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.
"Studying Sacred Texts" with Dr. Ziva Hassenfeld
In the concluding episode of our five-episode series in partnership with the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University and of our third season, we investigate the ways in which students respond to Jewish sacred texts. Throughout the episode, we present readings from the Torah and accompanying responses from students and explore the tensions and the opportunities that exist within learning environments.
"The Book of Tahkemoni" with Dr. Jonathan Decter
In this fourth of our five-episode series in partnership with the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University, we explore The Book of Tahkemoni, a collection of tales written in Hebrew in the early 13th century. Authored by Yehuda Alharizi, who was born in Toledo, Spain in the middle of the 12th century, the book uses the structure of the Arabic literary form known as maqama.
“The Sayings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers”
In this third of our five-episode series in partnership with the NEJS Department, we explore a text from the beginnings of Christian monasticism in the Byzantine period. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers is a collection of short stories and sayings from and about monks centered in Northern Egypt in the 4th century CE that were recorded in the 5th and 6th centuries. We explore the ways in which the collection was developed, the influence it has had, and its intersections with various faith traditions.
“The Imagined Childhood” with Dr. Yuval Evri
In this second of our five-episode series with the NEJS Department, we explore "The Imagined Childhood,” a short story originally published in Hebrew in 1979. Written by the prolific 20th-century Iraqi-born Israeli author Shimon Ballas, the story served as an epilogue to a collection of short stories whose narratives intersect with the author's early life in Baghdad.
“The Chronicles of the Rabbis” with Dr. Jonathan Sarna
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.
ABOUT THE NEJS DEPARTMENT AT BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY
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).