University Lecture Focuses on Impact of Non-Jews on Jewish Life

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Ted Merwin, Ph.D., associate professor of religion and Judaic studies at Dickinson College, will speak at The University of Scranton on Thursday, April 11. Photo courtesy of www.tedmerwin.com.

Ted Merwin, Ph.D., associate professor of religion and Judaic studies at Dickinson College, Carlisle, will deliver a lecture titled “You Don’t Have to Be Jewish: Non-Jews’ Growing Investment in Jewish Life” at The University of Scranton on Thursday, April 11.

Presented by the University’s Weinberg Judaic Studies Institute, the lecture will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Pearn Auditorium of Brennan Hall on campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Merwin – professor, writer, journalist and noted public speaker – suggests that the future of American Jewish life may lie in non-Jewish hands as much as in Jewish ones. Using examples such as Madonna and other celebrities embracing Kabbalah, Passover seders in thousands of contemporary churches, and non-Jewish women raising Jewish children, he notes that non-Jews are playing an increasingly important role in Jewish life.

Also the director of the Milton B. Asbell Center for Jewish Life at Dickinson College, Dr. Merwin is the author of “In Their Own Image: New York Jews in Jazz Age Popular Culture.” His latest book, “Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli,” will be published in 2014.

Dr. Merwin has published scholarly articles in several academic journals, including Dance Chronicle, Journal of American Ethnic HistoryCultural & Social History, and The Sondheim Review. His articles on Jewish culture have appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe London Jewish ChronicleHaaretzHadassah and other domestic and international publications. He has also written more than 500 weekly theater column entries for The New York Jewish Week, the largest-circulation Jewish newspaper in the U.S.

The Weinberg Judaic Studies Institute was created in 1979 through an endowment funded by the local Jewish community. The institute fosters a better understanding and appreciation of Judaism, Israel and their histories. It supports visits to the University by Jewish scholars and writers, and supports library acquisitions, publications, faculty research travel and other scholarly endeavors. The work of the institute was further enhanced by a $1 million gift from Harry Weinberg in 1990.

For further information, contact Marc Shapiro, Ph.D., professor of theology/religious studies at The University of Scranton, at 941-7956.

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