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Judaic Studies


Federica Francesconi, PhD, Director of the Program and Assistant Professor of History
Office: SS 119 C
Office Hours: Tue & Thu 10:15-11:15 or by appt.

Dr. Francesconi (PhD, University of Haifa) teaches a broad variety of courses in Jewish history and cultures, European social history, women and gender studies, Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations, Israeli culture, and the history of Jewish art. Her research and publications address the social, religious, and cultural aspects of the early modern history of Jews in Italy, focusing on the multifaceted politics and dynamics of ghetto life. She has held fellowships in Europe, Israel, and the United States. She served as Viterbi Visiting Professor in Mediterranean Jewish Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, and has been a fellow at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania as well as the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. Prior to joining the University at Albany, she was Assistant Professor of History and the Howard Berger-Ray Neilsen Chair in Judaic Studies at The College of Idaho. She is currently completing a monograph, Invisible Enlighteners: Modenese Jewry from the Renaissance to Emancipation. Among her other forthcoming publications, there are two coedited volumes: From Catalonia to the Caribbean: The Sephardi Orbit from Medieval to Modern Times and Gender and Jewish Women in Historical Perspective.

Arthur Brenner, PhD, Lecturer, Office: SS 138B
Office Hours: Tue & Thu 10:15-11:15 or by appt.

Dr. Brenner teaches courses in European Jewish history. He studied history at the University of Pennsylvania before earning his doctorate in European history at Columbia University. He has taught at Columbia, New York University, City University of New York, Manhattan College, William Paterson University and Siena College. He wrote Emil J. Gumbel: Weimar German Pacifist and Professor and co-edited Death Squads in Global Perspective with Bruce B. Campbell, as well as several articles on German academic life and political violence in Weimar Germany. He has also been an instructor in the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School, a Jewish adult education program.

Rabbi Nomi Manon, Instructor, Office (in the Fall): SS 138B

Rabbi Manon teaches “Survey of Jewish Civilization.” She is the Executive Director of University at Albany Hillel, where she works closely with hundreds of students in exploring Judaism and their Jewish identities. She studied anthropology and religion at Alfred University before studying for the rabbinate at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. She previously taught at Ursinus College, where she was also the Hillel Director.

Affiliated Faculty / Staff

Professor Bob Gluck is a musical composer, pianist, historical writer, and Reconstructionist rabbi. His music crosses boundaries between jazz and electroacoustic music traditions. His scholarly work traces cultural issues within the international history of electronic music; his published articles also span a wide range of Jewish communal concerns. Gluck is author of "You'll Know When You Get There: Herbie Hancock and the Mwandishi Band" (2012) and “The Miles Davis ‘Lost’ Quintet and Other Revolutionary Ensembles (2016), both from University of Chicago Press. Among his nine recordings are ‘Infinite Spirit: Revisiting Music of the Mwandishi Band’, 'Something Quiet' and 'Returning' FMR Records) and ‘Tropelets’ (Ictus Records). His multimedia installation "Layered Histories" (with visual artist Cynthia B. Rubin), tracing the real and imagined travels of the "Marseilles Bible," has been shown internationally. Gluck studied at the Julliard, Manhattan and Crane schools of music and he holds degrees from the University at Albany, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Yeshiva University's Wurzweiler School of Social Work, and Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where he was ordained as a rabbi. He is professor of music at the University at Albany.

Edward Schwarzschild: I teach writing and literature in UAlbany's Department of English and I hold a joint appointment as a Fellow in the New York State Writers Institute. My two published books are The Family Diamond (2007), a collection of stories, and Responsible Men (2005), a novel, which was a finalist both for the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Samuel Goldberg and Sons Foundation Prize for Jewish Fiction. These days, I'm finishing up a new novel. I've been a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Zarazgoza at Teruel (2009) and a Visiting Writer at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (2010). I've recently been named a Fiction Fellow by the New York Foundation for the Arts (2015) and Writer in Residence at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg (Institute for Advanced Study, HWK) in Delmenhorst, Germany for the summers of 2016 and 2017. Schwarzschild's website.

Sharona Wachs, Libraries
Cataloging Services

Contingent Faculty

Rabbi Don Cashman teaches the course "Jewish Traditions and Practices." He studied Religion at Boston University before attending the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem and New York. He has served as the Rabbi at the B'nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany since 1985.

Rob Edelman is a Lecturer at the University at Albany, where he teaches courses in film history in the Art History Department. He is a film commentator on WAMC (Northeast) Public Radio and a Contributing Editor of Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide and several other Maltin publications. He is the author of Great Baseball Films and Baseball on the Web (which cited as a Top 10 Internet book), and the editor of Issues on Trial: Freedom of the Press. His film/television-related biographies include Matthau: A Life; Angela Lansbury: A Life on Stage and Screen; and Meet the Mertzes, a double biography of I Love Lucy's William Frawley and Vivian Vance (all co-authored with Audrey Kupferberg), and his byline has appeared in many reference books and dozens of periodicals. He is a frequent contributor to Base Ball: A Journal of the Early Game, edited by John Thorn, the official historian of Major League Baseball; the author of an essay on early baseball films for the Kino International DVD Reel Baseball: Baseball Films from the Silent Era, 1899-1926; and is an interviewee on several documentaries on the director's cut DVD of The Natural.

Audrey Kupferberg is Director of Film Studies at the University at Albany, where she teaches courses in film history in the Art and Art History Department. She also is a film and video consultant, archivist, and appraiser, and has been Director of the Yale Film Study Center and Assistant Director of the National Center for Film and Video Preservation at the American Film Institute. With her husband, Rob Edelman, she has co-authored several books, including Matthau: A Life; Angela Lansbury: A Life on Stage and Screen; and Meet the Mertzes, a dual biography of Vivian Vance and William Frawley.

Emeriti Faculty

Judith R. Baskin
Toby W. Clyman
Jerome Eckstein
Daniel Grossberg

Stanley J. Isser is an Emeritus Professor of Judaic Studies. Dr. Isser was trained an historian at Columbia University, where he earned a doctorate in ancient history with a specialty in Judaism and early Christianity. He is the author of The Dositheans: A Samaritan Sect in Late Antiquity (1976) and The Sword of Goliath: David in Heroic Literature (2003). His research interests in both Jewish and Christian histories include religious sectarianism, messianic thought and movements, and the historical and literary traditions about King David. He teaches courses on ancient and post-biblical Jewish history, biblical texts, and archaeology.