Faculty Research and Updates

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Over the winter, Jewish Studies director Lori Lefkovitz presented on Jewish ritual for a symposium on Jewish Feminism at Hebrew College and was a featured speaker for several synagogue events, including a Tu B’Shvat program for Temple Emanuel and Mishkan Tefila in Newton and a scholar-in-residence program at Germantown Jewish Centre in Philadelphia.  She recently participated in a panel discussion at Northeastern about the film “Treyf” and was featured in an interview for Lilith Magazine for an article entitled “Analyze THIS:  Why Do Therapy and Jewish Women Go Together?”  This spring, she will speak on “The Character of American Jewish Fathers” at a conference at Brandeis University honoring Professor Stephen Whitfield.  She was also awarded a $14,000 grant from MASA to support this summer’s upcoming Dialogue of Civilizations program in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, which she will be leading May 19 through June 20.  She continues to serve on the academic advisory boards of the Jewish Women’s Archive, the Hadassah Brandeis Institute, and Northeastern Hillel.  At Northeastern she has been elected to the University Senate and appointed chair of the search committee for the Dean of the College of Social Sciences and Humanities; she is a member of the search committee for a faculty member in Israel Studies, a member of the President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion, and a member of the College’s committee on “Conflict, Civility, Respect, and Peace.”

Jack Levin had two new books published in 2012 —  Blurring the Boundaries:  The Declining Significance of Age (Routledge) and, with J. Fox, a second edition of Extreme Killing:  Understanding Serial and Mass Murder (Fine Forge Press) – as well as a chapter entitled “School Rampage in International Perspective:  The Salience of Cumulative Strain Theory” in School Shootings as a Topic of Research: International Results, Case Studies and Concepts for Prevention (Springer).  On March 18, he served as keynote speaker at the Hate Studies Conference in Spokane, WA.  In July, he and Gordana Rabrenovic will be panelists at the annual meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology in Herzliya, Israel.

Willliam Miles’ new book, Jews of Nigeria:  An Afro-Judaic Odyssey, was recently the topic of two National Public Radio (NPR) broadcasts:  “Here and Now” with Sacha Pfeiffer and “Tell Me More” with Michel Martin. Miles has also been accepted into the 2013 Schusterman Summer Institute for Israel Studies, for college faculty, at Brandeis University.

Since April 2011, Stephen Sadow has been exhibiting and giving lectures on a series of 14 handmade artist’s books, each containing a poem from a Latin American Jewish poet, the translation of the poem into English, and a unique, original artwork inspired by the poem and done by a Latin American Jewish artist.  He has done presentations at the Jewish Museum of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Northeastern University, Arizona State University, University of Denver, the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Emmanuel College, the Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts, The Jewish Community of Mexico City, Mexico, and the Argentine Consulate in New York. He has been invited to speak next fall at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and the University of Texas at Austin.  He has created a number of impressive websites featuring the work of Latin American artists and writers, including “Jewish Latin American Art,” which contains over 1.100 artworks by 139 Jewish artists from 11 Latin American countries; “A Voice among the Multitudes,” a bilingual anthology of poetry by 13 Latin American Jewish poets, in the original Spanish and in English translations; “Identity and Diversity: Artist’s Book,” the art catalog of the 14 handmade artists’ books; and “Contemporary Jewish Latin American Literature and Culture,” a huge anthology of Jewish poetry and narrative from all over Latin America and beyond.  He is now working on yet another website that will feature the filmed interviews he has done with Latin American Jewish writers and artists.

Jennifer Sartori  has continued her research on adoption and Jewish identity in North America as co-director, with Dr. Jayne Guberman, of the Adoption and Jewish Identity Project.  Working with a consultant, Guberman and Sartori are completing the analysis of an online survey of Jewish adoptive parents, to which close to 1,000 people responded; the survey data is yielding a fascinating portrait of the changes in the characteristics and experiences of Jewish adoptive families over the past few decades.  They have also obtained Institutional Review Board approval for the second phase of the project, in which they will gather the voices of young adult adoptees (ages 18 to 36) who were raised in Jewish families.  (If you are interested in participating in this project, please contact Sartori at  Sartori also served as an invited speaker on a keynote panel on religion at the Adoption Initiative’s 7th Annual conference, “Best Interests of the Child?  Race, Religion, and Rescue in Adoption,” and spoke on “Revolutions in Adoption:  Jewish Families in an Age of Transnational, Transracial, and Open Adoption” at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth’s Center for Jewish Culture.

Harvey Shapiro has had a very busy and productive year.  In December 2012, his book Educational theory and Jewish studies in conversation:  From Volozhin to Bucascz was published by Lexington Books.  The book brings together two different fields of study – modern Jewish studies and contemporary educational theory – to provide new theoretical frameworks for their interaction and has received outstanding early reviews.  Shapiro also published “Revisiting deconstructive pedagogy:  Testifying to iterability ‘at once, aussi sec’ in Philosophy of Education Society Yearbook (2012) and has three forthcoming articles this Spring:  “Theories of conversation between education and Jewish studies” (Journal of Jewish Education), “Paradigmatic pedagogy in the philosophy of Georgio Agamben” (Philosophy of Education Society Yearbook), and, with Jacob Meskin, “’To give an example is complex act’:  Agamben’s pedagogy of the paradigm” (Educational Philosophy and Theory).  He has also been presenting his work at numerous academic conferences.