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Symposium Explores Jewish Sovereignty, Brings Together International Scholars

Targum Shlishi Supports Oxford Summer Institute for Modern and Contemporary Judaism

(Miami, FL) November 8, 2015 – Conversion controversies in Israel, Orthodox Jewish feminism, and the incorporation in contemporary prayer books of recently discovered ancient prayers are a few of the many topics explored during the symposium State and Spirit: The Impact of Sovereignty on Judaism, the 2015 Second Annual Oxford Summer Institute for Modern and Contemporary Judaism (OSI-MCJ). A group of nineteen distinguished scholars based in five countries gathered in Oxford, England for nine days in late June and early July for the event, which Targum Shlishi helped to support.

The conference focused on “the diverse ways that key aspects of Jewish religious culture and practice have evolved in response to the growth of the modern Jewish state,” explains Professor Adam S. Ferziger of Bar-Ilan University, who co-organized the symposium with Dr. Miri Freud-Kandel of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. The aim of the conference was to examine the relationship between the establishment of the State of Israel—after two millennia of existing as a dispersed minority group living under the political rule of others—and the various ways that Judaism has developed since the 1948 establishment of a Jewish state.

“The scholarship generated by this conference and the level of discourse among the participants is impressive and inspiring,” says Aryeh Rubin, director of Targum Shlishi. “The conference is still young—it’s in its second year, but it has attracted renowned scholars and has already made major contributions to the field of Jewish Studies. Of particular pride is the fact that the materials presented in both of the first two years will be published, making this important scholarship widely accessible.”

The symposium was designed to maximize exchange among the scholars. To that end, each presentation was distributed to all participants to read in advance of the symposium. The sessions were organized such that after each presenter spoke, other experts provided formal responses, followed by an open discussion among all participants.

The scholars at the conference were: organizers Miri Freud-Kandel (University of Oxford), Adam Ferziger (Bar-Ilan University), Ilan Zvi Baron (University of Durham), Leora Batnitzky (Princeton University), Yoram Bilu (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Arye Edrei (Tel Aviv University Law School), Micah Goodman (Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Ariel Kahn (University of Roehampton), Shaul Kelner (Vanderbilt University), Brian Klug (University of Oxford), Elad Lapidot (Freie Universität Berlin), Sarh Lightman (University of Glasgow), Dalia Marx (Hebrew Union College, Jerusalem), David Myers (UCLA), Tamar Ross (Bar-Ilan University), Jeremy Schonefield (Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies), Meir Soloveichik (Yeshiva University), Nomi Stolzenberg (USC Law School), Kata Zsófia Vincze (ELTE University, Budapest).

This was the second year that Targum Shlishi has supported the symposium—last year, the inaugural year for the initiative, the topic centered on the seminal work of Rabbi Dr. Irving “Yitz” Greenberg.

The papers presented at the symposium will be published in the academic journal Jewish Studies Quarterly . In addition, the results of the first year’s symposium are currently being edited and will be posted on the website, an online archive of Rabbi Greenberg’s work, which was spearheaded and produced by Targum Shlishi.

About the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies
The Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies was founded in 1972 to help restore Jewish Studies in Europe in the aftermath of the Holocaust. Today it is the leading academic Jewish Studies center in Europe. The mission of OCHJS is to restore the legacy of Jewish scholarship in Europe, continue the tradition of Hebrew Studies at the University of Oxford, support advanced scholarship in academic Jewish Studies, promote examination of the interaction of Judaism and other world religions, and provide a scholarly understanding of contemporary Jewish life. For more information on the Centre, visit its website at

About Targum Shlishi 
Targum Shlishi is dedicated to providing a range of creative solutions to problems facing Jewry today. Premised on the conviction that dynamic change and adaptation have historically been crucial to a vibrant and relevant Judaism and to the survival of its people, Targum Shlishi’s initiatives are designed to stimulate the development of new ideas and innovative strategies that will enable Jewish life, its culture, and its traditions to continue to flourish. For more information on the foundation, visit its website. Follow Aryeh Rubin, Targum Shlishi’s director, on Twitter at

Contact: Targum Shlishi


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