Author: Bhupender Singh

The First Annual UConn Latkes vs Hamentashen Debate

The debate of the ages came to UConn! Watch professors and academics use their area of expertise to argue for the Latke or the Hamentash. For centuries, these two Jewish foods have satisfied the masses, the Latke on Hanukkah, and the Hamentash on Purim. It’s about time that someone settles once and for all which is the better food.

FEATURING for the LATKE: President Susan Herbst, Professor Lewis Gordon, Africana Studies and Philosophy

FEATURING for the HAMENTASHEN: Professor Jeremy Pressman, Political Science Professor Jeffrey Shoulson, Judaic Studies.


The Eternal and Unending Debate: Latkes vs. Hamenta


The “Latkes vs. Hamentashen” debate, a decade old pseudo-intellectual competition, came to the University of Connecticut for the first time and proved to be a major success, with debaters drawing laughs from both attendees and the colleagues they were debating. The event, organized at UConn by SuBog and UConn Hillel, was first held at the University of Chicago in 1946, and was intended to not only unify Jewish members of the student body and faculty, but also to poke fun at academia by having extremely overqualified participants argue the merits of two popular Jewish foods.

The Early Evolution of Christian Philanthropy


The use of religious gifts by the state to promote social order in the Byzantine Era laid the foundation for many modern charitable practices, according to Daniel Caner, associate professor of history and literatures, cultures, and languages. Caner delves into the details of philanthropy in this early Christian society in his latest book project, The Rich and the Pure: Christian Gifts and Religious Society in Early Byzantium. The project recently earned the support of a yearlong fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities – one of only 89 awarded in 2014 – which recognizes individuals pursuing advanced research that is of value to both humanities scholars and general audiences. To read the complete article, click here.

UConn professor brings insight to contemporary Jewish life


Professor Jeffrey Shoulson, Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at UConn, talked over lunch Wednesday afternoon with an attentive handful of honors students about several aspects of contemporary Jewish life, both in general and at UConn. Shoulson, a professor in the department of Literatures, Cultures and Languages as well as the department of English, came to UConn two-and-a-half years ago from the University of Miami, and saw an “opportunity to do something new and build on some new momentum” with the Judaic Studies program.

With an endowment from developer Simon Konover and an investment from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Judaic Studies program began to grow as new faculty were hired. The program currently offers a minor in Judaic Studies and is in the process of having a major approved, as faculty members with different specialties continue to devise courses.

Shoulson praised the strength among his colleagues’ expertise with different time periods, pointing out his own specialty in the influence of Judaism and rabbinic literature on 17th-century English culture. He emphasized the fascination that different religions have long had with each other, stating that it is impossible to consider any religion in isolation.

“Judaism is what it is because…it developed within a large array of religious and cultural traditions,” Shoulson said. “They don’t exist in vacuums.” In response to students’ questions, Shoulson spent several minutes connecting contemporary issues faced by the American Jewish community to issues facing the State of Israel. “Nothing is simple when it comes to Israel,” Shoulson said.

Stanley L. Nash, Professor Emeritus, Honors Libraries with Gift of Books on Hebrew and Israeli Literature – Fall 2014

Professor Nash retired from teaching at Hebrew Union College in 2012, but he will continue to shape the insights of students and researchers, only now here at UConn through the donation of more than 1,000 books from his own collection to Homer Babbidge Library

“It is my hope that more students will specialize in modern Hebrew and reach a level where they can delve into the riches of the modern Hebrew  Renaissance (1880-1920), the Second Aliyah (1904-1913), The Third Aliyah (1919-1930s), The Palmach Generation (1940s and 1950s), and the modern period,” Nash said in commenting on his gift. “There is an intellectual dynamism peculiar to the academic and literary language in the original Hebrew that  simply cannot be translated.”

Read the full article here.

Jeremy Pressman Presented at UConn

Jeremy Pressman Jersualem Light Rail Lecture

By: Molly Miller, Staff Writer at UConn Daily Campus

In his preliminary research on the Jerusalem Light Rail, presented at UConn on Wednesday, Director of Middle East Studies Jeremy Pressman argued that whether Palestinians are choosing to ride the Israeli-run transit system or throw rocks at it, all are engaged in opposing geopolitical realities of living in Israel.Development on the Light Rail, which opened in 2011, began in November of 2000 when a Palestinian uprising was underway, making many investors reluctant to become involved in the project.

New Course Offering – Spring 2015

New Course – Spring 2015 – Special Offering…Christian and Jewish Art in the Holy Land in Late Antiquity.  ARTH 3955 cross-listed with HEJS 3295 / CAMS 3295 / CLCS 3201Explores the creation of Christian Holy Land during the early Byzantine period as a religious and spiritual center.  Examine the complexity of interconnections between Christians, Jews, and Pagans as revealed from their artistic heritage.  And discover the importance of material evidence in reconstructing reality. Taught by Emma Maayan Faanar, an International Scholar that is visiting UConn for the academic year, from University of Haifa.  Truly a unique experience.TuTh 11am-12:15pm.Register today!