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Visiting Profs Boost Jewish, Israeli Studies

February 12, 2007

Fran Simon

Two visiting professors in the Tulane Jewish Studies Program will help expand this growing, multidisciplinary field in which Tulane is taking a leading role. Moshe Naor, a native Israeli who holds a doctoral degree from Hebrew University, will join the faculty as a visiting professor in fall 2007, while a second visiting professor will be brought in to teach three additional courses in Jewish studies.


Two recent grants are expanding the work of the Tulane Jewish Studies Program, led by Brian Horowitz, program director. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

Two recent grants to the Jewish Studies Program made the additions possible. Naor is being brought in as the Schusterman Visiting Israeli Professor at Tulane as a result of a grant from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.

He will teach a total of four courses in Israeli studies, two per semester, says Brian Horowitz, director of the Jewish Studies Program.

The Endowment Foundation of Greater New Orleans provided additional funding for the visiting professor. In spring 2005, the New Orleans foundation brought an Israeli professor to Tulane for the semester. Naor's courses will address Israeli foreign policy, the Israel/Arab conflict, Israeli society and the history of the Israeli military.

One course, for example, will examine the social, economic and political development of the Jewish community in Palestine from the beginnings of the Zionist movement in the early 1880s until the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.

"There is an accelerating interest in Israeli studies, and Tulane is on the cutting edge," Horowitz says. "We would like to establish Israeli studies on a permanent basis at Tulane with the endowment of a named chair."

Naor also will speak at a public lecture in the fall semester and will participate in programs at the Hillel House. Additionally, a Posen Foundation grant for the study of secular Judaism will enable the Jewish Studies Program to fund a visiting professor to help teach three courses on cultural/secular Judaism -- "The Secular Jewish Experience," "Jewish Identity in Modern Literature" and "The Jewish Bible as Literature."

Horowitz, an associate professor of Germanic and Slavic studies who holds the Sizeler Family Chair of Judaic Studies at Tulane, says the Jewish Studies Program currently has three full-time faculty.

The program offers 12 courses each semester and enrolls more than 150 students. Horowitz, who calls himself an intellectual historian, says he finds Jewish studies interesting because it covers broad fields across worldwide geography. Horowitz understands many different languages common to Jewish studies, including Hebrew, Yiddish, French, Russian, Polish and German.

"It's important to educate Tulane students about America's Jewish heritage, history and culture to dissipate prejudice and celebrate our Judeo-Christian culture and our traditions of tolerance for all religions," Horowitz says. "We're delighted to be continually expanding what we teach."

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000