Fairfield University's Bennett Center for Judaic Studies presents lecture by Dr. Ken Koltun-Fromm: "What does Jewish look like? Representation and Image in American Jewish Culture"

Ken FrommIn a Fairfield University lecture on Thursday, November 19 at 7:30 p.m., author and scholar Ken Koltun-Fromm, Ph.D., will share a series of images by and of American Jews that exhibit Jewish conceptions of heritage and identity. Looking Jewish, it turns out, reveals a good deal about how Jews understand their identity in America, according to Dr. Koltun-Fromm, associate professor of Religion at Haverford College.

American Jews often differentiate themselves by special cultural and religious practices, even as they are firmly embedded in the American community. "Jews are at once a part of American society and apart from it," Dr. Koltun-Fromm said. "This sense of distinctiveness is a critical feature of Jewish self-understanding. Yet there is also a common perception that American Jews look different too."

In a talk entitled, "What does Jewish look like? Representation and Image in American Jewish Culture," Dr. Koltun-Fromm will explore how American Jews imagine themselves as looking Jewish, and how they represent themselves to other Americans.

Sponsored by the University's Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies, the event is free and open to the public. It will take place in the Dolan School of Business Dining Room. There is limited seating, so call the Bennett Center to reserve a seat at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2066.

Dr. Koltun-Fromm specializes in modern Jewish thought, German Jewish identity in the nineteenth-century, American Judaism, and material religion. He is the author of several books, including "Material Culture and Jewish Thought in America" (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, forthcoming 2010); " Abraham Geiger's Liberal Judaism: Personal Meaning and Religious Authority" (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006); and "Moses Hess and Modern Jewish Identity" (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001). The latter was the winner of the Koret Foundation Book Award in Jewish Thought and Philosophy in 2001.

Since 1997, he has been a faculty member at Haverford, located in Pennsylvania, where he has taught such courses as "Religion, Ethics and Society," "Reading Sacred Texts," and "Jewish Images, Imagining Jews," among many others.

Dr. Koltun-Fromm earned a Ph.D. in Religious Studies and a M.A. from Stanford University. He earned a M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School and a B.A. in Religion from Haverford College. He has been an instructor at Tulane University and Stanford University, and a lecturer at Santa Clara University.

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

Posted on November 3, 2009

Vol. 42, No. 116

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