JTS Outreach Lecture Series to Focus on “Books Holy and Rare”

Press Contact: Nina Jacobson
Office: (212) 678-8950
Email: nijacobson@jtsa.edu

December 30, 2008, Tampa, FL

A Shabbat Scholar-in-Residence weekend, as well as six separate lectures, will highlight “Books Holy and Rare—Priceless Works From The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary,” the 24th annual JTS Outreach Tampa Bay Lecture Series, the week of January 16–22, 2009.

Each lecture will be hosted by one of the Conservative synagogues on Florida’s West Coast and combine interactive technology with dynamic presentations and expert teaching. The event is being sponsored by the Hereld Institute for Jewish Studies of JTS, The Rabbinical Assembly Southeast Region, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism Southeast Region, and JTS’s Florida Region. Sponsoring congregations include Congregation Beth Shalom, Clearwater; Congregation Kol Ami, Tampa; Congregation B’nai Israel, St. Petersburg; Congregation Rodeph Sholom, Tampa; Temple Beth Shalom, Sarasota; Temple Judea, Fort Myers; and Temple Emanuel, Lakeland.

David Wachtel, the senior consultant for Special Collections at The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary, where he formerly was research librarian, will serve as scholar-in-residence. A member of the core faculty of the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning at Temple Emanu-El and Me'ah, the adult learning program of Boston Hebrew College, Wachtel has taught and lectured in the United States, Israel, and Europe, and has curated a number of exhibitions. He is a consultant for the Books and Manuscripts department of Sotheby's Auction House as well as Bauman Rare Books. The author of From This World to the Next: Jewish Approaches to Illness, Death, and Afterlife, he also authored the manuscript section of the Yeshiva University exhibition catalogue Printing the Talmud: From Bomberg to Schottenstein. Wachtel holds advanced degrees in both Medieval History and Jewish Studies from Columbia University.

The schedule of lectures is as follows:

January 16–17, 2009: Scholar-in-Residence Shabbat, Temple Beth Shalom, Sarasota
January 18 at 10:00 a.m.: “The Hand of the Scribe,” Temple Judea, Fort Myers

All lectures listed below will be held at 7:30 p.m.:
January 18: “The Hand of the Scribe,” Temple Emanuel, Lakeland
January 19: “The Archeology of Scripture,” Congregation Beth Shalom, Clearwater
January 20: “The Hand of the Scribe,” Congregation Kol Ami, Tampa
January 21: “The Dawn of Printing and the Birth of the Hebrew Book,” Congregation B’nai Israel,
St. Petersburg
January 22: “The Reign of the Book: 500 Years of the Modern Era,” Congregation Rodeph Sholom, Tampa

The series is open to the community at no charge and a dessert reception will follow each lecture. A certificate of merit will be presented to all persons who attend the complete series (January 19–22).

For further information and a brochure, please contact Carolyn Kantor, Director, JTS Florida Region, at (561) 852-3434.