Graduate Theological Union

Naomi Seidman

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Naomi Sheindel Seidman

Graduate Theological Union
Koret Professor of Jewish Culture and Director of the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies
Core Doctoral Faculty Member

At GTU since 1995

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley 1995
M.A., University of California, Davis 1984
B.A., Brooklyn College 1981

Exploring Expressions of Orthodox Judaism

It was standing room only in Easton Hall for the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies' lively November 29 conference “Formations of Orthodoxy,” which explored Orthodox Jewish cultural formations in interwar Poland and post-Holocaust America.
The evening ended with a keynote talk by Rabbi Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland.

Who among us is good? … and who is “us”?

Nargis Virani, Naomi Seidman, Arthur Holder, Munir Jiwa at the Western Wall in JerusalemLiterary critics and theologians often talk about "interpretive communities" and "capable readers." Who has the ability--and even the right--to interpret a text, especially a sacred text that bears authority in a particular religious tradition?

Last month I participated in a weeklong interreligious Theology Conference at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem along with Naomi Seidman (Director, Center for Jewish Studies), Munir Jiwa (Director, Center for Islamic Studies), and Nargis Virani (visiting faculty, Center for Islamic Studies). The theme of the conference was “What makes a good person?” Small groups involving participants from all three traditions studied key sacred texts together, working both in the original languages and in English translation.

Jewish Studies Students Back from Poland

“I WENT TO POLAND to research the reputation of Yiddish writer Sholem Asch (1880-1957). Conversations with scholars in Warsaw and Krakow led me to Kutno, Asch’s birthplace, where I discovered that a biennial festival is held to honor him. I was surprised to discover the extent of Asch’s literary reputation in Poland outside the Jewish community. His works were extensively translated into Polish and are still in print. He was the first Jew to receive the Order of Polonia Restituta (Order of Rebirth of Poland). “It was remarkable to discover that right now, in Poland, a new narrative of Jewish experience is being constructed — about the rich texture and communal life of the Jewish community 800 years before the horrific events of the 20th century. While we should not forget the events of World War II, the Holocaust is no longer the only lens for viewing the Jewish story in Poland.” — Alan Shore, Ph.D. student in Jewish History and Culture

Jewish Studies Students to Visit Poland

For more than 40 years, GTU’s Center for Jewish Studies (CJS) has offered outstanding academic programs committed to interreligious conversation, and has served as a vital center for Jewish life in the Bay Area, hosting scholarly lectures, films, conferences, and Jewish holiday celebrations that are open to the public.

Thanks to a three-year $900,000 grant made in 2008, by both the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture and the Koret Foundation, CJS continues to offer robust academic and community programs.

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