Faculty News

Cohen Match Challenge

Sundown Cohen Match

Robert Cohen ’67 (CLAS) and Barbara Cohen ’67 (CLAS) have launched a matching gift challenge in support of the Fund for the Enhancement of Judaic Studies, which supports programming in our Center. Any gifts made to this fund between now and December 31, 2023, will be matched by the Cohens, up to $25,000. This gift is the latest in the Cohens’ legacy of support for UConn’s Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life. The Cohen and Henes Scholarship Fund for Judaic Studies benefits undergraduate and graduate students who pursue a course of study in Judaic Studies. Beyond supporting scholarships, the Cohens also established the Fund for the Enhancement of Judaic Studies, thereby creating another means for anyone interested in supporting Judaic Studies at UConn—at any level of giving—to follow their generous example and support this important work.

Click here to contribute to the matching gift challenge in support of the Fund for the Enhancement of Judaic Studies.

Welcome, Professor Yonatan “Yoni” Miller!

Yoni Miller headshot

Yonatan “Yoni” Miller joins us from the University of Toledo in Northwest Ohio, where he was most recently the Philip Markowicz Endowed Assistant Professor of Judaism and Jewish Biblical Studies and the director of the Center for Religious Understanding.

Originally from Teaneck, New Jersey, Yoni earned his BA from Yeshiva University, summa cum laude, in Judaic Studies. He spent two years as a visiting graduate student at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and went on to complete both an MA and PhD in Ancient Judaism at Harvard University under the tutelage of Professor Shaye J.D. Cohen. After the completion of his PhD, he held a Harry Starr fellowship at Harvard’s Center for Jewish Studies.

Yoni’s research and teaching interests span from the Hebrew Bible through the Cairo Geniza. He is interested broadly in the first millennium of Jewish biblical interpretation, with specific interests in post-destruction literature on the Israelite priesthood as well as the history of the modern study of ancient Judaism.

Recently his translation of Mishnah Yoma was published in the Oxford Annotated Mishnah and he has an article forthcoming in the Harvard Theological Review. He is currently working on a monograph entitled Rewriting Priestly Authority in Late Antiquity. Along with Yale Divinity School’s Jacqueline Vayntrub, he is also co-editing a book entitled The Motif in Biblical Literature: Contours, Critiques, and New Horizons, which will be published with T&T Clark (Bloomsbury).

Yoni is excited to return to his family roots in the Hartford area, the birthplace of his late grandmother Ruth, and the home of his great-great grandparents and great-grandparents in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Yoni is joined by his wife Rebecca Keys, their two children, Tair and Yadin, and their two pugs, Kishke and Farfel-Kugel.

Yoni Miller will be joining the Hebrew and Judaic Studies Faculty as Assistant Professor Hebrew and Judaic Studies beginning in Fall 2023.

Stuart Miller, “Face of HEJS at UConn,” Retires After 40 Years

Miller Retirement Social PostDr. Stuart Miller, “the face of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at UConn,” retires after 40 years
In his 40 years as professor of Hebrew, History and Judaic Studies at the University of Connecticut, Dr. Stuart Miller has shared his knowledge of rabbinic Judaism and Greco-Roman Palestine with thousands of students and mentored numerous graduate students. He served as academic director of the UConn Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Life, helping to build the program that exists today.

Read the Southern New England Jewish Ledger article about Professor Miller's retirement.

Stuart Miller Elected to American Academy of Jewish Research

Professor Miller was recently elected to the AAJR (American Academy of Jewish Research). Stuart's scholarship is widely recognized for its path-breaking contributions to the study of Greco-Roman Palestine and Rabbinic Judaism. During his four decades of service, he has been a devoted teacher to literally thousands of UConn students. Stuart was interviewed on the UConn 360 podcast this month, as he reflected on his years in Storrs and beyond. You can listen to the podcast here.In Spring 2023, we will host a scholarly symposium at UConn to celebrate Stuart’s many accomplishments with former colleagues and students.

His book publications include Studies in the History and Traditions of Sepphoris (E. J. Brill, 1984), Sages and Commoners in Late Antique ’Erez Israel: A Philological Inquiry into Local Traditions in Talmud Yerushalmi (Mohr-Siebeck, 2006), and At the Intersection of Texts and Material Finds: Stepped Pools, Stone Vessels, and Ritual Purity among the Jews of Roman Galilee, which appeared in 2015 in the Journal of Ancient Judaism Supplement Series (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht).

For more please visit: http://aajr.org/aajr-history/

Susan Einbinder Elected to American Academy of Jewish Research


Susan Einbinder 300x300Professor Susan Einbinder was recently elected to the AAJR (American Academy of Jewish Research). Susan's scholarship on medieval Jewish and European history and culture is widely recognized for its path-breaking contributions to the study of Jewish-Christian and Jewish-Muslim relations in the medieval period. Over the last two years, her scholarship on the Black Death and religious responses to pandemic and plague has attracted global interest and attention. Susan's newest book, Writing Plague: Jewish Responses to the Great Italian Plague, will be published by the University of Pennsylvania Press later this year. She has been the recipient of many prestigious awards and fellowships, including a Guggenheim, a fellowship from the Center for Advanced Studies at Princeton, and the National Humanities Center. 

For more please visit: http://aajr.org/aajr-history/

Director Avinoam Patt featured on WNPR

Have a listen: Our director Prof. Avinoam Patt was featured today on the WNPR radio show "Where We Live," hosted by Lucy Nalpathanchil, talking about Holocaust analogies among anti-vaccine politicians.

The episode can be found here: https://www.ctpublic.org/show/where-we-live/2021-10-18/some-politicians-are-using-holocaust-analogies-as-anti-vaccine-rhetoric

Prof. Patt's article on the same topic in the Washington Post from June 19th can be found here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2021/06/19/holocaust-education-museum-greene/ 

Dr. Sarah Willen Receives Award for Best Book in Israel Studies

Sarah S Willen

Congratulations to Associate Professor Sarah Willen whose book Fighting For Dignity: Migrant Lives at Israel’s Margins is the winner of the Association for Israel Studies Yonathan Shapiro Award for Best Book in Israel Studies published in 2019.

From the Association of Israel Studies:

The Association for Israel Studies annually awards the Shapiro Prize for the best book in Israel Studies published during the last calendar year. This award honors the memory of Yonathan Shapiro (1929-1997), one of Israel's most distinguished and influential sociologists. The award pays tribute to outstanding scholarship in the history, politics, society, law, economics, state, and culture of Israel and also the pre-1948 Jewish community in Palestine.

Willen's book provides a first-rate ethnographic account of migrant lives in Israel and the consequences of the Israeli state’s deportation policy that devastated Tel Aviv’s migrant communities and, in the process, violated the migrants’ human rights and human dignity. The book draws on more than twenty years of direct observation and engagement with migrants as well as Israeli activists. It makes a major contribution to the field of Israel Studies by combining scholarship of the highest standard with an argument that is both urgent and essential, reminding us of the importance of tolerance and understanding as fundamental values of the Jewish state and Israeli society.


Faculty Book Release | Americans Abroad: A Comparative Study of Emigrants from the United States by Arnold Dashefsky

Arnold DashefskyFounding Center Director Professor Emeritus Arnold Dashefsky has recently published a new edition of Americans Abroad: A Comparative Study of Emigrants from the United States (Springer 2020). The book is co-authored by Karen A. Woodrow-Lafield and includes a new introduction as well as four new chapters with a Foreword by Steven J. Gold and Postscripts provided by David J. Graham and Chaim I. Waxman. Originally published in 1992 by Plenum Press, the first edition of Americans Abroad was co-authored by Arnold Dashefsky, Jan DeAmicis, the late Bernard Lazerwitz (z”l), and Ephraim Tabory. 

About the Book

Dashefsky Americans Abroad 2020Since the publication of Americans Abroad in 1992, the study of emigration has advanced considerably. Since the United States in particular receives such a high volume of immigrants, its emigrant population is less-frequently studied. International migration continues to increase, with now over 200 million people worldwide living as emigrants from their birth country for the purposes of work, family integration, improved living situations, or human rights.

Utilizing the same social psychological approach that made the first edition so successful, the authors examine the motivation, adjustment issues and return migration of American emigrants. The analysis of these comparative experiences reveal core elements of American culture.

Learn more on the publisher's website.



Local Synagogues Provide Online Programming

Several UConn Judaic Studies affiliated faculty members will be providing classes for local synagogues organizing online programs. You can find their full schedule below!

Beth David Synagogue, Beth El Temple, Temple Beth Hillel, Congregation Beth Israel, Temple Beth Torah, Congregation B'nai Tikvoh Sholom, The Emanuel Synagogue, Congregation Kol Haverim, Temple Sinai and Young Israel of West Hartford invite the entire community to a:

Beginning the week of April 20th, and running for 9 consecutive weeks, we are pleased to present each week a class by a member of our local academic community. We thank them for their participation in this program and hope that you will take advantage of the opportunity to study with them.

All classes will be accessible on Zoom by clicking on the following link or using the call-in number below.

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 934 142 286

Password: lectures

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+19292056099,,934142286# US (New York)

Dial by your location
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 934 142 286

Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/abehp2Kc8M

Questions? - E-mail Rabbi Howard Rosenbaum at hrosenbaum@cbict.org or leave a phone message at (860) 920-5686.

All classes will begin at 7:30 PM

Wednesday, April 22nd
Dr. Avinoam Patt, Doris and Simon Konover Chair of Judaic Studies and Director, Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, University of Connecticut
"Yom Ha-Shoah Veha-Gevurah: On Jewish Heroism, Martyrdom, and Sacrifice"

Wednesday, April 29th
Dr. Jeremy Pressman, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Middle East Studies, University of Connecticut
"Camp David, 40+ Years Later: Strategy, Peace, Autonomy"

Monday, May 4th
Dr. Joshua Lambert, Academic Director, Yiddish Book Center and Visiting Assistant Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts
"Sholem Aleichem's Motl the Cantor's Son and How We Think about Immigrants"

Thursday, May 14th
Dr. Ron Kiener, Professor of Religious Studies, Trinity College
"Jewish Imagination in a Time of Pandemic: Apocalypse, Messianism, and Lament"

Wednesday, May 20th
Dr. Deena Grant, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies, 
Hartford Seminary
"Divine Love and Punishment in Deuteronomy and Beyond"

Tuesday, May 26th
Dr. Sarah Willen, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Connecticut
""Love the stranger": Migrant Workers, Asylum Seekers, and Israeli
Activists in Tel Aviv"

Tuesday, June 2nd
Dr. Sara Johnson, Associate Professor of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, University of Connecticut
"Not Lost in Translation: The Greek Bible from Aristeas to the Rabbis"

Monday, June 8th
Dr. Sam Kassow, Charles H. Northam Professor of History, 
Trinity College
"David Ben Gurion and the Making of the Jewish State"

Thursday, June 18th
Dr. Stuart Miller, Professor of Hebrew, History, and Judaic Studies and Academic Director, Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, University of Connecticut
"Separating out the Facts: The Origins of Christianity and the History of Judaism"

Dr. Arnold Dashefsky Receives Sklare Award

Arnold DashefskyThe Marshall Sklare Award is given annually by the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry (ASSJ) to a senior scholar who has made a significant scholarly contribution to the social scientific study of Jewry, primarily through the publication of a body of research in books and articles or of published work related to public policy.

We are proud to share that Professor Emeritus Arnold Dashefsky, founder of the Center for Judaic Studies, will receive the Sklare Award this year for his career-long distinguished contributions to the field of sociology. Awardees are prolific scholars who have helped to shape the modern study of Jewish life

The Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry is a cross-disciplinary organization of individuals whose research concerns the Jewish people throughout the world. The ASSJ encourages and facilitates contact among researchers, supports the dissemination of research, and assists in the cultivation of younger scholars.