Herman P. and Sophia Taubman FoundationEndowed Symposia in Jewish Studies at UCSB
Barbara Mann, Simon H. Fabian Chair in Hebrew Literature, Jewish Theological Seminary
'Makom: The Place of Space in Jewish Cultures'
Thursday, January 23 / 7:30 p.m. / Free
Santa Barbara Hillel, 781 Embarcadero Del Mar, Isla Vista
Jews have historically been considered “the people of the book,” a rootless, diasporic collection of communities whose true “place” is always theologically elsewhere. However, Jewish cultures in diverse geographic settings have also been characterized by a broad array of spatial practices. My lecture explores this fundamental tension between place and placelessness in Jewish experience, through a dynamic presentation of visual and textual artifacts. I begin with the paradoxical notion of makom, the Hebrew word for “place” that is also a midrashic synonym for God. We will then see how this ostensible opposition between particularity and transcendence is made manifest in cultural expression and the lived environment. Examples will range from the ancient remnants of the Second Temple to the beach in Tel Aviv and the suburban American eruv.
Barbara Mann is associate professor of Jewish Literature and serves as the Simon H. Fabian Chair in Hebrew Literature at The Jewish Theological Seminary. Mann is the author of Space and Place in Jewish Studies and A Place in History: Modernism, Tel Aviv and the Creation of Jewish Urban Space in addition to numerous scholarly articles.
The Herman P. and Sophia Taubman Foundation Endowed Symposia in Jewish Studies at UC Santa Barbara, a program of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, is cosponsored by UCSB Arts and Lectures, Department of Religious Studies, Congregation B’nai B’rith, Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, and Santa Barbara Hillel.
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