Lebovic Summer Experience

The Joseph Lebovic Summer Experience in Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto

2017 Courses:

JGJ360H1F The Holocaust in Literature (Cross-listed with HIS389H1F)

Summer F term: Tuesdays 10:00am–1:00pm, Thursdays 10:00am–12:00pm

  • A full 0.5 FCE credit in just 6 weeks
  • Interdisciplinary perspective on Holocaust Studies
  • Independent research topics with hands-on supervision
  • Students enjoy free access to select community events
  • No previous background in Jewish Studies required


The course examines literary works written in different languages, in ghettos and concentration camps during the Holocaust, as well as those reflecting on the genocide in its aftermath. We focus on literature as a means of engaging with the unimaginable and on the cross analysis of eye-witness and memory writing.

CJS390H1S: Mizrahim in Israel: History, Politics, and Culture

Summer S Term: Tuesdays 4:00pm–6:00pm, Thursdays 4:00pm–6:00pm

  • A new summer course in Toronto
  • A full 0.5 FCE credit in just 6 weeks


What is the significance of the designation "Mizrahi" in Israel today? Does it refer to people who share a common geographical and ethnic origin or does it indicate a shared worldview that draws upon Middle Eastern Arabic culture? What are its relations with other terms, such as "Sephardi," "Oriental," or "Levantine"? What kind of political membership does it entail? Does it possess a certain cultural, religious, or political vocabulary? And, ultimately, does the diasporic concept of "Mizrahiyut" (mizrahiness) undermine national homogeneity or rather facilitate and enable its enforcement?

One of the immediate regional impacts of the 1948 war in Palestine/Israel was the arrival of 750,000 Middle Eastern and North African Jews in the newly-establish State of Israel. "Mizrahim" has now become a common socio-political term describing Israeli Jews whose ancestors lived for many centuries in the territories that in the 20th century became Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen. This course offers a systematic study of the historical developments that shaped pivotal social and political moments from the Yemenite Children Affair (1950's), the Wadi Salib Riots (1959), the Black Panthers Movement (1971), the establishment of Shas party (1984), the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow Coalition (1996), to Tor Ha-Zahav (2016), and others. Students are invited to explore the long debates around the term Mizrahim and the identities and histories it claims to represent, by working closely with scholarly articles and monographs (critical Mizrahi scholarship, as well as studies about Mizrahim), political statements, personal testimonies and memoirs, poetry and fiction, music, theater, and cinema.


The 2017 Lebovic Summer Experience course on the Holocaust in Literature is taught by Professor Doris Bergen and Professor Anna Shternshis:

Doris L. Bergen is the Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Professor of Holocaust Studies and Graduate Director of the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. She is the author of War and Genocide: A Concise History of the HolocaustTwisted Cross: The German Christian Movement in the Third Reich; and numerous articles on issues of religion, gender, and ethnicity in the Holcoaust and World War II. 

Anna Shternshis is the Al and Malka Green Associate Professor of Yiddish Studies and the Acting Director of the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto. She is the author of Soviet and Kosher: Jewish Popular Culture in the Soviet Union, 1923–1939 (Indiana University Press, 2006) and over 20 articles in the field of Russian Jewish culture and post-Soviet Jewish diaspora. She is currently completing two books: one devoted to the Jewish daily life in the Soviet Union from the 1930s to the 1980s, and another about the evacuation of Soviet Jews during World War II.

The 2017 Lebovic Summer Experience course on Mizrahim in Israel is taught by Professor Yigal Nizri:

Yigal S. Nizri is Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, in the Department for the Study of Religion and the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies. His area of interest includes Modern Jewish history, Maghribi halakhic traditions, Jewish history of the Islamic world, and Hebrew instruction. He serves as Associate and Undergraduate Director of the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies.


The Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto boasts one of the world's largest and most distinguished faculty cohorts. The Centre draws on a long and distinguished tradition of excellence in scholarship, teaching, and programming across the many areas that comprise Jewish Studies. The Centre consequently has a global reputation as a premiere location for teaching and research in Jewish Studies.


Toronto is home to an ever-growing, vibrant Jewish community. The Lebovic Summer Experience provides students with access to the community's cultural offerings, which include the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, the Jewish Literary Series, Jewish Music Week, Yiddishtog, and more. With complimentary tickets to these and other events, students will experience firsthand Jewish life in the city.


Students will engage in co-curricular activities in order to foster a genuine learning community. Students in Jewish Studies from across Canada will have an opportunity to connect with each other beyond the classroom through seminar discussions and community-based programs, as well as optional social activities.


UofT students can add the courses to their record on ROSI/ACORN.


Visiting students can apply to attend the University of Toronto for the summer term through the Woodsworth College Visiting Student Program. Once accepted, students should contact Emily Springgay at cjs.toronto@utoronto.ca to enrol in the course. The program allows students to transfer their credits back to their home institutions. Visiting students are granted access to all University of Toronto student services, including extensive library collections, athletic facilities, and health services. Visiting students will receive information on finding housing through the Woodsworth College Visiting Student Program. Residence is also available at Woodsworth College.  

Students may direct their inquires about the summer semester at the University of Toronto to visiting.students@utoronto.ca or can learn more here.


U of T students may be eligible for a merit award upon completion of the course.


To learn more, contact the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies.

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