“When Jews Argue: Between the University and the Beit Midrash” Book Panel

Friday, March 22nd 2024, 10:00am to 11:30am
Dwinelle Hall, 370 Dwinelle Hall Berkeley, CA

When Jews Argue: Between the University and the Beit Midrash 

Book Panel


Registration Link

Please join us for a special book panel that will focus on a new volume of work, When Jews Argue: Between the University and the Beit Midrash, by UC Berkeley Professor and CJS Faculty Director Ethan Katz.

Joining Professor Katz on the panel will be the book’s co-editors Elisha Anscelovits (Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies) and Sergey Dolgopolski (University of Buffalo); as well as Professors Deena Aranoff (Graduate Theological Union), Duncan MacRae (UC Berkeley), and Masua Sagiv (UC Berkeley).

As panelists will discuss, this book raises fundamental questions about the academic and traditional study of Jews and Judaism. The book re-thinks the relationship between the world of the traditional Jewish study hall (the Beit Midrash) and the academy: Can these two institutions overcome their vast differences? Should they attempt to do so? If not, what could two methods of study seen as diametrically opposed possibly learn from one another? How might they help each other reconceive their interrelationship, themselves, and the broader study of Jews and Judaism? This book begins with three distinct approaches to these challenges, which the editors call, respectively, expanding the canon, warm conversations, and defining our disagreements. Katz, Dolgopolski, and Ancselovits will present the book briefly, followed by critical commentary from Professors MacRae, Sagiv, and Aranoff.

Panelists will discuss and critique how the book follows the editors’ three approaches through an interdisciplinary series of pioneering case studies that reassess a range of topics including religion and pluralism in Jewish education; pain, sexual consent, and ethics in the Talmud; the place of reason and devotion among Jewish thinkers as diverse as Moses Mendelssohn, Jacob Taubes, Sarah Schenirer, Ibn Chiquitilla, Yair Ḥayim Bacharach, and the Rav Shagar; and Jewish law as a response to the post-Holocaust landscape. The authors and panelists are scholars of rabbinics, history, philosophy, law, Jews and gender, and medieval and ancient Judaism.

For more information, please visit the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion website.


Co-presented by the Berkeley Center for Jewish Studies and the Graduate Theological Union Center for Jewish Studies. Co-sponsored by the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion.