Samuel & Althea Stroum Lectures in Jewish Studies

History of the Stroum Lectures

It has been over 30 years since Murray Shiff, then Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, and Edward Alexander, chair of the Jewish Studies Committee at the UW, got an idea that was quite ambitious for a relatively small and isolated Jewish community: to bring to the UW each year an internationally-known Jewish studies scholar for a series of lectures – lectures that would reach not only the Seattle community but, through publication, a nationwide audience as well.

Shiff asked one person after another for the financial resources needed. One after another, they turned him down – until he talked with Sam Stroum, who proved willing to add support for what became the Samuel & Althea Stroum Lectureship in Jewish Studies to the very long list of worthy causes to which he was already committed. The lectures have put the Jewish Studies Program, the UW, and Seattle on the Jewish Studies “map” worldwide.

With the Stroum’s support, The University of Washington Press has published over 16 books based on the lectures; the books have collectively sold tens of thousands of copies. Several have won national book awards, and many are used in university courses around the country. To learn more about the series, visit the UW Press website.

Past Stroum Lectures

Since 2000, the Stroum lectures have been recorded and can be viewed at any time on streaming video. Click on a link to watch a specific series; then click on one of the  lectures in that series.

Quick Links:

2012- Behind a Best Seller: Kabbalah, Science, and Loving One’s Neighbor in Pinhas Hurwitz’s Sefer ha-Brit, David Ruderman
2012- The Emerging Identities of Younger American Jews, Stephen Cohen
2011- Revivals and Awakenings in American Judaism, Jonathan Sarna

2010- Agnon’s Moonstruck Lovers: The Song of Songs in Israeli Culture, Ilana Pardes
2009- Encounters with the Past: Remembering the ‘Bygone’ in Israeli Culture, Yael Zerubavel
2008- Biblical Politics, Michael Walzer
2006, Fall- Creation, Revelation & Redemption: The Religion of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Lawrence H. Schiffman
2006, Spring- Speaking in Tongues: Translating Yiddish in the 20th Century, Anita Norich
2005- Sephardi Jewries and the Holocaust, Aron Rodrigue
2004- Find Yourself a Teacher: The Mentor/Disciple Relation in Classical Jewish Thought and Contemporary Practice, Susan Handelman
2003- Jewish Renewal in the American Spiritual Marketplace, Chava Weissler
2002- In the Culture of the Rabbis, Michael Stanislawski
2001- Cultural Disjunctions and Modern Jewish Identity, Paul Mendes-Flohr
2000- Studying the Jewish Future, Calvin Goldscheider

2012, Fall

Professor David Ruderman, University of Pennsylvania

“Behind a Best Seller:
Kabbalah, Science, and Loving One’s Neighbor in Pinhas Hurwitz’s Sefer ha-Brit

Oct 22& 24, 2012

October 22
“A Remarkable Modern Jewish Book and its Entrepreneurial Author”

October 24
“Who Were the Readers of Sefer ha-Brit and Why Did They Read it?”

2012, Spring

Professor Steven M. Cohen, Hebrew Union College

“The Emerging Identities of Younger American Jews”

April 23 & 25, 2012

April 23
“Devotion, Distancing and Disloyalty: The Diversity and Complexity of American Jews’ Relationships with Israel Today”

April 25
“Jews in the Borderland: The Complicated, Fluid, and Episodic Nature of Jewish Identity Today”

2011

Professor Jonathan Sarna, Brandeis University

“Revivals and Awakenings in American Judaism”

May 9 & 11, 2011

May 9
“The Shaping of American Judaism”- includes a special tribute to Althea Stroum

May 11
“The Reshaping of American Judaism”

2010

Professor Ilana Pardes, Hebrew University, Jerusalem

“Agnon’s Moonstruck Lovers: the Song of Songs in Israeli Culture”

April 25 & 27, 2010

These lectures are available as audio recordings

April 25
“‘Upon the Handles of the Lock’: Agnon, Balak and the Israeli Bible”

April 27
“Agnon’s Ethnographies of Love and the Quest for the Ultimate Song”

2009

Professor Yael Zerubavel, Rutgers University

“Encounters with the Past: Remembering the ‘Bygone’ in Israeli Culture”

May 17, 19 & 21, 2009

May 17th
“Part 1, Bridges to Antiquity”

May 19th
“Part 2, Mirrors of Galut (Exile) in the Homeland”

May 21st
“Part 3, When the New Becomes Old”

View Invitation

2008

Professor Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

“Biblical Politics”

Part 1
“Where Were the Elders?“

Part 2
“Prophecy and Criticism“

 Part 3
“The Meaning of Kingship“

2006, Fall

Professor Lawrence H. Schiffman, New York University

“Creation, Revelation & Redemption: The Religion of the Dead Sea Scrolls”

Part 1
“God, Humanity and the Universe in the Dead Sea Scrolls“

Part 2
“Scripture, Law and Life in the Dead Sea Scrolls“

Part 3
“Apocalyptics, Messiahs and the End of Days“

2006, Spring

Professor Anita Norich, University of Michigan

“Speaking in Tongues: Translating Yiddish in the 20th Century”

Part 1
“How Tevye Learned to Fiddle“

Part 2
“Remembering the Past in Yiddish“

Part 3
“Becoming American: Yiddish in the Golden Land“

2005

Professor Aron Rodrigue, Stanford University

“Sephardi Jewries and the Holocaust”

Part 1
“The Holocaust and the End of Judeo-Spanish Culture in the Balkans”

Part 2
“Rhodes: The Island of Memory“

Part 3
“North African Jewry and the Trauma of WWII“

2004

Professor Susan Handelman, Bar-Ilan University, Tel Aviv

“Find Yourself a Teacher: The Mentor/Disciple Relation in Classical Jewish Thought and Contemporary Practice”

Part 1
“Teacher-Student Reciprocity“

Part 2
“Teachers and Study Partners“

Part 3:
“Becoming a Living Book“

2003

Professor Chava Weissler, Lehigh University

“Jewish Renewal in the American Spiritual Marketplace”

Part 1
“Jewish Renewal in America“

Part 2
“Four Worlds and Kabbalah“

Part 3
“Gender and Jewish Renewal“

2002

Professor Michael Stanislawski, Columbia University

“In the Culture of the Rabbis”

Part 1
“Asher of Reichshofen and Glikl of Hameln”

Part 2
“Two Russian Jews: Moshe Leib Lilienblum and Osip Mandelstam”

Part 3
“Autobiography as Farewell: Stephan Zweig and Sarah Kofman”

2001

Professor Paul Mendes-Flohr, Hebrew University, Jerusalem

“Cultural Disjunctions and Modern Jewish Identity”

Part 1
Cultural Disjunctions and Modern Jewish Identity

Part 2
Jewish Cultural Memory: Its Multiple Configurations

Part 3
Jewish Learning, Jewish Hope

2000

Professor Calvin Goldscheider, Brown University

“Studying the Jewish Future”

Part 1
Centrality of Jewish Values in Shaping the Jewish Future

Part 2
The Future of Contemporary Jewish Communities: Israel, America and Europe

Part 3
Secularism, Religion, Ethnicity and Assimilation