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Sex, Yiddish and the Law: Jewish Life in Metz in the 18th Century
Oct 21 2013

MONDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2013 | 6:30pm
Jay Berkovitz, University of Massachusetts; Magda Teter, Wesleyan University

Click HERE to watch the video.

In Fall 2013, the YIVO Institute and the Center for Jewish History present an exhibition, a conference and four public programs that explore the Jewish community in Metz, France in the 18th and 19th centuries. These programs were inspired by the Pinkas (Register) of the Metz Rabbinic Court, a rare and little-known document from the collections of the YIVO Archives.

The exhibition and program series are made possible by the generous support of The David Berg Foundation, The Selz Foundation, and Emil Kleinhaus.

Jay Berkovitz, author of the upcoming publication Protocols of Justice: The Pinkas of the Metz Rabbinic Court, 1771-1789 and Magda Teter, scholar of early modern religion and law, take a rare look at three individual court cases recorded in the Pinkas of Metz. Selected because of their illuminating character, these cases offer a glimpse into the cultural, legal and sexual lives of members of the Metz Jewish community, challenging scholars’ assumptions about Jewish modernization, religion, and life in pre-revolutionary France.

Jay Berkovitz is Professor and Chair of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. An expert in early modern Jewish history and culture, he specializes in Jewish law, ritual, and communal governance. He is the author of several books on the Jews of France, including Rites and Passages: The Beginnings of Modern Jewish Culture in France, 1650-1860 (2004) and Protocols of Justice: The Rabbinic Court of Metz, 1771-1789, which is scheduled for publication in Fall, 2013. Berkovitz was the 2011-2012 Inaugural National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Scholar Fellowship, co-sponsored by the Center for Jewish History. He currently serves as joint editor-in-chief of the academic journal Jewish History.

Magda Teter is Professor of History and the Director of the Jewish and Israel Studies Program at Wesleyan University. She specializes in early modern religious and cultural history, with an emphasis on Jewish-Christian relations in Eastern Europe, the politics of religion, and transmission of culture among Jews and Christians across Europe in the early modern period. Teter is the author of Jews and Heretics in Catholic Poland, Sinners on Trial (2006), and a co-editor of and contributor to Social and Cultural Boundaries in Pre-modern Poland (2010). Teter's work has been supported by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2012), the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation (in 2007 and 2012), the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, YIVO Institute, and the Yad Ha-Nadiv Foundation (Israel), among others. In 2002, she was a Harry Starr Fellow in Jewish Studies at Harvard University, and in 2007-2008, an Emeline Bigelow Conland Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies also at Harvard University.