The Program in Jewish Studies and the University of Colorado Libraries' Rare and Distinctive Collections annually support a visiting scholar whose research interests take advantage of the unique resources in the Innovations in Jewish Life Collections. The Innovations in Jewish Life Collections provide access to materials examining Judaism and the Jewish experience as a religious re-engagement, social movement, and philosophy of spiritual transformation in America from the late 1940s to the present.
Shneer Family Fellowship Fund
Shneer Family Endowed Fellowship Fund supports the initiative to make the University of Colorado Boulder a center for the study of American Judaism after the Holocaust. To accomplish that goal, the Fund supports the active effort of building archival resources for research, hosting scholars conducting that research, and supporting our students to learn the skills of information management, archiving, and digital literacy.
Past Visiting Fellows in Innovations in Jewish Life
Jessica Cooperman, 2019
Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Director of Jewish Studies at Muhlenberg College
Colloquium: Christian Passover Seders and Thoughts about Jewish-Christian Dialogue in the Postwar United States
Jessica Cooperman is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Director of Jewish Studies at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. Her research focuses on 20th century American Judaism and Jewish culture, and on connections between American conceptions of religion and state policy. Her visit focused on her current book project, which explores the post-Holocaust period and the different ways that the Holocaust shaped Jewish-Christian dialogue in the second half of the 20th century. She examined the development of different sites of Jewish-Christian dialogue and engagement in the post-World War II period, with a particular interest in the proliferation of interfaith and Christian Passover seders. Her first book, Making Judaism Safe for America: World War I and the Origins of Religious Pluralism, was published by NYU Press in 2018 and received an honorable mention for the biannual Saul Viener Book Prize in American Jewish History.
While at the University of Colorado Boulder, Professor Cooperman focused on collections including the Arthur Waskow Papers related to the creation of the Freedom Seder; the records of the Institute for Contemporary Midrash Records, especially those related to the creation of “bibliodramas” intended for Christian clergy and seminaries; the Michael Lerner Collection for a view of public discussion of interfaith engagement in Tikkun Magazine; and the Zalman Schachter Shalomi Papers, with regard to Schachter-Shalomi’s commitment to dialogue across faiths.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion and Jewish Studies at Oberlin College
Colloquium: From the Frankfurt Lehrhaus to Havurat Shalom: Fellowship, Renewal, Counterculture
The 2018 Shneer Fellow was Professor Sam Shonkoff, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion and Jewish Studies at Oberlin College. Professor Shonkoff was in residence at CU Boulder October 22 - 25, 2018 conducting research in the Innovations in Jewish Life Collections.
Professor Shonkoff presented a faculty and student colloquium on Thursday, October 25 on his archival work with the Zalman M. Schachter-Shalomi Papers, held at CU Boulder. His research in the Innovations in Jewish Life Collections supports his larger project on the formative years of Havurat Shalom in Somerville, Massachusetts and the Jewish counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s more broadly. Schachter-Shalomi was a founding member and teacher of Havurat Shalom in 1968, and he had an especially profound impact on that community's own very influential approaches to prayer and Hasidic sources.
Sam Berrin Shonkoff is the Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion and Jewish Studies at Oberlin College. He holds a PhD in History of Judaism from the University of Chicago Divinity School, an MA in Religion and Jewish Studies from the University of Toronto, and a BA in Religious Studies from Brown University. Shonkoff's edited volume Martin Buber: His Intellectual and Scholarly Legacy was published this year, and his writings have also appeared recently in the Journal of Religion, The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy, and Brill’s Library of Contemporary Jewish Philosophers.
Assistant Professor of Women's Studies at Old Dominion University
Colloquium: Renewing Her Body: The Body as a Feminist Ritual Text in the Jewish Renewal Movement, 1970-2015
Professor Milligan is the Batten Endowed Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and Women's Studies and Director of the Institute of Jewish Studies and Interfaith Understanding at Old Dominion University. She is the author of Hair, Headwear, and Orthodox Jewish Women: Kallah's Choice (Lexington, 2014), and her research explores the intersections of hair, body, gender, sexuality, and religion. She has published in Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, Journal of Lesbian Studies, Children's Folklore Review, and Littman's Jewish Cultural Series. She also has received the Raphael Patai Prize in Jewish Folklore and Ethnology from the American Folklore Society (2011) and the Duke University Rubenstein Fellowship for Jewish Studies (2017).
Professor Milligan's research in the Innovations in Jewish Life Collections was an expansion of her current work on the Jewish body's potential as a subversive feminist text. She used the IJL Collections to aid in her investigation of how women's voices and bodies, particularly in the Renewal Movement, can represent a reactionary change to the outside cultural pressures, both from secular and Jewish Culture.
Historian; PhD in American religious History, Harvard University
Colloquium: "Becoming the Third Faith Through American Celebrity"
Rachel Gordan, PhD is a historian whose research and teaching focus on Jews, religion, and American culture. She received her doctorate in American religious history at Harvard, and her B.A. in American Studies at Yale. She has taught at Northwestern and the University of Toronto, prior to teaching at Brandeis and Boston University. Her first book, How Judaism Became an American Religion will be published by Harvard University Press in fall, 2017. Dr. Gordan's visit was made possible by the Program in Jewish Studies and the University of Colorado Libraries through the generous support of the Jim and Diane Shneer Fellowship in Post-Holocaust American Judaism.
Professor of American Studies and Director of the Center for Jewish Studies, University of Minnesota
Inaugural Shneer Family Fellow in Innovations in Jewish Life
2016 Embodied Judaism Symposium, Freedom Seder: "Parochials and Cosmopolitans: The Cultural Politics of the Freedom Seder"
Colloquium: "Not Playing Indian: Race and the Terrain of Liberalism in Intensive Jewish Summer Camps in the 1960s and 1970s"
In her colloquium, "Not Playing Indian: Race and the Terrain of Liberalism in Intensive Jewish Summer camps in the 1960s and 1970s," Prell explored how many Jewish summer camps actively engaged race, racial attitudes, and activism in the era of Civil Rights in the 1960s and early 1970s. Performances, role plays, then work in communities of color was part of camp offerings, revealing complex ideas about Jews and race in this era. Throughout the colloquium, Prell outlined a number of frameworks to understand how race was constructed in these camp settings.
In her presentation at the 2016 Embodied Judaism symposium, Prell explored the cultural politics of the 1969 Freedom Seder, which was part of a powerful turn in American politics of the Left of the 1960s and 1970s. Prell demonstrated how religion became a critical part of social movements, rather than being viewed as the enemy of change, and how politics could be shaped by identity rather than a set of ideas and commitments alone. Jews wrestled with these issues. Generations of many Leftist Jews had rejected Judaism and what was viewed as its parochialism. Prell argued that the Freedom Seder upended many of those dualisms and announced that a very "particularist" ritual could be universal, that Jewishness itself could be radical and build bridges across race and religion.
Prell’s work focuses on American Jewish cultures from the 19th century to the present. Her book Prayer and Community: the Havurah in American Judaism was the first study of the Jewish counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s, and was awarded a National Jewish Book Award. Fighting to Become Americans: Jews Gender and the Anxiety of Assimilation, along with Women Remaking American Judaism, explored how women, cultural conflicts between men and women, class mobility and conflicts across generations in families have all shaped Jewish cultural, religions, and popular cultural traditions. She is completing a book on Jewish Baby Boomers and summer camps and how they helped to shape the Jewish counter culture.
Prell chairs the Academic Council of the American Jewish Historical Society. She received the Marshall Sklare Memorial Award, Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry, for distinguished achievement as a scholar.
Moshe David Ha-Cohen, 2014
University of Haifa, Ph.D. candidate
Moshe-David HaCohen is a Presidential Fellowship Doctoral Candidate at the Department of History of the University of Haifa in Israel. In his dissertation, Moshe-David applies interdisciplinary resources in order to explore the adaptation of Jewish tradition through the interaction of Shlomo Carlebach with the “counterculture” of the Sixties in the United States. Moshe-David has taken part in international academic conferences and workshops on contemporary Jewish identity, religion and culture and has been honored as the inaugural Fellow in Post-Holocaust American Judaism at the University of Colorado Boulder.