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We're pleased to invite you to join us for an online seminar 

Seminar in Jewish Studies - Yom Limmud - 'Book of Esther - Purim'

Exploring Jewish philosophy, history, law, hermeneutics and mysticism in the context of the Book of Esther and the holiday of Purim.

Sunday, 21 Feb, 2pm-5pm 


2pm Dr. Zohar Atkins,  Shalom Hartman Institute of North America

Zohar Atkins is a poet and theologian, based in New York. He earned a DPhil in Theology from Balliol College, Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and a BA and MA from Brown. He is the author of An Ethical and Theological Appropriation of Heidegger’s Critique of Modernity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). His poetry won an Eric Gregory Award in 2018. Other poems have appeared in New Poetries VIIBlackbox ManifoldThe Glasgow Review of BooksPN ReviewThe LehrhausTYPO, and elsewhere. Atkins is the founder of Etz Hasadeh, a Center for Existential Torah Study, and a David Hartman Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America.

2.15pm Rabbi Eli Brackman, Oxford University Chabad Society

'Rashi on Esther in the supercommentary of Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson' 

2.30pm  Brian Deutsch, Oxford

'The personalities in the story of Purim' 

Brian Deutsch is an Oxford scholar with expertise in Hebrew manuscripts. He served as an assistant cataloguer of the Hebrew collection at Christ Church, Oxford.

2.45pm Professor Hindy Najman, University of Oxford 

'Writing in the Book of Esther'

Hindy Najman is the Oriel and Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture at Oriel College, University of Oxford. Her publications include Losing the Temple and Recovering the Future: An Analysis of 4 Ezra, Past Renewals: Interpretive Authority, Renewed Revelation and the Quest for Perfection, Seconding Sinai: The Development of Mosaic Discourse in Second Temple Judaism, and a recent essay entitled “Ethical Reading: The Transformation of Text and Self.” She is currently working on a new book entitled: Reading Practices and the Vitality of Scripture (Oxford University Press).  

3pm Professor Adele Berlin, University of Maryland

'Book of Esther as Comedy'

Adele Berlin is Professor Emerita of Biblical Studies at the University of Maryland. Central to her work as a biblical scholar is how the Bible has been interpreted, in ancient and in modern times, especially in Jewish communities. Much of that interest is apparent in The Jewish Study Bible, now in its second edition, which she co-edited with Marc Zvi Brettler. She has written several commentaries of her own, including one on the book of Esther, published in English by the Jewish Publication Society and in Hebrew in the Miqra le-yisrael series. She is now at work on a commentary on Song of Songs. In addition, Berlin has written extensively about biblical narrative and poetry. Most recently, she served as co-editer, with Jeffrey H. Tigay, of the just-published The Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization, Volume 1: Ancient Israel, from Its Beginnings through 332 BCE

3.15pm Dr. Christophe Stener, Université Catholique de l'Ouest

'The book of Esther: a religious and political exegesis by pictures'

Christophe Stener graduated from Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris and Ecole Nationale d'Administration. He is a fellow at the Université Catholique de l'Ouest (France) and author of 'The Book of Esther: An Exegesis in Pictures' and 'Dreyfus, le Judas français: Iconographie antisémite de l'Affaire.'

3.30pm Dr. Naftali Loewenthal, University College London

'Reaching for the Infinite, exploring a Purim Discourse  by Rabbi Dov Ber of Lubavitch (1773-1827)'

Naftali Loewenthal lectures in Jewish Spirituality at University College London’s Department of Hebrew & Jewish Studies. He is author of Communicating the Infinite: the Emergence of the Habad School (Chicago, 1990) and his most recent book is Hasidism beyond Modernity, Studies in Habad Thought and History (Littmann Library).

3.45pm Dr. Ros Abramsky, Oxford

'Another prince, another p(a)lace: justified misbehaviour?'

Ros Abramsky is an Oxford researcher who studied Crystallography at Birkbeck, where she taught Science Communication, as well as at Imperial College. She completed her PhD in Information Science from Loughborough University.

4pm Avi Blumgart, University of Oxford

Avi is an undergraduate student at St John's College, Oxford 

4.15pm Professor Jon Levenson, Harvard University

'Is G‑d mentioned in the Megillah?' 

Jon D. Levenson, Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies, began teaching at Harvard in 1988, having previously taught at the University of Chicago and at Wellesley College. His book Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel: The Ultimate Victory of the God of Life (Yale University Press, 2006) won a National Jewish Book Award and the Biblical Archaeology Society Publication Award in the category of Best Book Relating to the Hebrew Bible published in 2005 or 2006. Choice, a publication of the American Library Association, listed Inheriting Abraham: The Legacy of the Patriarch in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Princeton University Press, 2012) as one of the Outstanding Academic Titles for 2013. His latest book is The Love of God: Divine Gift, Human Gratitude, and Mutual Faithfulness in Judaism (Princeton University Press, 2016).4.30pm

4.30pm Meir Wachs, Oxford

'Purim or Yom Kippurim?'

Meir Wachs is a former Pershing Square Scholar at the Faculty of Theology and the Said Business School, University of Oxford 

4.45pm Dr. Israel Sandman, University College London

'Moses, Mordecai, and the Rebbe: Leadership Under Different Circumstances' 

Israel Sandman is a Fellow at the Hebrew & Jewish Studies Department at University College London and an expert on medieval Jewish philosophy and manuscripts.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 873 3153 5567

Passcode: 462799

Participants are welcome to attend all or any part of the programme.

info: [email protected]

All are welcome!