The Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies Program

The Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies Program


Dear Friends and Colleagues.

A new **Jewish Music Forum launches** next Tuesday, 23 June, with **‘Conversations on Zoom’ **(COZ) where scholars, practitioners and archivists engage in dialogue on their work, interests and approaches. Read the First Newsletter here https:

**23 June 2020** **Dr Naomi Cohn Zentner** with **Professor Eliyahu Schleifer**

**30 June 2020 Cantor Matt Austerklein **with **Cantor Abraham Lubin**

**Conversations on Zoom take place on Tuesday’s **(09:00 Los Angeles/ 12.00 New York/ 17:00 UK/ 18:00 Hannover/ 19:00 Jerusalem time)

More details of their conversations here.

**To join the conversation with the log-in details** go to

To book your own ‘Conversation’, **pick a date, and a partner** and get in touch. Contact me [email protected] to fit this in to the weekly Tuesday COZ programme. (You do not already have to be a Member of the Forum to participate in this programme, but we hope you will join soon)

To join the International Forum for Jewish Music Studies, see the details at:

We look forward to ‘seeing’ you at COZ

Mark Kligman, Martha Stellmacher and Geraldine Auerbach

International Forum for Jewish Music Studies
Hi! I am having a mock job talk this afternoon and would love to try it out on the Jewish Studies crowd. The talk is scheduled to begin at 3:00 pm in Ballantine 332. I'll be lecturing on Dahn Ben-Amotz and Israeli literary identity politics for about 40 minutes, with 20 minutes of Q&A to follow.

I hope to see you there, and feel free to invite others!

Dear friends,

It is an honor for me to be at the forefront of a story tradition that belongs uniquely to children of Holocaust survivors.

Thank you for inviting us to tell you about The Presence of Their Absence, my new documentary that follows a son of survivors on a journey to trace his inherited trauma.

Armed with only scant clues from his late parents, Fred Zaidman ventures into the unknown to tell his story for this first time.

With helpers in Poland, Israel, Germany, and an unlikely source – a Baptist minister in Atlanta - Fred finds his roots in the ashes of the Shoah.

Yad Vashem has called The Presence of Their Absence “a film for the ages”. We are delighted it has just come to Digital HD on iTunes and your other platforms:…/the-presence-of-the…/id 1449946652 - and Amazon:

I hope you will view the film, send your thoughts, and share your personal stories on email via our website ( You may also order a DVD there.

With gratitude,

Donna Kanter and team Is this a new development or has it been available for awhile? I am on my third year of my masters program and my topic involves the Holocaust in Ukraine. I had no idea until now that IU was an access site. I am using the archive now at home.
Yiddish Life: On Page, On Stage, On Screen (3 cr)
Dov-Ber Kerler
GER-E 351 Topics in Yiddish Literature (34053) / CMLT-C 377 Topics in Yiddish Literature (34094)
2nd 8 week course
MW 4:00-6:15 (Woodburn 203)
Meets with GER-Y 505 (34054)
The Egyptian East Delta
in the Biblical-Exodus Era:

We have no firm evidence to map the major Israelite sites pre-Exodus. Or where the name “Israel” came from. Hypothetical models are rare.

Evidence suggests that people largely derived from the West Semitic Canaanite corridor lived in Sukkoth, Migdol and Etham in the Egyptian East Delta. Here were elevated mounded meadows for small farms, connected by stone causeways and reed boats, surrounded by everglades. The nearby offshore slim barrier-island chain of the Bardawil Peninsula offered the easiest wetlands route from Migdol to the closest Northland walled city of Sharuhan, pressed by its own water needs. Its armed garrisons might have beaten off the Exodus and maybe forced it to wander in a semi-circle from the reed sea toward the Red Sea, following a sudden Plan B to reach Hebrew-speaking Midian to their southeast. Here Moses had in-laws of high station. One of many secular Exodus possibilities. No known extensive maps existed then, or for centuries after. Alphabetic writing on leather or papyrus scrolls as biblical would begin toward the end of King David’s reign and the beginning of King Solomon’s. They contain references that can be read as literal (fact) or figurative (enhanced). Such as both God and a stranger, in separate accounts, calling Jacob “Israel.” In the secular view, miracles only occur when no scientist is around to record or explain them.

The Israelite calling suggests the name of their non-contiguous farm communities was -- Israel. It lay outside the reach of the inundation of the easternmost Nile arm (Bubastis Canal). Thus Egyptians feared to live there. In that time, gods were regional, limited locally to protect their people. Thus, Deltaland Israel lay between the Egyptian Nile-and-sun god Ra, and the West Semitic Most High, El. The Israelites may have optimistically called themselves the children of Ra and El. Yitz-Ra-El would translate, in street language, to Israel.

Deltaland Israel played an important part in the Egyptian local food supply. The brightest also could read Semitic text in cuneiform and alphabetic to help process overland trade from the north (eg, Ugarit, Ebla, Mari, Babylon, etc). Earliest Israelite communities may have reached back as far as to 3500 BCE, when West Semitic merchant fleets are believed to have first ventured down to Avaris.

Many Israelites had relatives in the north through arranged marriages and deep-seated tribal association, especially in the cattle country on the Plain of Esdraelon. (Abraham and Jacob were cattlemen with their best market in Avaris.) The Israelites may have referred to the Plain of Esdraelon nominally as “Israel.” Jacob lived during the Hyksos exodus, 600+ years before his tale was written down. But there had to be an origin of the name before Jacob. It remains a puzzling problem for modern exegetical scholars.
ISRAEL & JUDAH: The First Nation State in the Levant, c 1000 BCE. From Vol 3, Conquest of Jerusalem, in my King David epic-novel E-book 4-volume series. After Aharoni, Gilbert, etc. Recently published. At your favorite bookseller. King David, separately in stepstone fashion crowned king of Hebron, Judah and Israel, extended his reign by request across the Jordan, and over the nomadic sheep-herding Tribes of Simeon in the Negev and of Reuben north of Moab, plus outlier unaffiliated Hebrew clans like the Jerachmeelites. David's kingdom was allied with Sidonia (later called Phoenicia by the Greeks) and the tiny outlier kingdom of Geshur that was absorbing even smaller Maacah and allied to neighboring Lebo-Hamath. David had crushed but did not occupy invader/raider Philistia, Ammon, Moab and Edom. When his nephew/prodigy Joab pacified the excessive trade-caravan banditry in Padan-Aram, in two brutal campaigns, this allowed overland mule caravans from the Euphrates to increase, enriching the local economy at least fourfold through tolls and increased trade with Egypt and Babylonia. David controlled a trade empire similar to Hammurabi's. Today, 3,000 years later, Phoenicia is Lebanon and much of chaotic Padan-Aram, chaotic Syria. In 99% of this period, nobody ever heard of an Arab Palestinian hamlet, let alone person, until Yasser Arafat began making unsubstantiated claims of owning part and then all of the Jewish homeland, and cashing in on it. Making believe there was no Hebrew Bible detailing a 1,000-year king list, better recorded than Egypt’s, that had become foundational for Eurocentric Christendom.
Archaeology of Jerusalem is virtually impossible. But finds have been made, and writings preserved.

(Recent archeology in the area suggests a small population. This defies historic references in cuneiform tablets over some 500 years to Salem, Urusalem, Jebus. The questions of population and events during the 500-year timetable remain open.)

By request of core hilltop councils in lower Canaan, c 1020 BCE, King David conquered the city/province of Jebus (aka Zion for its landmark mount nearby). A tax revolt against brief Philistine overlordship. He renamed it Yarushalim. This key city/province joined two sprawling harmonious neighbors: the Armenoid Hurrian Gibeonites and the Tribe of Judah. (Both in place by c 1750 BCE. At least 1 Hurrian clan, Hur, joined the clans of Judah.)

The small walled city of Jebus was built into a mountainside. With little ground water, most citizens lived outside the walled city. “Jebusites” was their local regional name (like New Yorkers). “Canaanites” was their countrywide regional name (like Americans). Western Semitic-speaking people dominated the entire Levant, for 4-5 millennia, with a minority of industrious Akkadians (advanced Eastern Semites) blending in along the north. Map is one of several found in my panoramic 4-volume epic-novel E-book series on King David.

David was born at har Homa. It is today part of modern Jerusalem. Mt Zion and Mt Moriah not shown on this uncluttered map. You can see how close Gibeah, the capital of Gibeon, is to har Homa in Judah.

Our mission is to promote cutting-edge research in Jewish Studies, to help our students learn about the Jewish people while developing their intellectual abilities and to enhance the understanding of Jewish culture among the larger public.

One of the largest, oldest and most vibrant programs of its kind, the Borns Jewish Studies Program at Indiana University is committed to fostering leadership skills, civic responsibility, and academic achievement through rigorous interdisciplinary study of the Jewish people and civilization. Our distinguished faculty, talented students, outstanding staff, accomplished alumni, and supportive community work together to ensure the best possible experience for our students.

Operating as usual

Photos from The Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies Program's post 04/21/2021

Join your fellow Jewish Studies alumni on this special IU Day of Giving

Help us achieve our Jewish Studies alumni giving goal for this IU Day!

The Borns Jewish Studies Program has been blessed to have donors who have given generously to the program. Without their generosity, we would not have been able to provide the level of scholarships and support that we have. But out-of-state tuition now exceeds $51,000 annually, and we can no longer award enough funding; many high school seniors who want to be IU Jewish Studies majors can no longer afford to study with us.

Now, JSP alumni, it’s your turn to ensure that Jewish Studies at Indiana University continues to lead the way as a premier Jewish Studies program. Show your appreciation for your IU Jewish Studies education. Please give back. Guarantee that the program can continue to educate and nurture future generations of leaders for Jewish communities and beyond.

Give Now at


PhD candidate Sean Sidky just published an article entitled “Chaim Potok and the Holocaust” in Studies in American Jewish Literature - available here:

PhD candidate Sean Sidky just published an article entitled “Chaim Potok and the Holocaust” in Studies in American Jewish Literature - available here:


BJSP adjunct Professor Halina Goldberg discusses the contribution of Polish Jews to the field of music.

🎶 🎻 W powszechnym mniemaniu na temat tworzenia muzyki przez Żydów na ziemiach polskich, żydowskie i nieżydowskie przestrzenie muzyczne były od siebie oddzielone, a każda z grup była powiązana z różnymi pejzażami dźwiękowymi. Jednakże archiwalia ukazują, że istniało wiele możliwości kooperacji między nimi.

👉14 marca o godz. 20.00 zapraszamy na wykład #online Shared Soundscapes: The Legacy of Polish Jews in Music prof. Haliny Goldberg, która opowie o muzycznym dziedzictwie Żydów polskich, przez pryzmat okoliczności, które umożliwiały żydowskim i chrześcijańskim muzykom wspólne tworzenie – uczenie się od siebie, dzielenie się repertuarem i językami muzycznymi.

🎶W trakcie wykładu będą prezentowane fragmenty nowoodkrytych utworów muzycznych stworzonych przez Żydów polskich.

👉Wykład w j. angielskim na kanale Muzeum POLIN na YouTube:

Seria "Distinguished Lectures" w 2021 towarzyszy otwarciu programu #online poświęconego galerii #Dziedzictwo – nowej części wystawy stałej Muzeum POLIN.


This Friday, January 29th -- Stop by our zoom room between 4-5pm to say hello to the JSSA officers and all of your Jewish studies friends. Play a mixer or two, and hear about all of the exciting JSSA happenings in the spring semester!
Register here:
Contact: Levi Gettleman ([email protected])

This Friday, January 29th -- Stop by our zoom room between 4-5pm to say hello to the JSSA officers and all of your Jewish studies friends. Play a mixer or two, and hear about all of the exciting JSSA happenings in the spring semester!
Register here:
Contact: Levi Gettleman ([email protected])


IU undergraduate Jewish Studies experience

Hear from a student about the IU undergraduate Jewish Studies experience 12/17/2020

Course Description: Undergraduate Students - Borns Jewish Studies Program

Newly added intensive writing class being offered this spring with Prof Stephen Katz - JSTU-L 380 Modern Hebrew Literature in English. See the course description here One of the largest, oldest and most vibrant Jewish Studies programs in the United States


Want to study in Israel in 2021? The IU Borns Jewish Studies Program can help make that happen. Apply for BJSP Presidential Scholarships


Read the 2020 BJSP Magazine online.


Take a Jewish Studies Class! Check out the schedule and course descriptions for Spring '21 online:


High school seniors and current gap year students - planning to major in Jewish Studies? Check out generous scholarships available from IU's Borns JSP. More info


Generous fellowships are available to incoming graduate students for the 2021-22 academic year. See for more info


Yotam Fisher-Pinsker (in English) and Max Ryan (in Hebrew) are winners of the 2020 Henry A. Bern Memorial Essay Competition. Read the winning essays here:


Want to chance to win $500? Submit your paper to the Henry A. Bern Memorial Essay Competition. Deadline to submit is May 20.


Take a Jewish Studies course this fall semester! Introduction to Jewish History: From the Bible to Spanish Expulsion


Undergrads looking for a great course for fall 2020 - Check out JSTU-J 303 "Jews in the Media: The Production & Experience of a Minority" with Prof Irit Dekel


Take a JS Studies course this fall! Check out JSTU-J203 "The Bible and Empire" with Professor Carlson Hasler 03/18/2020

Jewish Studies Undergraduate Courses: Undergraduate Students - Borns Jewish Studies Program

Continuing student registration for fall semester 2020
begins April 6. Undergrads can see the JS schedule of classes here:

Graduate level courses are here: One of the largest, oldest and most vibrant Jewish Studies programs in the United States


First Congregation Sons of Israel


Join us for Anti-Semitism: New Unease in Europe and the U.S. presented by Professor Günther Jikeli from the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism/The Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies Program at Indiana University.

He will explain the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe and the U.S. This program is made possible through the Dr. Larry and Kathy Kanter Fund for Jewish Preservation.

This free event is in partnership with Compassionate St. Augustine and will take place on Monday, March 16th at 7:00 p.m. at First Congregation Sons of Israel 161 Cordova Street.

[03/04/20]   Mazel Tov to Claire Bergen, the winner of the 2020 George and Monique Stolnitz Yiddish Prize!


We were so happy to welcome Lindsey back to campus today to present to our faculty-graduate student workshop group!


The next speaker in our faculty-graduate workshop series is our own Lindsey Pullum-Foulks. Lindsey will discuss "Waterfalls, Goats, and Bombs: An Ethno-Acoustic Analysis of the Occupied Golan Heights."


Undergrads looking for an 8W2 course - check out JSTU-J 303 The Jewish Underworld


The JSSA is hosting brunch this Sun, Feb 23 for current JS majors, certificate, minor and Hebrew minor students. Contact [email protected] for details.


Want to study in Israel? The BJSP can help make that happen! Check out scholarship info for study in Israel for the fall 2020 or academic year 2020-21


Raise the Roof - 2/26 @ 7 pm Join us for the film detailing the pursuit to reconstruct the elaborate roof and painted ceiling of the Gwozdziec synagogue.


The JSGSA was pleased to host Mara Benjamin as the keynote speaker for the 2020 conference on "Kinship and Community in the Jewish World." Thank you to all the presenters and respondents.


The 2020 Henry A. Bern Memorial Essay Competition
English Essay Prize: $500
Hebrew Essay Prize (in Hebrew): $250
Deadline to submit: May 20, 2020


Our next workshop for faculty and graduate students will feature a book launch of Laura Carlson Hasler's new "Archival Historiography in Jewish Antiquity."


Scholarships for the 20-21 academic year are available for continuing JS major, Jewish sacred music, certificate, minor, and Hebrew minor students. Deadline to apply is Feb 21.


Today at 3 pm in BH 332 - Roy Holler will present a mock job talk on the topic of Dahn Ben-Amotz and Israeli literary identity politics.

Hi! I am having a mock job talk this afternoon and would love to try it out on the Jewish Studies crowd. The talk is scheduled to begin at 3:00 pm in Ballantine 332. I'll be lecturing on Dahn Ben-Amotz and Israeli literary identity politics for about 40 minutes, with 20 minutes of Q&A to follow.

I hope to see you there, and feel free to invite others!


Prof Mara Benjamin speaks on "Wondrous Kin" on Thu, Feb 6 @ 7:30 pm in the IMU Dogwood Room. Kinship grounded purely in an ethic of commonality can no longer serve Jews or other earthlings. Informed by a Jewish and gender lens, this talk will imagine a model of relation that includes both alterity and identity.


Join us on Tue, Feb 4 for a brownbag talk with Prof Michael Weinman, incoming CMLT faculty member fall 2020. Michael will discuss "Hannah Arendt and the Three Antinomies of Liberal Political Theology." 12 noon in GISB 1060.


Our next faculty-grad student workshop features a book launch of Prof Mark Roseman's new LIVES RECLAIMED: A STORY OF RESCUE AND RESISTANCE IN NAZI GERMANY


Join us today at noon in GISB 1060 for a discussion of the recent publication of the translation of Elie Wiesel’s NIGHT into Tibetan. This program is an occasion to honor the late Prof. Elliot Sperling (January 4, 1951 – January 29, 2017) and his commitment to the study of Tibetan language and literary traditions and to Jewish history and memory.

Videos (show all)

IU undergraduate Jewish Studies experience
Outstanding senior scholarship in honor of Dr. Carolyn Lipson-Walker





Global & International Studies Building, Rm 4023
Bloomington, IN

General information

The Indiana University Borns JSP offers an intimate learning environment nestled within a major research university. Our diverse student body is able to take advantage of the manifold resources IU offers in terms of global and international studies, languages, culture and the arts, academic excellence, technology, athletics, and campus life while benefitting from the type of personal attention normally associated with small liberal arts colleges. Students engage in a wide array of extracurricular activities sponsored by the program and the Jewish Studies Student Association, including film screenings, distinguished lectures, a weekly Hebrew table, and social gatherings.

Opening Hours

Monday 13:00 - 17:00
Monday 08:00 - 12:00
Tuesday 13:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 08:00 - 12:00
Wednesday 13:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 08:00 - 12:00
Thursday 13:00 - 17:00
Thursday 08:00 - 12:00
Friday 13:00 - 17:00
Friday 08:00 - 12:00
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