatre dybbuk to present a unique five episode series as part of the third season of The Dybbukast. In this partnership, the episodes will feature five scholars from the NEJS Department with diverse areas of expertise—Professors Dar Brooks Hedstrom, Jonathan Decter, Yuval Evri, Ziva Hassenfeld, and Jonathan Sarna. Each episode features a single scholar who has chosen a particular creative text on which to focus, and the episode presents their analysis of the history and meanings behind the text. Their scholarly insights and observations are intercut with readings of the text performed by actors from theatre dybbuk, resulting in an entertaining exploration of the themes and topic at hand. Episodes will be available on the second Friday of each month, with the first episode coming February 10, 2023 and the concluding one on June 9, 2023. This five episode series is produced by theatre dybbuk and presented in collaboration with the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University, and this season of The Dybbukast is supported in part by a grant from Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah.



The Dybbukast, Season 3, Episode 3: "The Chronicles of the Rabbis"

“The Chronicles of the Rabbis”

In this first of our five-episode series, we explore a satirical text from 1897 titled The Chronicles of the Rabbis: Being an Account of a Banquet Tendered to “Episcopus” by the Rabbis of New York City upon the Anniversary of his 70th Birthday. Written by J.P. Solomon, the editor of a popular Jewish newspaper, under the pseudonym “Ben F. Rayim,” the text spoofs the banquet thrown that year on the occasion of the 70th birthday of New York’s foremost Reform rabbi of Temple Emanu-El, Gustav Gottheil.

Intercut with readings from the satire, Dr. Jonathan D. Sarna, University Professor and the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, takes us through the text, translating the tensions it presents of a rabbinate on the cusp of change and its intersections with the popular culture of its time.



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One of the largest and most diverse departments of its kind, the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University (NEJS) is dedicated to the critical investigation of the history, literature, and religion of Jews and Judaism, as well as adjacent cultures in the ancient and modern world (the ancient Near East, Christianity, Islam and modern Israel).

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