Eighth Annual OXFORD SUMMER INSTITUTE ON MODERN & CONTEMPORARY JUDAISM (OSI)
July 2-6, 2023
Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University of Oxford
in conjunction with the Berman Center for Jewish Studies, Lehigh University
Authority and Leadership in Modern and Contemporary Judaism
The Oxford Summer Institute on Modern and Contemporary Judaism (OSI) is an
interdisciplinary workshop where scholars of Jewish religion and culture from around
the globe join a large contingent of European Jewish Studies specialists, along with
select faculty from the University of Oxford, for a week of intensive study and
intellectual exchange. Designed to facilitate rigorous academic engagement on key
themes in the Jewish religion, it provides a framework for raising original and
challenging perspectives from a broad range of disciplines, with the potential to
provide novel insights into contemporary Judaism.
Entering its eighth year of in-person gatherings (not including two years of virtual
meetings due to the Covid pandemic), the OSI has facilitated unique informal
interfaces between veteran and early career researchers from diverse geographic and
disciplinary backgrounds. It has a particular interest in contributing to the ongoing
expansion of Jewish Studies throughout Europe. OSI ‘alumni’ are today a worldwide
network of researchers, who continue to learn and collaborate with each other. These
scholars attest to the profound experience that the OSI offers for rigorous interaction
with colleagues in a relaxed but focused framework that spurs creativity and critical
but non-judgmental discussion. The conveners of this gathering are Miri FreudKandel (Oxford University), Jodi Eichler-Levine (Lehigh University), Adam Ferziger
(Bar-Ilan University), and Hartley Lachter (Lehigh University).
The theme of OSI 2023 is ‘Authority and Leadership in Modern and Contemporary
Judaism’. Researchers utilizing a range of analytical tools will consider how these two
categories function in Jewish communities, both separately and together. We value
scholarship on pre-modern and modern matters that facilitates comparative historical
analysis of current developments, and we welcome proposals from scholars working
in any area of Jewish Studies.
Some of the broader questions that will frame the seminar are:
– What are the differences and points of connection between the categories of authority
and leadership in Jewish culture and thought?
– In what ways are these helpful frames for considering the relationship between
Jewish ideas and Jewish communal life, and in what ways might they require
– How do new ideas or modes of discourse become authoritative, and in what ways
does that support new modes of Jewish leadership?
– Are there forms of authority that are separate from communal leadership? And are
there forms of leadership that make no particular claims to authority?
– How have claims to authority and leadership in Jewish communities changed during
the 20th and 21st centuries?
– In what ways do novel forms of leadership or assertions of authority in the
contemporary period make recourse to pre-modern sources or practices?
-How do these categories function in Jewish spaces that are outside of the traditional
models of Jewish communities?
– How do modern and contemporary Jews grapple with issues of tradition and
innovation in terms of authority and leadership?
Applicants who are accepted will be asked to prepare an original paper (15-20 pages)
that will be distributed to the participants one month prior to the event. This
maximises constructive exchange and feedback during the workshop itself.
Application Deadline: January 15, 2023
Please note that we prioritise applications from the European continent.
In your application to participate, please include the following:
-A completed application form
-A resume and list of publications
-A detailed cover letter describing your current position, academic background,
current research projects, what you plan to present at the Institute, and how you
would benefit from participating
-An abstract (250-500 words) of your proposed paper
-The names of two academic references
All documents should be sent as a single PDF and submitted by email. Please submit
documents in one email.
We will only consider complete applications. We will inform you regarding the
results of your application as soon as possible after the deadline.
To apply, please email all required materials in a single PDF to OCHJS Academic
Administrator, Ms Priscilla Lange, at firstname.lastname@example.org before