Professor Annette Aronowicz has been named a fellow at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia for the 2009-2010 academic year.
Aronowicz, who heads the Judaic Studies program at Franklin & Marshall College and holds the Robert F. & Patricia G. Ross Weis Professorship in Judaic Studies, will spend the year with more than 15 other Judaic studies scholars exploring the concept of Jewish secularism.
“We’re looking at what it means to secularize and the changing meaning of that term in the Jewish context,” Aronowicz said. “It will be exciting to share ideas and insights.”
Aronowicz earned the fellowship for her work studying Haim Sloves, a Jewish communist from Eastern Europe who wrote a number of plays in Yiddish after World War II.
Sloves’ plays and other writings, Aronowicz explained, reveal a problem when Jewish people attempt to embrace a secular ideology.
“What happened when communists, who had a strong allegiance to the Jewish people as well as the Soviet Union, attempted to navigate this double loyalty in the shadow of the World War and in the midst of the Cold War?” Aronowicz asked.
The fellowship includes a stipend of $40,000. Aronowicz also has been invited to teach a course during the spring term at the University of Pennsylvania on Emmanuel Levinas, the French ethical philosopher and Talmudic commentator.