Center for Advanced Judaic Studies

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Dropsie University Complex
WTP2 Mike Reali 06b.jpg
the original location of Dropsie University
Center for Advanced Judaic Studies is located in Philadelphia
Center for Advanced Judaic Studies
Location Broad and York Streets
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Coordinates: 39°59′20.2632″N 75°9′19.0548″W / 39.988962000°N 75.155293000°W / 39.988962000; -75.155293000
Area 2 acres (0.81 ha)
Built 1909
Architect Lewis F. Pilcher & W.T. Tachau
Architectural style Beaux Arts, Renaissance
Governing body private
NRHP Reference # 75001661[1]
Added to NRHP January 17, 1975

The Center for Advanced Judaic Studies (CAJS) at the University of Pennsylvania is the world's only institution exclusively dedicated to post-doctoral research on Jewish Civilization. It is located at 420 Walnut Street between S. 4th and S. 5th Streets in the Old City, Philadelphia neighborhood of Philadelphia. The center is directed by Professor David B. Ruderman.

History[edit]

Dropsie College[edit]

The institution now known as CAJS was founded in 1907 as the Dropsie College of Hebrew and Cognate Learning and finally as Dropsie University. It was named after its benefactor, Moses Aaron Dropsie (1821–1905),[2][3] a wealthy half-Jewish religious convert who willed his entire fortune to "the promotion of and instruction in the Hebrew and cognate languages and their respective literatures."

Dropsie granted more than 200 Ph.D.s between its inception and its closing as a degree-granting institution in 1986. Dropsie was also the publisher of the Jewish Quarterly Review, which was at the time the most respected journal on the subject.

Recent history[edit]

Although no longer a degree-granting college, it became the Annenberg Research Institute after its 1986 closing and turned into one of the country's most noted interdisciplinary post-doctoral fellowship programs. It merged with the University of Pennsylvania in 1993, after which the institution was renamed the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies. It continues to publish the Jewish Quarterly Review, the oldest continuously published Judaic studies journal in English.

Fellowships[edit]

Today, CAJS supports approximately 24 fellows each year who conduct their research at the University of Pennsylvania. Each fellow is given their own downtown Philadelphia office and meets with the others at weekly seminars. The papers they produce are published by the University of Pennsylvania Press at the conclusion of their term in the program.

Each year has a specific theme; scholars apply if their current research fits the annual theme. For example, for the 2005-2006 academic year, the theme was "The Jewish Book: Materials Texts and Comparative Contexts." For 2006-2007, fellows studied "Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Life under Caliphs and Sultans."

Library[edit]

The combination of the Dropsie/Annenberg library along with the University of Pennsylvania's resulted in a 350,000-volume collection on Judaica, including more than 8,000 rare books and an assortment of cuneiform tablets. Texts are available to scholars in Hebrew, English, German, Yiddish, Ladino, Arabic, and Latin.[4]

There are also 451 codices in eleven alphabets and 24 languages and dialects. Some of the languages and dialects represented, in addition to those already listed, include Judeo-Arabic, Armenian, Telugu, and Syriac. Fragments from the Cairo Genizah and others written in Coptic and Demotic on papyrus round out the collection.[4]

The library also holds the personal letters of more than 50 Jewish-American leaders from the 1800s and 1900s, including Isaac Leeser, Abraham Neuman, Cyrus Adler (a former Dropsie College president), Mary M. Cohen, Sabato Morais, Charles Cohen, Ben Zion Goldberg, and the benefactor Dropsie.[4]

The Center's headquarters on Walnut Street

Notable people[edit]

Many notable people in Judaic studies have been affiliated with CAJS or Dropsie in some capacity. Some include:

Dropsie College students

Dropsie College faculty

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ "Dropsie, Moses Aaron" The Jewish Encyclopedia website]
  3. ^ "Dropsie, Moses Aaron" Encyclopedia.com website
  4. ^ a b c Kiron, Arthur (2000). "The Professionalization of Wisdom: The Legacy of Dropsie College and Its Library" (PDF). University of Pennsylvania. p. 20. 

Bibliography

External links[edit]