Annual Report 2000-2001
1.1 This report may be read against the Centre's mission statement, now adopted in its Constitution:
The Centre seeks to
(i) maximise the teaching, undergraduate and postgraduate, of Jewish Studies in the University of Manchester;
(ii) foster collaborative research between staff of the University of Manchester and others in the region;
(iii) bring the results of academic work in Jewish Studies to the wider community through various forms of extra mural activity, and
(iv) maximise the benefit of these various activities through dissemination of appropriate results on the internet.
1.2 2000/2001 was the third year of activity of the Centre. A different form of extra-mural programme was mounted but with a rather indifferent reaction. There were successful series of Sherman Lectures, Research Seminars and Rabbinics Seminars. Attention continued to be paid to maximising the use of teaching resources in Jewish Studies for the purposes of developing and recruiting to undergraduate programmes. There was a record intake to the MA in Jewish Studies, and the number of PhD students in Jewish Studies is healthy. Serious efforts commenced to devise a collective AHRB research application. Continuing effort was devoted to long-term fund-raising, and to the development of the Centre's web site. A Constitution for the Centre was approved and implemented.
1.3 References to last year's report are in the form: 2000: §3.1.1.
2.0 Organisational development
2.1.1 The Centre now has some 31 Fellows, of whom only five are employed by the University primarily for Jewish Studies (three more in Bible and Ancient Near East), while the others (some employed by this University, some by other universities, some in other employment or self-employed) assist, often voluntarily, on a part-time basis. Fellows are appointed initially as Honorary Research Fellows (without further remuneration); in 2000/01, two of these appointments were converted into part-time Teaching Fellowships, with modest remuneration, and as from 2001/02 a third such appointment will be made (2.1.3 below). The Centre aspires to increase the number of such Teaching Fellowships, and ultimately to convert at least two of them into full-time positions, in order to strengthen the provision particularly of modern Jewish history and modern Hebrew literature.
2.1.2 Two new Fellows were appointed in the course of the last year: Dalia Hoshen (Bar-Ilan University, temporarily in Manchester), who delivered a rabbinics seminar, and Bina Rubin, who offered a mini-course in the Centre's extra mural programme, in conjunction with Lucille Cohen.
2.1.3 In 2000/01 Dr. Irene Lancaster and Dr. Alan Unterman were appointed Teaching Fellows, offering 2nd year courses respectively on Landmarks in Jewish History and Jewish Liturgy and Religious Practice. These were the first such appointments funded by the Centre; for the coming year Dr. Daniel Langton has also been appointed, to teach in Jewish-Christian Relations.
2.1.4 In 2000/01, the Centre was able to secure the services of Dr. Daniel Langton as part-time Co-Ordinator, concentrating on financial and web development. This appointment will continue in 2001/02.
2.2 Committee structure
2.2.1 The newly adopted Constitution formalises previous practice: day-to-day decision-making is in the hands of the Co-Directors, assisted by the Planning Committee, which now meets twice per annum. The External Liaison Committee has assisted both in defining the extra-mural programme and in deliberating upon the fund-raising strategy.
2.2.2 Under the Constitution, the initial terms of the Planning Committee expire on 31st August 2001. The Fellows' Committee, in a reserved section of the Annual General Meeting on July 4th 2001, re-elected the existing members of the committee to a further three-year term.
2.3 Collaboration with the Shoah Centre
The Centre continues to enjoy a close relationship with the projected Shoah Centre in Manchester, having provided the latter with shared office accommodation at the University. The Shoah Centre's part-time Secretary (20 hours per week), reciprocally, provides secretarial services for the Centre for Jewish Studies. The CJS Co-Ordinator has in the past year devoted substantial time to Shoah Centre development, and the Shoah Centre has made a 5k contribution to the CJS budget in recognition of this.
3.0 The 2000/2001 Programme
3.1 Extra-Mural Lectures
Four "mini-courses", each of either four or five sessions, were offered by Fellows of the Centre, the first (on Firebrands and Zealots: Jewish Radicals in Tsarist Russia) held at the Nicky Alliance Centre, the latter three (Aspects of Jewish-Christian Relations; Ancient Society in Jerusalem and the Holy Land: An Archaeological Approach; Anglo-Jewry: Overview 2000) at the Ashburne Hall of Residence (the Jewish Themes in Opera course had to be cancelled because of the lecturer's indisposition). The take-up fell substantially short of financial (and sometimes audience) viability. The response has been discussed by the External Relations Committee, the Planning Committee and the Annual General Meeting, with no very firm explanation emerging. It has been agreed to offer a more selective programme next year.
3.2 Research Seminars
3.2.1 A series of four Research Seminars was again organised, this year taking advantage of the presence in this country of a number of distinguished overseas visitors from Israel and the US: Gloria Mound, Emily Budick, Joseph Geiger and David Goodblatt. All were well attended and greatly enjoyed. In addition, the occasional ad hoc "Rabbinics Seminar" continued, taking advantage of the presence in Manchester of other visitors: Dalia Hoshen and Joseph Rivlin (both of Bar-Ilan University) and a feedback session with the Sherman Lecturer, Norman Solomon. Attempts are also being made to institute a rabbinics seminars at which postgraduate students will deliver papers.
3.2.2 As a result of a ballot of CJS Fellows, invitations to deliver CJS research seminars next year have been sent to Jonathan Magonet, Abner Weiss, Haym Maccoby and Ami Elad-Bouskila. It is anticipated that Robert Hayward and John Sawyer may also be invited to deliver papers at the Ehrhard seminars of the Dept. of Religions and Theology.
3.3 Sherman Lectures
3.3.1 The Sherman Lectures were delivered in 2001 by Rabbi Dr. Norman Solomon of Oxford, on the theme "Torah from Heaven". They attracted a very appreciative audience, of an above average size. Rabbi Dr. Norman Solomon also gave a rabbinics seminar and delivered a Community Lecture at Mamlock House. He provided substantial abstracts of his lectures for the web site.
3.3.2 The Sherman Lecturer 2002 will be Professor Fred Rosner of New York and Professor Tony Kushner of Southampton has been invited to deliver the Sherman Lectures in 2003.
3.4 MMU course
At the invitation of the Multicultural Studies Programme at Manchester Metropolitan University, the Centre again provided speakers for a course at MMU: this year, a four-week, one-evening-per-week, course on 'Jews in Society: Four Biographical Studies', which took place between mid-April and mid-May 2001.
3.5 Planning for 2001/02
3.5.1 Bernard Jackson has offered to provide a 4-5 week mini-course on "Agunah: The Classical Texts". Discussions are under way as to whether to hold this at the Yeshurun Synagogue, in conjunction with the Women's Group there.
3.5.3 At the request of the Southport Jewish Representative Council, an extra-mural course consisting of five lectures each by a different Fellow of the Centre is being arranged on the theme: "Us and Them: Jewish Identity, Ancient and Modern".
3.5.4 The External Liaison Committee has suggested holding a one-day conference on Jewish Heritage at the Rylands, Manchester, probably in association with the Balfour Trust.
3.5.5 Following discussion in the Planning Committee, Daniel Langton investigated the possibility of awarding a University Certificate in respect of the extra-mural programme. He found that such a Certificate required 120 credits (10 credits representing 20 hours' tuition). It was generally agreed that this represented too much work, both for students and the Centre, to be viable. Consideration is being given to a possible Certificate of Attendance at CJS extra-mural lectures. The extra-mural programme (e.g. Bernard Jackson's Agunah course) would continue to serve as taster courses for the MA.
3.5.6 There has been initial (positive) discussion of the Centre's collaborating with the Balfour Trust in next year's Jewish Book Week.
4.0 Archival Activities
4.1 This year has seen the initiation of a number of projects through which the Centre might continue its role of enhancing Jewish archives in Manchester.
4.1.1 Negotiations are proceeding for the possible 10-year loan of a major collection of Judaica books to the Rylands Library.
4.1.2 Bill Williams has agreed to donate 2000 books from his modern Jewish Studies collection to the Centre, provided that satisfactory arrangements may be made for secure housing and supervision.
4.1.3 Jackson's Row synagogue has agreed to donate c.30 books (originally from the Central Reference Jewish Studies library collection); Noam Livne has donated c.30 books; and Geoff Price has donated the entire works of Martin Buber and Ignaz Maybaum.
4.1.4 Elaine Graham (Head of School) has agreed to look into housing such a Centre mini-library (4.1.2-3) in the School Reading room, if the costs of secure-housing prove not to be prohibitive.
4.1.5 The Centre continues to be active in making available the fruits of archival work on the internet. Following the mounting of an index of the papers of Rabbi Israel Yoffey last year, an index of the oral history tapes of interviews with Manchester-based Holocaust survivors/refugees at the Manchester Jewish Museum, compiled by Lynne Jeskey, has also been mounted on the web site (http://www.art.man.ac.uk/reltheol/jewish/survivor.htm).
5.1 The Undergraduate Programme
5.1.1 Following the structural changes reported in last year's report (2000: §5.1.1), the first intake of students on the BA with Honours in Hebrew and Jewish Studies (in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies) is anticipated in September 2001.
5.1.2 Initial consideration has been given to the creation of a full BA with Honours in Jewish Studies (without a language requirement), but there are no plans for the immediate introduction of such a degree. The recruitment situation regarding the various existing Jewish Studies routes is being kept under review.
5.1.3 The Centre has reviewed publicity strategies in relation to the teaching programme. Further to discussions between Daniel Langton and the university offices concerned with both home and overseas recruitment, and the Development and Alumni Relation Office, plans are being developed to produce a new generation of somewhat more glossy market-specific CJS publications (an undergraduate brochure, an MA leaflet, and a general information folder); the Head of School has also indicated that she hopes to set aside funds for Research Centres to use for publicity, conferences, etc.
5.1.4 Bernard Jackson and Daniel Langton have met with University marketing people with regard to developing a marketing strategy designed to attract US Junior Year Abroad students; lists of personal contacts in academic institutions in Israel and the US have been compiled together with lists of institutions offering Junior Year Abroad as part of their programme.
5.2 The M.A. in Jewish Studies
5.2.1 The Centre recruited eight new students to the M.A. in Jewish Studies in 2000/01 - by far the largest intake to date. Initial indications suggest a slightly smaller intake in 2001/02.
5.2.2 2000/01 was the first year of the actual awards of the Lionel Black bursaries. Of the £3000.00 allocated, only half (supporting two part-time students) was taken up, since one full-time student to whom an award had been made did not register. As a result, £4500.00 was available for distribution for 2001/02, and this has been allocated to two continuing part-time students, one full-time student from Canada and one full-time student from Italy.
5.3 Postgraduate Research
Towards the end of 2000/01, the holder of the current three-year postgraduate studentship (now towards the end of the second year of her studentship) was successful in obtaining a university research fellowship, thus providing welcome relief to the Centre's budget. New income streams are required to reinstate this form of student support. However, a survey conducted in the course of the year revealed some 25 Ph.D. students in different areas of Jewish Studies (see Appendix).
6.1 Funded Research Projects
6.1.1 Members of the permanent university staff have been concerned in the past year with the achievement of their personal research targets, in the context of the coming RAE, for which the cut-off date for publications was the end of December 2000. Since then, energy has been devoted to the development of collaborative research plans. In particular, Philip Alexander, Alex Samely, George Brooke and Bernard Jackson have held several seminars designed to highlight areas of collaboration in the analysis of the history of Jewish hermeneutics. It is hoped to submit a substantial bid for research funding to the AHRB in the next round.
6.1.2 In March 2001, Bernard Jackson delivered a lecture in London in which he announced plans to establish an Agunah Research Unit within the Centre, should funding be forthcoming. Approaches are currently being made to private, public (AHRB) and community sources. A budget of £50,000 for each of five years is sought, to fund a postdoctoral fellow and several PhD projects.
6.1.3 A successful application was made by Daniel Langton to the Association of Jewish Refugees for 18k over three years to fund a PhD project on German-Jewish refugees in Manchester. The bursary will be known as the Association for Jewish Refugees Post-Doctoral Studentship.
It was reported last year (2000: §6.2) that much time and energy had been devoted in that year to the technical problems of making available articles with Hebrew script on the internet. Work on this, conducted largely by Daniel Langton, has been concluded and the journal has been "launched" with an announcement on the Shamash Jewish e-mail network. Two article submissions have already been received and are currently under peer review. Sadly, one member of the International Advisory Board, Michael Klein, died before the launch: an obituary will appear on the site.
6.3 A page publicising Recent Publications of Centre Fellows has been created.
7.0 Web development
7.1 The Centre continues to maximise the use of its various programmes, for the benefit of the wider community, by mounting texts generated by those programmes on its web site, freely available to all. Substantial abstracts of Rabbi Dr. Solomon's Sherman Lectures are now available on the site, as is the full text of a lecture on the (poor) prospects for Jewish-Christian liturgical collaboration, delivered by Dr. Tomes in the context of one of this year's extra-mural mini-courses.
7.2 The full text of Bernard Jackson's March 2001 London lecture on "Agunah and the Problem of Authority" is available on the web site (a documented version is in preparation), as is a substantial library of book reviews of Judaica prepared by Ephraim Nissan, entitled Tsur.
7.3 During the year, negotiations were concluded for the hosting by the Centre of a new web site constructed by Daniel Langton for the British Association for Jewish Studies, including the mounting of the BAJS Bulletin.
7.4 Also in collaboration with the British Association for Jewish Studies, Daniel Langton has conducted and mounted on the web site a Survey of Jewish Studies in the UK - the first of its kind on the internet.
7.5 In last year's report (2000: §7.3) there was discussion of the prospects for the provision by the Centre of a genuine "distance learning" facility (for both award-bearing and thus income-generating courses, and other purposes). It was noted that considerable investment is required even to pilot such schemes since substantial deployment of staff time is a necessity. This remains the case, and the calls on the time of Centre staff leave no scope at present for such development, much as we might desire it. However, the gradual increase of the use of WebCT software to enhance in-house teaching in the university may eventually provide a wider base of expertise, such as might facilitate provision of distance learning.
8.0 Relations with the Community
The observations made in this section last year remain valid. It remains difficult to secure interest in the Centre from either Jewish school or chaplaincy authorities, and the response of the community this year to the extra-mural programme was disappointing. Different forms of community involvement are being explored, e.g. those noted above in §§2.3 (Shoah Centre) and 3.5 (Yeshurun, Southport, Balfour Trust, Jewish Book Week). The Centre now has an extensive mailing list (and a slightly less extensive e-mail list), and members of the community regularly attend research seminars, as well as the Sherman lectures and the extra-mural programme.
The Centre has been able to carry forward some 17.5k to 2001/02, and to plan a balanced budget for 2001/02, including the position of Co-Ordinator, three Teaching Fellowships and 4.5k in MA bursary support. This is better than the projection in 2000: §9.2. However, the prospects for the following year are now worse, with some previous sources of funding no longer remaining available. Continuation of the current level of activity would accordingly result in a deficit of some 30k, unless new income streams are found.
9.2 Fundraising prospects
Further to the failure of a fundraising event reported in 2000: §9.2, efforts have been directed in 2000/01 to the location of new major income sources, one of them resulting from the expansion of the group of people seriously interested in assisting us in fundraising reported last year. As regards the forms of income generation highlighted in last year's report (2000: §9.3):
(a) Fundraising for general recurrent purposes remains particularly important but most difficult to achieve. There has been no progress as yet towards the institution of a Sponsors/Friends scheme, though there is renewed discussion of a fundraising social event. The problems are: (a) the relatively narrow base of those in the community interested in supporting university as opposed to communal causes and (b) the need for volunteers to devote substantial time to organisation. It may therefore prove necessary to seek basic infrastructural support in a different way.
(b) Discussions proceeded with the Zionist organisations regarding the possible establishment of a Lectureship in Israeli Studies, the holder of which might divide his time between the university and the community, but thus far there are no signs of positive support from the Embassy. Given the current situation in Israel, this may not be viewed as a priority, notwithstanding the widely acknowledged need to improve public knowledge of the situation in the Middle East.
(c) The Co-Ordinator has devoted considerable time and effort this past year to applications to appropriate charitable trusts and foundations for projects close to their known interests. The response has been almost universally disappointing, with the notable exception of the research project regarding Jewish refugees (§6.1.3, above).
(d) Significant preparatory work has been completed this year towards applications for public research funds and it is hoped that this may provide new funding in the course of next year (§§6.1.1-2). However, it is not likely to generate substantial income for the basic infrastructure of the Centre.
The Centre seeks support both for particular projects and general infrastructure. A range of sponsorship opportunities in relation to particular projects has been developed (see http://www.art.man.ac.uk/reltheol/jewish/support.htm) but general infrastructural support is also vital. The Planning Committee has agreed to seek a major sponsor whose name may be attached to the Centre, even for a limited number of years.
B.S. Jackson August 30, 2001