Annual reports: 1999-2000, 2000-01, 2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2010-11, 2011-12


Annual Report 2007-2008


1        Staffing 
1.1     Jean-Marc Dreyfus, Lecturer in Holocaust Studies, took up his appointment in September 2007.

1.2     Harry Lesser retired in September 2008, though he continues to teach part-time and retains his Honorary Research Fellowship of the Centre, which he represents on the Greater Manchester Jewish Representative Council.


2.       Teaching

2.1     The courses on offer in 2007/08, and enrolments in them, are listed in Appendix 1. They show an increase from 372 to 415 in course units taken at the undergraduate level, but a decline from 33 to 22 at the MA level. It is gratifying to see that the courses of our new members of staff, Moshe Behar in Israeli Studies and Jean-Marc Dreyfus in Holocaust Studies (the latter will be reflected in the 08/09 figures) are proving extremely popular, as do those of Daniel Langton (returned in 07/08 from sabbatical). Now that Holocaust Studies has been added (with effect from 08/09) to the subject areas available to Combined Studies students, it will be possible in future to take a full degree in Jewish Studies and Holocaust Studies. We have hopes that this will significantly enhance recruitment.

2.2     The MA in Holocaust Studies recruited 2 students in its first year of running properly, i.e. since we were able to advertise for the programme both online and in our MA brochures over the previous academic year. Since then, the programme has changed significantly due to Jean-Marc Dreyfus’s appointment, which led to the addition of a number of new units, as well as the restructuring of the MA European Languages and Cultures, which forms the umbrella for the MA pathway in Holocaust Studies. The programme now looks significantly more coherent and attractive, and will hopefully help us to increase our students numbers over the next years.
2.3     Enrolment of PhD students continued to be very healthy (see for the current list. Successful completions in 07/08 were Simon Adnams Lasair (“A Narratological Approach to the Pentateuch Targums”) and Suzanne Knol, “An Historical Overview of Some Overt Ideological Factors in the Development of the Agunah Problem”).


3.       Sherman Lectures

3.1    The Sherman Lectures 2008 were delivered on 7th-10th April (preceded by a Community Lecture on the 6th) by Prof. Melissa Raphael-Levine, Professor of Jewish Theology at the University of Gloucestershire, on ‘A Post-Holocaust Theology of Jewish Art’ and were much appreciated. Further details may be found at

3.2     The 2009 lectures will be delivered on the 11th-14th May 2009 by Prof. Sander Gilman, Distinguished Professor of the Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor of Psychiatry at Emory University, on ‘German-Jewish Exiles in London 1933-1950’, preceded by a Community Lecture on the 10th on “‘Mark the Music’: Jews, Music, and Modern Life”. Full details will appear at


4.       Research Seminars

          The Jewish Studies research seminars, running fortnightly through the teaching semesters, proved a success.  Full details, including abstracts, may be found at  The experiment of making digital recordings of selected seminars available on the website has commenced.


5        Research

5.1     Rylands Geniza Manuscripts:

The project is going at a good pace. There were two changes of staff over the last year: Jane Donaldson (cataloguing assistant) left in October 2007 and was replaced in January 2008 by Anna Harper, James Robinson (photographer) was immediately replaced in November 2008 by Gwen Jones. 
AHRC funding runs out at the end of August for Renate Smithuis and at the end of December 2009 for Anna and James (who is on secondment). The objective is that by the end of the AHRC project images of all Rylands fragments will have been put on the web and the majority of fragments will have been catalogued. Several ways to find new funding to continue the project afterwards are currently being considered so that all fragments will be catalogued over the next few years and the catalogue entries will be further enhanced. 
The second workshop on prayer and liturgical poetry fragments in the Rylands Genizah collection took place between 2nd June and 3rd June 2008. A third workshop is planned for 2009.

5.2     Jewish Built Heritage:

          The project has been commended as “Outstanding” by the AHRC. Dr. Kadish’s book, The Synagogues of Britain and Ireland: An Architectural History, is more-or-less written. She is now revising and checking footnotes etc. Photography by English Heritage. Publication aimed by 2010.

          For further information about publications and the allied activities of Jewish Heritage UK, see

5.3     Jewish Refugees: ( )

          A book entitled Jews and Other Foreigers: Refugees from Fascism in the Manchester Region, based on the funded research has now been completed.  The first draft - 400,000 words long - needs now to be edited down to meet the publisher’s demands.  This work is in progress.

5.4     Agunah Research Unit

          The Unit was at full strength throughout the year, at the end of which Dr. Avishalom Westreich returned to Israel and Shoshana Borocin-Knol completed and successfully defended her PhD thesis. The Unit has now published 12 working papers (downloadable from, with two more currently being prepared for publication. A highly successful private conference of agunah specialists (9 from Israel, 1 from the US) was held in Manchester in July 2008, providing the Unit with valuable feedback on its work to date, and paving the way for its final report.

5.5     Anonymous and Pseudepigraphic Jewish Literature (funded by the AHRC 2007-2011):

          The Project has successfully completed the first of its four years. It has achieved its goal of creating a new systematic descriptive framework for ancient Jewish documents. Work is progressing on creating a database of literary ‘profiles’ of post-biblical Jewish books such as Enoch, Tobit, Judith or Jubilees, the near-complete Dead Sea Scrolls such as the Damascus Document or the Temple Scroll, and all works of the classical rabbinic period, including Midrashim, Mishnah Tractates, and Tractates of the two Talmuds. An international symposium on forms of rabbinic literature, placed within the wider context of the literature of the Ancient Near East and Graeco-Roman world, will take place in Manchester in January 09. One of the two PhD students attached to the Project, Hedva Rosen (neé Abel) has begun her work. There is a website which provides further information on the project (including a paper presented at the Manchester JudaicaFest in July 08):

5.6     Academic Visitor: Mayer I. Gruber, Professor in the Department of Bible Archaeology and Ancient Near East at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheva, Israel was an Honorary Research Fellow in the Centre for Jewish Studies March-June, 2008. In addition to participating in the weekly Agunah Research Unit meetings, Professor Gruber presented seminar papers for the Erhardt Seminar in Biblical Studies, the Middle East Studies Seminar, and the Manchester-Lausanne Annual Seminar in Biblical Studies. He and Daniel Langton were of great help to each other in their respective researches concerning Grace Aguilar. In addition, Professor Gruber utilized the John Rylands University Library to make considerable progress on his commentary on The Book of Hosea for Sheffield Phoenix Press.

5.7     Melilah: Two further articles were added, including the first full PhD thesis: Roy Shasha, “The Forms and Functions of Lists in the Mishnah” (PhD thesis, University of Manchester, 2006); Tobias Green, “Equal Partners? Proselytising by Africans and Jews in the 17th Century Atlantic Diaspora”, Melilah 2008/1, pp.1-12. They are downloadable from Several further articles are in preparation for mounting later in 2008. An increasing number of unsolicited submissions is being received, from around the globe. The web site was given a makeover by Daniel Langton.


6        Outreach

6.1     CCE courses: The difficulties encountered by this programme were noted in last year’s report. Two courses were offered in 2007-08, one located in the Community, but neither attracted the minimum enrolment. This was attributed largely to the university’s current pricing policy for these courses. A review of alternative options is now in progress.

6.2     Collaboration with AIAS and Balfour: Occasional lectures continue to be organised in conjunction with the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society, generously supported by Mr. Joe Dwek and the Balfour Trust.

6.3     The series of lectures mentioned in last year’s report, on “Religion and the Welfare State”, in collaboration with Manchester Reform Synagogue (Jackson’s Row), was held October-November 2007, under the auspices of the synagogue, the Centre for Jewish Studies and the Centre for Religion and Political Culture, and proved a great success. Details are available at, from which podcasts of the four lectures, by Clive Lawton, Imtiaz Hussain, Graham Ward and Michael Hoelzl, may be downloaded. This represented the Centre’s first foray into digital recording and dissemination.

6.4     2008 Conference: The “Manchester JudaicaFest” anticipated in last year’s report took place, to considerable acclaim, on July 20-24th 2008, combining the annual conference of BAJS (the British Association for Jewish Studies), the biennial conference of The Jewish Law Association and a special colloquium on “Jewish Culture in the Age of Globalisation”. Over 160 participants attended, from all parts of the globe. We were able to support a number of postgraduate students from Europe and Israel. A number of Manchester research projects were featured. Two evening sessions were open to the public, one on Parallel Civil and Religious Jurisdictions, the other on the Agunah problem (at Whitefield synagogue), with lectures by Rabbis Shear-Yashuv Cohen of Haifa and Shlomo Riskin (of Efrat).


7        Resources

7.1     The library continues to be generally open 2 days per week during teaching terms.  Both members of the university and the wider public are eligible to use it for both reference and borrowing (for up to one month). Usage, however, has been low. The Rylands library has now established a link from its web site to our catalogue: :
            The offer received last year from the widow of the late Professor Lionel Kochan to donate his library (in modern Jewish history) was accepted, and the books have now been received. Some are going into the Rylands library; others (which would duplicate the Rylands collection) are being added to the CJS library, which is now expanding into a second room.

7.2     Web site ( There was no progress last year on the anticipated major revision of the Centre’s web site, but we hope to make progress in the coming year, using our own resources.

7.3     Laski Internet Resource Centre ( Further progress on this project has been delayed by the difficulty in recruiting (part-time student) staff to prepare additional entries, but work in verifying and where necessary updating the links on the present database has been completed.


8        Finances

8.1     Future Budgeting: The outlook is currently uncertain, as a result of difficulties in usable carry-forward balances and a possible need to fund a deficit on the JudaicaFest.

8.2     Fundraising: The situation remains much as last year, except that the anticipated approaches to selected donors have not yet been implemented. Some £5000 was raised from local sources in support of the JudaicaFest, and a new 5-year plan is currently being developed, which will inform future fundraising strategy.




Student Numbers                                            



Semester 1

Semester 2





RELT 10140 Biblical Hebrew (AHC5

RELT 10140 Biblical Hebrew (AHC5


RELT 10101 World of Ancient Israelites (AHC25

RELT 10192 Introduction to Judaism (PSA62


MEST 10211 Modern Hebrew Language 1A (SG3

MEST 10212 Modern Hebrew Language 1B (SG4


MEST 10810 The Middle East Before Islam (JH15

MEST 10810 The Middle East Before Islam (JH15


ULHB 10030 Beginners' Hebrew(SG: LEAP) 9

MEST 10042 Intro to Q of Palestine/Israel 1882-196 (MB45








RELT 20170 Biblical Hebrew Texts (AHC4

RELT 20170 Biblical Hebrew Texts (AHC4


MEST 20211 Modern Hebrew Language 2A (SG2

RELT 20182 Prophetic Literature (AHC)24


RELT 20611 Intro to History of Jewish-Christian Rels (DL33

MEST 20212 Modern Hebrew Language 2B (SG2


MEST 20241 Talmudic Judaism: Sources and Concerns (AS4

MEST 20222 Hebrew Language Texts (SG8


MEST 20272 Fundamental Debates in Israeli Studies 8

MEST 20252 Readings in Talmudic Judaism (AS3



RELT 20702 Jewish-Christian-Muslim Controversies (PSA, RS) 44








RELT 30380 Biblical Hebrew Texts II (AHC/GB1

RELT 30380 Biblical Hebrew Texts II (AHC0


RELT 30921 Israelites and Canaanites (AHC15

RELT 30192 History of Jewish Law  (BSJ4


MEST 30221 Modern Hebrew Literature (SG0

RELT 30172 Mystical Tradition (PSA) 15


MEST 30270 Modern Hebrew Language IV (SG0

MEST 30210 Modern Hebrew Language III (SG4


MEST 30721 Formation of Jewish + Arab Nationalisms (MB) 9

RELT 30282 Mod Jewish Thought (RS)1 (ISU)


RELT 30911 Early Jewish Novels (BA Enhanced) (GB) 5

RELT 30332 Holocaust Theology (DL)36








RELT 70380 Biblical Hebrew Texts II (AHC0

RELT 70380 Biblical Hebrew Texts II (AHC0


RELT 70921 Israelites and Canaanites (AHC0

RELT 70921 Israelites and Canaanites (AHC0


RELT 90651 Sources, Resources and Methods (PSA4

ELAN 60982 Holocaust Representations in Visual


RELT 90811 Jewish Approaches to Paul and Jesus (DL) 2



Culture (CG1



MEST 60510 ME Jews before and after 1948 (MB3

ELAN 61022 Literary Representations of the


RELT 70911 Early Jewish Novels (BA Enhanced) (GB) 3



 Holocaust (UT)



RELT 60151 Jewish Question in Modern Europe (SK) 2

RELT 90922 Dead Sea Scrolls (GB1


RELT 71011 Antisem’m, the Nation and Social Theory (MS)

RELT 90192 Jewish Law and The Agunah (BSJ1


RELT 70140 Biblical Hebrew (AHC0

RELT 60172 Modern Jewish Thought (RS1


MEST 63001 Transformations in Jewish Identity (MB0

RELT 60112 Holocaust Theology (DL1


RELT 70141 Jewish Art (SK) 2

ELAN 60312 Jewish Culture in the German- Speaking Context (CG) 1