"Quick to the Party: Jews and the Americanization of Hanukkah" is topic of 2008 Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Lecture in Judaic Studies


Dianne Ashton, Ph. D., a recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Hadassah Brandeis Institute for her upcoming work on Hanukkah in America, will deliver a talk entitled, "Quick to the Party: Jews and the Americanization of Hanukkah," as the 2008 Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Lecturer in Judaic Studies at Fairfield University, on Thursday, Dec. 4.

The program is free and open to the public, and will take place in the Charles F. Dolan School of Business Dining Room at 7:30 p.m. The event is made possible by a gift from the Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Foundation. Contact Fairfield University's Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2066 to reserve a seat.

Professor of Religion Studies and director of the American Studies program at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, Dr. Ashton teaches about religion in American culture and history. She writes extensively on American Jews and the lives of Jewish women in America, looking particularly at nineteenth-century Jewish life.

Ellen M. Umansky, Ph. D., director of the Bennett Center, said that Dr. Ashton's talk will undoubtedly spark a dynamic dialogue. "Her research on Hanukkah in America is utterly fascinating. She will bring forth pivotal moments in recent Jewish history that have led to the Americanization and commercialization of this popular holiday." With Dr. Umansky, Dr. Ashton edited the book, "Four Centuries of Jewish Women's Spirituality: A Sourcebook" (Beacon Press, 1992). The second, fully revised edition of that work will be published by Brandeis University Press/University Press of New England in mid-December.

Dr. Ashton's other books are "Rebecca Gratz: Women and Judaism in Antebellum America" (Wayne State University Press, 1997); and "Jewish Life in Pennsylvania" (Pennsylvania History Association, 1998).

A past fellow of the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History and the American Jewish Archives, Dr. Ashton earned her doctorate in Religion Studies from Temple University.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on November 18, 2008

Vol. 41, No. 141