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2015–2016 Annual Lectures

The Modern Hebrew Lecture


The Tyrwhitt Lecture (Old Testament Studies)

Konrad Schmid, "TBD," 2.30pm, Faculty of Divinity Runcie Room, Wednesday, 3 February 2016

The Cairo Genizah Lecture

TBD, University Library Milstein Rooms, Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The Ullendorff Semitic Philology Lecture

Edward Cook, "Language Contact and the Genesis of Mishnaic Hebrew," 5pm, FAMES Rooms 7 & 8, Thursday, 19 May 2016

Upcoming Events

The FAMES/Woolf Institute Muslim-Jewish Relations Seminar Series

'The (im)possibility of Muslim Jews'

Speaker: Yair Wallach (SOAS)

Date: 3 November 2015

Venue: Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Rooms 8 & 9

Sigwick Avenue, CB3 9DA, Cambridge

Reception with drinks and snacks afterwards

Abstract: Can Jewish nationalism be open to people of Muslim faith? This seemingly contradictory suggestion is the starting point of an interrogation into the limits of Jewish national identity. This lecture examines patterns of Muslim-Jewish acculturation in Israel/Palestine in the 20th century, and the backlash against them.

Dr. Yair Wallach is the Pears Lecturer in Israeli Studies in the Department of the Languages and Cultures of Near and Middle East at SOAS. He is also the head of the SOAS Centre for Jewish Studies.

click for poster

Past events

Tenno Inaugural Annual Lecture

By the Rivers of Babylon: The Remarkable History of Iraq's Jewish Community

Speaker: Edwin Shuker

Date: 14 October, 2015

Venue: Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Rooms 8 & 9

Sigwick Avenue, CB3 9DA, Cambridge

click for poster

2014–2015 Annual Lectures

The Modern Hebrew Lecture

Tuesday, 3rd March 2015, 8:00 pm; speaker: Dr Yirimi Pinkas, topic: Crimson Words; Venue: Cripps Auditorium

The Tyrwhitt Lecture (Old Testament Studies)

Wednesday, 4th March 2015; speaker: Reinhard Kratz (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen), topic: The Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls; venue: Runcie Room

The Cairo Genizah Lecture

Thursday, 7th May 2015, 5:30 pm; speaker: Sacha Stern, University College London, topic: "Revisiting the Calendar Dispute of 921/2: In Search of the Manuscripts"; venue: Milstein Room, Cambridge University Library; drinks reception to follow

click for poster

The Ullendorff Semitic Philology Lecture

Tuesday, 26th May, 5:30 pm; speaker: Dr Michael Ryzhik (Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel); venue: FAMES rooms 8 & 9

click for poster

The Feminine Faces of Divinity: Gender, Midrash and Kabbalah

Monday 11 May, 2015 

Faculty of Classics, Sidgwick Site, Room 1 (R1)

10:00-11:00 Workshop: How and why should we read Kabbalah from a feminist perspective? 

11:30-12:15 Dr. Ruth Kara-Ivanov Kaniel, Ben Gurion University & Tel Aviv Institute for contemporary psychoanalysis: Holiness and Transgression: Mothers of the Messiah in Jewish and Christian Narratives. 

12:15-13:30 Dr. Biti Roi,Ben Gurion University & Shalom Hartman institute: Images of a Feminine Divinity: From Ancient Rabbinic Literature to the 18th Century

click for poster

Cinema Israel 2014-2015: Religion and Cinema in Israel

Lent, 2014

Screenings are on alternate Tuesdays during term time at 16:30 in basement room L1.

click for schedule of films and descriptions


Open Classes in Modern Hebrew

All those interested in taking part in open classes in Modern Hebrew (beginner and intermediate levels) are requested to contact Dr Aaron Hornkohl, Hebrew Language Teaching Officer, at The number and schedule of classes will be determined based on the degree of interest and the respective Hebrew levels of the participants.

Reading Group in Modern Jewish Thought

We will meet fortnightly on Sundays from 7:30 – 9:00 pm, starting 25 January.  This term, we will be reading through Samson Raphael Hirsch’s The Nineteen Letters of Ben Uziel.  Hirsch is known as the founder of the form of Judaism that became known as Modern Orthodoxy or Neo-Orthodoxy.  In analyzing his thought and ideas, we’ll examine whether Hirsch’s orientation appears similar to or different from contemporary ‘Orthodox Judaism’, and/or whether his ideas, if published today, would have more in common with non-Orthodox branches of Judaism.  This term’s reading and discussion will be of relevance to those interested in the ways in which modern social ad historical developments have led to new formulations of existing religious traditions, whether in the context of Judaism or in other traditions, and in the effects that the emergence of denominationalism can have on religious and theological thinking.

The Hirsch text can be found here:  <>

For the first meeting this coming Sunday, we'll be reading and discussing the first five letters out of the nineteen.

If interested in participating, please contact Daniel Weiss at


Cambridge Modern Hebrew Summer Ulpan Course 2015

Courses will run 28 June–10 July, registration is now open

click here for details and registration forms

Contact Dr Aaron D Hornkohl () for information

2014–2015 Israel Studies Annual Lecture Series

Between Honor and Authenticity: Zionism as Theodor Herzl’s Life Project

Prof. Derek Penslar

Thursday, 29 January, 2015 5:00pm, FAMES, Sidgwick Site, Rooms 8&9

This talk will explore the significance that Zionism held for Theodor Herzl as a life-project, i.e., as a set of goals and practices that endow a person’s existence with meaning and direction, and the ways his striving toward honour and authenticity fuelled his Zionist passion and sustained him during the eight years in which he irrevocably transformed the Jewish world.

Prof. Penslar is a comparative historian who taught at Indiana University and the University of Toronto before coming to Oxford in 2012. He is the co-editor of The Journal of Israeli History and Jewish Social Studies, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the American Academy for Jewish Research. He is author of Zionism and Theocracy (1991), Shylock’s Children: Economics and Jewish Identity in Modern Europe (2001), Orientalism and the Jews (2004), Israel in History (2006), and Jews and the Military (2013).

reception and refreshments following

click for poster

The Life and Passion of William of Norwich

Lecture by Professor Miri Rubin followed by reception.

5pm, Monday 16 Feb

Milstein Seminar Room, CUL

The Life and Passion of William of Norwich tells of the death of a boy in twelfth-century Norwich, accusations of ritual murder against the city's Jews and the development of a martyr's cult.

As far as we know, the earliest known account of what was to become the 'blood libel' myth which has haunted Europe ever since, The Life and Passion of William of Norwich is found in a single manuscript in CUL, now newly translated and introduced by Prof. Miri Rubin for Penguin Classics.

Prof. Miri Rubin is Professor of Medieval and Early Modern History and Head of the School of History at Queen Mary University of London.

The lecture will be followed by a reception.

click here for event poster 

Please register to attend at:


Cambridge Seminar on Biblical Epic 

Hosted by the Centre for Medieval Literature, and the Departments of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, and Middle Eastern Studies; with the support of St John’s College 

Dates: Sunday-Monday 16-17 November 2014

Venue: Dirac Room, Fisher Building, St John’s College in Cambridge

click for schedule

Israel Studies Annual Lecture Series

The First Verse of Genesis: The Joy and Difficulty of Intertextual Reading

Dror Burstein, Israeli author

Friday, October 17, 2014 5:00pm, FAMES, Sidgwick Site, Rooms 8&9 (reception and refreshments following)

click for poster

From East to West: Medieval Manuscripts of the Jewish Festival Prayer-book

With Dr Michael Rand, a chance to explore the development of the medieval jewish festival prayer-book (mahzor), with a display of manuscript materials from the Middle East and Europe.

Friday, 31 October, 17:30–18:30, Milstein Seminar Rooms, University Library. All ages, drop in.

click for poster

Modern Hebrew Studies at the University of Cambridge

An Evening with the Muses

Israeli novelists and poets Maya Arad, Ola Groisman, Van Nguyen, Admiel Kosman & Ruby Namdar will read from their works and discuss them with the public in an evening dedicated to Israeli diasporic writing

5 May , 2015, 8pm, MØller Centre Auditorium, The MØller Centre, Churchill College, Storey's Way, Cambridge, CB3 0DE

Sponsored by the Israel Institute, Washington, D.C.

click for poster

2013–2014 Annual Lectures

The Tyrwhitt Lecture (Old Testament Studies)

19th February 2014, speaker: Martti Nissinen

The Modern Hebrew Lecture

4th March 2014, speaker: Yair Kedar, filmmaker and cultural critic

The Cairo Genizah Lecture

11th March, 2014, speaker: Stefan Reif

The Ullendorff Semitic Philology Lecture

8th May 2014, speaker: Stefan Schorch

Modern Hebrew Ulpan

30 June–12 July, FAMES (organizer R. Williams)

Cambridge Forum for Jewish Studies

4:30–5:30pm, 6 June, Faculty of Divinity, Lightfoot Room (first floor)

Yaron Peleg, Lecturer in Modern Hebrew Studies: 
"Israeli Literature in a Post-National Age? Current Trends in Modern Hebrew Literature"

Stefan Goltzberg, Postdoctoral Researcher in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies:
"Legal Argumentation and Hebrew Grammar"

Conference: Secularity and Its Discontents: Religion and Cinema in Israel

10:00am–10:00pm, 4 June, The Moller Centre (organizer Y. Peleg, email

click here for conference programme

Ullendorff Semitic Philology Lecture

5:00, 22nd May, FAMES (organizer G. Khan)

click here for poster

Joint Oxford-Cambridge Graduate seminar in Old Testament Studies

17th May 2013, Faculty of Divinity

click here for conference programme

Shakespeare in Hebrew

Aminadav Dykman (Hebrew University, Jerusalem)

Thursday, 15th November 2012, 5:30pm, Room 8&9, FAMES

Salām or Shalom? What language teaches us about Muslim-Jewish relations

Esther-Miriam Wagner (Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit)
Wednesday, 7th November 5:00pm, Old Common Room, Wesley House

Multilingualism and Hebrew in Israel

Judith Rosenhouse (Technion, Haifa)
Monday, 29th October 2012, 5pm, Room 7, FAMES


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2016 Summer Ulpan

The Centre for Modern Hebrew Studies

invites you to participate in a

Summer Hebrew Ulpan
for University Students
Led by Dr Aaron Hornkohl
Language Teaching Officer at the 

Faculty of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies 

at the

University of Cambridge
Sunday, 3rd July – Friday, 15th July, 2016

The course is designed for university students. Depending on interest and student levels, we will aim to offer levels appropriate for beginning, intermediate, and more advanced students. The programme will consist of 3–4 daily hours of intensive language tuition supplemented by various activities, including: visits to the Taylor-Schechter Genizah collection and the Wren Library at Trinity College, lectures on related topics, a traditional Shabbat dinner, and screenings of Israeli films.

Details of the programme for 2015 (to be updated at a later date).

Prospective students may be interested in some photographs and participant feedback from the Ulpan.

Tuition fee for the Ulpan (not including accommodation): £500

Accommodation in college (bed and breakfast): £500

Deposit: £100 (non-refundable)

Cheques should be made payable to "University of Cambridge".

Also, please note that lunches and evening meals are not provided.

Application Form: Word File | PDF File

Application deadline: applications must be received by Friday, 10th June, 2016.

For further information go to and/or contact Dr Aaron Hornkohl at .