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Touro College and YIVO Institute to Sponsor
'Rabbis and Rebbes - Artists and Intellectuals'

Leading Scholars to Explore Cultures of Eastern European Jewry

NEW YORK, Feb. 7, 2008 – The Touro College Graduate School of Jewish Studies and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research are joining together to co-sponsor a conference on major areas of Jewish creativity in modern Eastern Europe.  
Titled “Rabbis and Rebbes, Artists and Intellectuals: Round-Table Conversations on the Cultures of Eastern European Jewry, 19th-20th Centuries,” the symposium will feature outstanding scholars from the United States, Canada and Israel.  

The conference, which is free and open to the public, will take place on Sunday, March 9, 2008 at the Center for Jewish History.  The Center is located at 15 West 16th Street in Manhattan.  

“We will focus on major areas of Jewish creativity in modern Eastern Europe,” said Dr. Michael A. Shmidman, dean and Victor J. Selmanowitz professor of Jewish history at the Touro College Graduate School of Jewish Studies.  “While certain topics, such as Hasidism and Jewish Haskalah, have been dealt with extensively by scholars, there has been relatively little discussion of the varieties of rabbinic, intellectual and artistic activity.”   

The issues will be examined in three panels, where the invited scholars will engage in animated discussion, moderated by the chair of each panel.  The three scheduled panels are titled “Rabbinic Cultures,” “Artistic Cultures,” and “The Cultures of Academic Scholarship.”

Among the presenters and participants will be Professors Henry Abramson and Natalia Aleksiun of Touro College South and the Touro Graduate School of Jewish Studies, respectively; Gershon Bacon of Bar-Ilan University; Gennady Estraikh of New York University; Gershon Hundert of McGill University; Samuel D. Kassow of Trinity College; Sid Leiman of Brooklyn College; Olga Litvak of the University at Albany/ SUNY; Rachel Manekin of the University of Maryland; Ezra Mendelsohn of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern of Northwestern University and Kalman Weiser of York University.

Dr. Shmidman and Dr. Carl J. Rheins, executive director of YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, will open the conference.  Dr. Bernard Lander, founder and president of Touro College, will deliver greetings.

Anyone wishing to attend should reserve space in advance at  For information or reservations by phone, please call the office of the Touro Graduate School of Jewish Studies at 212-463-0400, ext. 470.  Kosher box lunches may be purchased by advance reservation only.  The conference will begin at 9:15 a.m. and conclude at approximately 5:00 p.m.
The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, founded in 1925 in Vilna, Poland, and headquartered in New York City since 1940, is a global resource center for Eastern European Jewish Studies; Yiddish language, literature and folklore; and the American Jewish immigrant experience. The YIVO library holds more than 375,000 volumes in twelve major languages, and the archives contains over 24,000,000 pieces. Please visit for more information.

Touro College has experienced phenomenal growth since its founding in 1971, and is currently educating more than 17,000 students at locations in New York, California, Florida, Nevada, Jerusalem, Moscow and Berlin. Touro College continues to have a profound impact on the lives of its students and on the Jewish and general communities. For more information, please go to 

Touro College
Contact : Barbara Franklin
Department of Institutional Advancement
212-463-0400 ext. 530
e-mail :

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
Contact : Elise Fischer
Press Officer
e-mail :