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Scholar-in-Residence and University Lectures

Temple Beth Am is committed to bringing the Seattle community important and informative topics that impact the Jewish people both historically and in modern times. Our Scholar-in-Residence and University Lecture Series presents engaging presenters and scholars who speak on their areas of expertise.

Past presenters and scholars include Former U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Freedom Rabbi David Saperstein; Rabbi Deborah Waxman; Noam Pianko on "Justifying Judaism in the Modern World"; Devin Naar on "The Sephardic Jewish Experience"; and 2017's University Lecture Series' scholar, Kathie Friedman, on "Immigrants and Refugees: We Were Once Strangers, Too."


April BaskinTemple Beth Am's 2018 Annual Scholar-in-Residence with Special Guest April Baskin
Friday, February 2 - Sunday, February 4
Temple Beth Am
April Baskin is the Vice President of Audacious Hospitality at the Union for Reform Judaism. Previously, she served as a the national Director of Resources and Training at InterfaithFamily. Dedicated to building a stronger, more inclusive Jewish community committed to  social justice, April has spent 10 years advocating for Jewish diversity and inclusion locally and nationally in a variety of ways, including facilitating LGBT educational trainings as a Keshet facilitator and writing a thesis about the experiences and identities of Jewish young adults of color in American Judaism.

Lectures are free to TBA members and open to the public through generous sponsorship by the Kaplan Family Fund.

Friday, February 2
Audacious Hospitality 101
8:00 PM: Choir Kabbalat Shabbat services followed by a festive oneg

Saturday, February 3
Racial Justice is a Jewish Issue
9:15 AM: Torah Study
4:00 - 5:30 PM: Afternoon lecture with Happy Hour Havdalah to follow

Sunday, February 4
Moving from Inclusion to Empowerment
10:00 - 11:30 AM: Morning Lecture

University Lecture Series

Hamza Mahmood ZaferTemple Beth Am's 2018 University Lecture Series with Professor Hamza Zafer
Wednesdays, March 7, 14, 21
7:00 - 8:30 PM
Temple Beth Am
$40/series or $15/lecture • Free for students with valid ID
Register through ChaverWeb.
Hamza Mahmood Zafer is the Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization at the University of Washington. His research focuses on the Quran’s polemical engagements with Jewish communities in Arabia and the portrayal of these communities in the earliest Muslim historical and exegetical writings up to the 9th century. His research interests include: Late Antique Judaism and Early Islam, Jewish-Muslim Encounters in the Quran and Early Muslim Historiographical and Exegetical Works, and Judeo-Arabic and Judeo-Persian Writings. Registration information coming soon.

Wednesday, March 7: "Judaism and Jewishness in Islam's Sacred Text"
Moses, Abraham, and Noah are the three most frequently appearing figures in the Quran. They appear in Quranic narrative as prophetic heroes who broke from their patrilineal communities to form new prophetic communities (ummas). This lecture is an introduction to Quranic cosmology and historiography by looking at the Quranic retellings of Biblical mythology from Genesis and Exodus. Why does the Quran rely so heavily on Biblical mythology? What can this tell us about the text’s original scope and audience? The preparatory readings will be selections from the Quran that feature different figures from the Hebrew Bible, notably Moses, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Wednesday, March 14: "Muhammad and the Jews of Arabia"
There were large Jewish communities in Arabia at the time of Muhammad (7th century). Numerous important figures in Muhammad’s canonical biography are memorialized as having been Jewish. These include Muhammad’s wife Safiyya bint Huyayy, the “Aaronid,” and his close companion Abdallah bin Sallam, the “Rabbi.” The presence of Jewish communities in the Middle East had a formative impact on the development of Islamic thought and practice. This lecture details the influence of late ancient and medieval Judaism on the development of classical Islam. Why is Jewish influence on classical Islam more pronounced than Christian influence? How does this influence inform contemporary Muslim attitudes towards Jews and Judaism? The preparatory readings will be stories from the canonical biography of Muhammad.

Wednesday, March 21: "The Flourishing of Judeo-Islamic Thought
For most of Islamic history, the majority of the world’s Jewish population has lived in Muslim majority areas e.g. Iraq, the Maghreb, etc. and/or under Muslim states e.g. al-Andalus, the Ottoman Empire, etc. This lecture is on the Judeo-Islamic experience. What were the consequences of this prolonged exposure? How did Muslim socio-political attitudes influence the development of Judaic institutions for over a millennium? The preparatory readings will be selections from the Cairo Genizah, as well as from the writings of Saadia Gaon, Judah Halevi, and Maimonides.


Become a Patron Sponsor for $100

Help ensure this annual learning series continues, while keeping ticket costs low for everyone. Patron sponsorship includes tickets to all lectures, attendance at an intimate private reception with our speaker prior to the final lecture, and acknowledgement of your sponsorship in the lecture program.