Crossposted at WWPD.

Last month I presented a paper at a UCLA conference on Middle Eastern and North African Jewry, so I was curious to see that UC Irvine is hosting one on similar themes. What I cannot understand is why Rabbi Yonah of Jewlicious sees this conference as somehow ‘bad for the Jews.’

After looking at the conference’s panels, he writes, “the issue of the displacement of Jews is a massive human rights issue that is ignored.” Indeed, that subject does not seem to come up. He considers this a problem because he is interpreting what appears to be a conference put on by scholars from Spanish literature departments as a political response, almost a town-hall meeting, to the concerns of the contemporary Jewish people generally, and of the Jewish population of UC Irvine in particular. He adds, “The conference is part of a larger attempt by the University to deflect criticism as being a place hostile to Jewish students.”

If my sense is correct about academic conferences, a tiny, tiny percentage of the university, Jewish or otherwise, will know about this conference (more via Jewlicious than would have otherwise), and a tinier proportion still will actually show up. I don’t know anything about this university in particular, but given the titles of the presentations, I find it hard to believe that this conference is geared at placating undergraduates. It looks very academic, which I don’t see as a problem, but do see as evidence that the motives might not be what Rabbi Yonah has in mind. In other words, while other programs he mentions, like kosher meals, might be part of “a not-so-secret attempt to portray the campus as a hospitable place” for Jewish students, I fail to see how a conference of this nature fits the bill.

He also writes, “Study and research into Sephardic culture is a very worthwhile area of study—however, ensuring that Jewish students receive fair and equal treatment on campus, without fear of reprisal or intimidation, seems to be a much more pressing issue.” Fine, but why does the responsibility of protecting Jewish students at this university fall on the Spanish and Portuguese literature department? How is there a zero-sum contest of talks on “Gender and meaning in the Sephardic ballads of Latin America” and whatever anti-defamation program the rabbi has in mind?

As for the conference itself, Rabbi Yonah writes:

Rather than pressing Sephardic issues, such as the displacement of 850,000 Jews from Muslim countries in North Africa and the Middle East since the founding of Israel in 1948 [pictured on right], the one day conference delves into topics such as: “Sephardic Culture and Hispanic Studies”, “Andalusi Jews and Sephardim”, “Crypto-Jews, Conversos, and the Doenmeh/Maaminim of Salonica” etc.

Not to get too technical, but perhaps no one submitted a paper on the expulsion of Jews from Arab countries. At academic conferences, not everything is covered, and the basis on which papers are accepted is rarely, to my knowledge, how overtly relevant they are to political issues of the day; when that is the case, it’s generally a bad thing, unless the field is by definition about the present time. It’s absurd to object to scholarship when it fails to be on a subject with obvious social relevance. (I wish there were a paper on the Sephardic Jews of France, but each to his own.)

Given the title of the conference, “Sephardic Jews Beyond Spain,” it’s not surprising the discussion would not center around Mizrahi Jews/Jews from Arab countries, since these are, as I understand, two overlapping but not identical populations. It’s not clear to me why scholars from Spanish and Portuguese literature departments would have any special knowledge about the expulsion/dispersion of Jews from Muslim countries. I should point out that I do think the migration is an important concern, and one not entirely beyond the scope of those in a French studies department (consider North Africa), but to expect one conference to hit upon everything, including things outside of its focus, is a problem.

Finally, and here is where I get a bit frustrated, Rabbi Yonah mentions: “One session on Ottoman Jews could be interesting, but it is being given by a woman who specializes in Turkish Jews— not the Jews of Palestine.” Hmm. A talk in Jewish studies can be interesting even if it is not about Israel. I promise! Or at least I hope, since I’m in 19th century French-Jewish studies myself, and any relevance to Israel is indirect at best. It’s worth bringing up BHL’s point once more, about how Judaism should not primarily be about raising awareness of anti-Semitism. I’m not saying that the study of Jewish history should ignore the historical and literary presence of anti-Semitism–believe me, it’s there wherever you look–but that Jewish studies should not be confused with a scholarly anti-defamation league. There’s something positive about Jewish studies, whatever the findings. The focus should be on the Jews as a people worth understanding, or at least that’s where I see my role in all of this.

Latest posts by phoebe (see all)

About the author

phoebe

62 Comments

  • Thank God we don’t agree on everything. However, as you can see from my follow up post – there is a serious problem on the campus, and I will use the opportunity of the Sephardic conference to point it out. Why? Because UCI _WILL_ use the conference to show it’s cool with Jews.

    Again, I invite you in the spring for the annual hate fest, then perhaps, you can understand why this Rabbi is up in arms.

    And Judaism, and Rabbi Yonah are certainly NOT about anti-Semitism – that was low blow, and a decidedly unfair one. I spend 20 hours of my day dedicated to Jewish life and not anti-Semitism. I feel that it is a Jewish and moral imperative to speak out against the injustice at UCI, and I will continue to do so until change happens.

    I agree that Jewish studies is important and positive and made no claim to the contrary in my post. I myself spent several years devoted to the task in Poland and Oxford.

    Sorry to have hit your button.

  • Oh and one more point:
    Indeed, that subject does not seem to come up. He considers this a problem because he is interpreting what appears to be a conference put on by scholars from Spanish literature departments as a political response, almost a town-hall meeting, to the concerns of the contemporary Jewish people generally, and of the Jewish population of UC Irvine in particular

    Sorry but that is not what I meant at all.

  • “I spend 20 hours of my day dedicated to Jewish life and not anti-Semitism.”

    I don’t know you personally, or how you spend your time. I was responding to a post, not a person. But that’s good to know.

    “Sorry but that is not what I meant at all.”

    This is how I interpreted the post. What was it supposed to mean, then? Fighting anti-Semitism at UC Irvine, and raising awareness about the fate of Middle Eastern and North African Jews, are both worthy causes. Agreed. But how is it at all the place of what is essentially a non-contemporary literature conference to address either of these issues?

    If UC-Irvine does in fact say, look, we’ve addressed contemporary anti-Semitism on our campus, because we allowed a literature department to host a scholarly conference on Sephardim, then at that point it would be fair to say, are you kidding? But it doesn’t appear that they have done so. Unless you know something about this beyond what you wrote in the post, there’s no reason I can see to assume the conference exists–or, for that matter, will later be invoked–to placate the university’s Jewish population.

    It’s a stretch at best to read into the existence of this conference a plot to detract attention from what does sound like a serious problem at this university. What your post does is take out energy that should be spent fighting the problem at hand (which you’re doing already, I understand) on what sounds like an interesting series of presentations.

  • You both make valid points. As for the topics presented at a conference depending on the handed in papers, an academic conference chair is not only responsible for the conference’s organisation but also to make sure a balanced array of topics will be provided. Ergo if the papers a conference chair gets handed in that the chair finds interesting enough to receive more coverage lean to one direction, the chair can (and often does) contact scholars that will provide a different view.
    No doubt you both know the rhetoric pattern, “I’m not an anti-Semite. I’ve even got Jewish friends, BUT . . .”

  • “Ergo if the papers a conference chair gets handed in that the chair finds interesting enough to receive more coverage lean to one direction, the chair can (and often does) contact scholars that will provide a different view.”

    From what it sounds like, the papers don’t lean in any direction, and the conference is simply not about the subject Rabbi Yonah thinks it ought to be about.

  • But would a more comprehensive view, as that is what I understand Rabbi Yonah would have liked, not only have provided the needed background information (assuming that, as at most conferences held on-site, students of all subjects and levels of studies are welcome to attend lectures) but also contextual balance?
    Considering the huge impact Northern African Arabs have had on the Iberian Peninsula, it makes sense to assume that there indeed is a cultural correlation between Northern African and Iberian Jews that goes beyond religious affiliation.

  • TM – someone paid for those professors to come in. Universities are brands, like all businesses, and to presume otherwise is naive.

    It’s a stretch at best to read into the existence of this conference a plot to detract attention from what does sound like a serious problem at this university.

    Plot? as in diabolical? No. Cynical? Yes.

  • The real question, froylein, is what business any of us have second guessing the lineup at an academic conference. Why are you worried about whether students at some campus thousands of miles away have the proper background in North African Jewry? You’re not looking for “balance.” You’re looking to politicize an academic event, to draw it into an ongoing campaign by outside agitators to which Rabbi Yonah has already alluded in this exchange. The report of the Task Force on Anti-Semitism at UCI, of which Rabbi Yonah was a member, is, as far as I can tell, an extreme example of Jewish institutional fear mongering. It recommended that Jewish students not enroll in the university. UCI’s Hillel has distanced itself from the report. Which is all to say, let’s take a deep breath before meddling any more in the affairs of the school.

  • Why are you worried about whether students at some campus thousands of miles away have the proper background in North African Jewry?

    To understand what they’re talking about mayhaps? Without the proper background knowledge, any studies easily become nothing more but an out-of-context facade.

    You’re looking to politicize an academic event

    Uhm, not exactly. I just know that “akademia” (ck, why can’t I have a Greek font here? 🙁 ) , based on the Ancient ideals, consists out of consens and dissens on topics. To agree or disagree with something tough, it takes a sound understanding of that very something to eventually form an opinion.
    BTW, I’m thousands of miles away from the UCI.

  • While you may not be, Rabbi Y certainly is. And I think that pheobe made that point very clearly. I’m just supporting with details of Rabbi Y’s involvement in said politicization.

  • I am a big fan of Rabbi Yonah. However my first instinct regarding his initial post was “wha…??” I mean, let them have their conference on North African Jewry, who cares? I for one, being of North African heritage and all, certainly appreciate any academic attention to my peeps, their heritage and culture. But then I recalled the time I spent at UCI during their annual “I Hate Israel and Most Jews” day, and I have to say that was a very disconcerting experience. That’s saying a lot from a graduate of Concordia University who was in the thick of the Netanyahu Riot and saw kipas smacked off heads, Holocaust survivors spat upon and people generally terrorized. That having been said, I understand Rabbi Yonah’s passion and concern.

    I don’t really know what to think. Phoebe makes some valid points – it’s an academic conference and has very little to do with the issue at hand. Of course it would have been nice to talk about our people’s dispossession and all – a conference on North African Jews that does not even mention their expulsion is like, I don’t know, having a conference about contemporary Palestinian culture without mentioning the Nakba? I think Palestinians would be plenty pissed about that.

    So I would cut Rabbi Yo a little slack but also remind him that it’s academia and we cannot visit the sins of the UCI administration on the profs of the friggin Spanish Department. Has anyone asked them to throw in an extra panelist maybe?

  • ck–But it *isn’t* a conference on North African Jews–only one of the papers appears to be about North Africa. This part really is key. I have nothing against Rabbi Yonah, whom as I’ve mentioned I don’t know, but I do not think we need to cut his post any slack.

    And as for an extra panelist, do we even know what’s in these papers? Maybe “Sephardic Identity and Morocco” is start-to-finish about expulsion.

    And finally, the oddest thing about the conference seems to be that the focus is “Beyond Spain,” yet one of the papers appears to be about… Spain.

  • Although I didn’t agree with R. Yonah’s post and feel supportive of the conference, I do feel that he deserves some defense here.

    The real question, froylein, is what business any of us have second guessing the lineup at an academic conference.

    Huh? Why wouldn’t you? Every time you have any sort of conference, choices and decisions are made and there’s no reason not to ask why this and not that, why her and not her. We questioned why Norman Finkelstein was invited to be the pro-Israel speaker at the Oxford Student Union pseudo-debate and we can question any conference. R. Yonah is based in the area of UC Irvine and can certainly speak up about a conference dealing with Jewish matters.

    Why are you worried about whether students at some campus thousands of miles away have the proper background in North African Jewry?

    R. Yonah is miles away, not thousands of miles away. It’s his neighborhood. Second, even if it’s thousands of miles away, why would you not wish to ask questions? You’re based thousands of miles away from the focus of your organization and yet you take active steps to influence many aspects of what happens in that far away country.

    As a general rule, any vile activities against Jews or against Zionists or against both are of interest to us and should be to most Jews and Zionists. What happens at UC Irvine could be a harbinger for what will happen on many other campuses and is already happening on many campuses in Canada with their “Israel Apartheid Week.” It is of grave and serious concern.

    Furthermore, if you hear what is said at UC Irvine, as we have posted here in the past, it seeps into anti-Semitism quite often. But more important is the militant Islamic flavor of some of the gatherings where they stand in a military-like formation and respond to chants from the Koran.

    You’re not looking for “balance.” You’re looking to politicize an academic event, to draw it into an ongoing campaign by outside agitators to which Rabbi Yonah has already alluded in this exchange.

    Right, he’s voicing criticism and isn’t seeking balance. Sometimes we seek balance and sometimes we don’t. The claim, however, that R. Yonah is seeking to politicize this event is to ignore the possibility he raises which is that it’s already a politicized event, which it may well be. Maybe the dean or provost “suggested” that it would be good for the university to host an event related to Jewish topics and this conference is the result.

    Even if that’s not the way it came about, the fact is that the university’s administration has made any event involving Jews or the MSA into a politicized one by accepting the MSA’s propaganda weeks and supporting them. If the result is that an innocently presented academic conference is politicized, the blame lies with the university not those who point it out. The outside agitators are hosted by the university and its students.

    The report of the Task Force on Anti-Semitism at UCI, of which Rabbi Yonah was a member, is, as far as I can tell, an extreme example of Jewish institutional fear mongering.

    Bullshit. It is an attempt to disseminate information that involves extreme anti-Israel, anti-Zionist and at times blatantly anti-Jewish actions. Reporting on these actions is a public service that has not been undertaken by the ADL or other mainstream organizations until people like R. Yonah screamed loudly enough about it.

    Coming from your organization, I think it’s absurd to hear you complain about a report of this sort.

    By the way, here is what we’re talking about:
    https://jewlicious.com/?p=3482

    It recommended that Jewish students not enroll in the university.

    Good recommendation. There are thousands of other universities in this country and hundreds of others in California. Why go to a place where they allow this hate?

    UCI’s Hillel has distanced itself from the report. Which is all to say, let’s take a deep breath before meddling any more in the affairs of the school.

    Or perhaps they realized they could be undermining their own organization because it relies to some degree on the favorable support of the university’s administration.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=Pvt234AMXpc

    Here are some nice lies from UCI. Free speech at its best – he’s justifying terrorism.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=4GVsETnruFk&feature=related

    And here he’s talking about the “Jewish Lobby.” He then justifies the antisemitic statements of a scholar.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=4GVsETnruFk&feature=related

    And here are some religious chants for your enjoyment. Along with some boasting about Hizbullah. Remember Hizbullah and their rockets launched at Northern Israel indiscriminately to the degree where Arab Israelis who supported Hizbullah were killed by them? Fortunately, there’s no anti-Semitism here, just a desire to make “you” gone and “we in control again.”

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=p-Mahw1RIhw&feature=related

    Good stuff!

  • themiddle-

    Rather than point-by-point taking down J’s comment, remember what’s being discussed here. What’s the use in comparing a conference on Sephardic culture to a visit by Norman Finkelstein? That’s just nuts. Rabbi Yonah’s may complain if he wishes, but again, what is he even complaining about? Does he even know that the expulsions will not be discussed in any of the papers? Because this is his main complaint, isn’t it? Or is it that a university shouldn’t hold ANY Jewish studies-related conference until the campus-climate problem has been dealt with appropriately? Or, if it does hold one, it has to be a day-long attention-raising event about Jewish victimhood (with a poster more like the “Forgotten Jews” one, and less like the actual event poster, whose image is not the one accompanying his post). All scholars focused on less tragic aspects of Jewish history (or equally tragic, but with less contemporary relevance) can drop their studies and figure out something else to do with their lives.

  • I think pheobe’s response mostly covers it. themiddle is completely missing the point. However, I think two things need responding to.

    themiddle writes, “But more important is the militant Islamic flavor of some of the gatherings where they stand in a military-like formation and respond to chants from the Koran.” Some of what you linked to is genuinely troubling, but this line sounds like straight-up Islamophobia to me, and casts the rest of what you say in a very different light.

    Second, I am not associated with the organization you think I’m associated with, despite what my ip says. Please stop bringing them into it.

  • Aw J dude… I’m no islamaphobe (and neither is TM – he wouldn’t be blogging here if he was). Last year I was at UCI where the local Muslim students started a rally by reading a prayer in praise of the shaheed (martyr). OK, there are different types of martyrs so I suppose I can let that go. But then I heard speeches about how Zionists are worst that Nazis, and how they should be destroyed. The speaker specified he was not talking about Jews, but rather the 98% of Jews that support the right of the State of Israel to exist. It was kinda militant and it was kinda in your face and aggressive. You don’t have to be an islamaphobe to note that. I should also add that I had a number of conversations with the assembled Muslim students that ranged from “heated” to downright warm and friendly – especially when we started talking about hummus. So Islamophobia? Not from any Jewlicious writer I know of.

  • J, way to avoid my comments, I’m impressed.

    I had a hunch you’d jump on the military-like formation I mentioned and call it “Islamophobia.” In fact, in combination with your ip address with which you are not affiliated, I think I get your opposition to R. Yonah and the UC Irvine Anti-Semitism Report.

    After all, it’s “Islamophobia” to point out that an invited speaker who is invited annually to this event calls for the destruction of Israel and then in unison a group of Muslims loudly shout “Allah hu akbar.” I must be a racist, Islamaphobic person to point this out and therefore everything I write “has to be seen in a different light.”

    Another way to analyze this is to say that you are not only blind to what’s in front of your face thanks to the videos I posted just so you would see what we’re discussing, but you’re an apologist for this inexcusable behavior. Much like a couple of members of the organization to which you don’t belong (who I’ve met) but whose ip address you magically use, you seem to believe the fear of the threats of death and destruction, not to mention the open anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are just the result of something the Israelis/Jews/Zionists have done and not the cause of the problem.

    You, being a “progressive” person, must be immune to this racism. It must be “Islamophobia” that drives fear of a bunch of grown men (you don’t hear women in the “Allah hu akbar” chant, do you?) showing fealty to their faith by shouting support in God’s name to a screed of destruction of Jews or the Jewish state (you can view all of this, or just start at around 5:15 http://youtube.com/watch?v=p-Mahw1RIhw&feature=related). It can’t possibly be your “progressive” views that are making you turn a blind eye to the very same ideology that had a Muslim extremist shoot up 8 teens in a yeshiva yesterday or a bunch of extremist Muslim Moroccans blow up trains in Spain and France. Shhh, it’s “Islamophobia” to think along those lines…

    I think you’re missing the point.

    I think I reject your bullshit attempt to smear me.

    I think it’s time for me to write some posts about “progressives.”

    ——-

    Phoebe, what is wrong with point by point criticism of J’s comment if I disagree with it? If I understand you, R. Yonah can’t be critical of a conference and I can’t be critical of J. Is there anything else you’d like to suggest?

    As I wrote, I disagree with R. Yonah’s premise and still do, just as I think his criticism of the lectures offered is off-base. The key note speaker, for example, appears to be a serious and prolific scholar on this topic. I think this conference is a good thing and I hope people are attending it today. I also don’t connect it as he does to the MSA’s actions, although he could be right and this conference may be the product of the university administration trying to improve their image.

  • Am I the only one who finds it odd that such a conference would be held on a Friday?

    Oh, and Middle, I want a Middle-fanclub raglan shirt.

  • I’ve got one, froylein. It’s made of hemp, with lots of ’60s-style
    psychadelic colors. He’s been trying to peddle these things at Jimmy Buffett concerts for years.

  • He’s one of those really useful guys, froylein, if you like him, it’s proof positive you’re not cool.

    Thank goodness for Middle’s response.

    (Coulda sworn, btw, that I saw Samantha Power wearing a Middle tee at a Starbucks in Harvard Square some months back.)

  • That would be one penguin-like shirt, Froylein.

    Tom, speak of the devil, I just clicked on the NY Times home page and Ms. Power has resigned from the Obama campaign.

  • Figured you’d seen that, heh-heh…. Man, she can talk (too much in this case). I saw her on Rose’s show a couple of weeks back, and when he asked about her (former) boss’s foreign policy, she went on for 5 mins. and I couldn’t make any sense of what she said.

    Smokin’ hot, though.

  • With Power, you worry about whether she’d consider your favorite bedroom thing a human rights violation…

    Republicans tend to have better orthodonture than Democrats.

  • Yeah but Democrats have better parties. And less guilt overall – compare Bill Clinton to Newt Gingrich.

    As for Palin’s teeth, clearly Palin’s husband approves. She’s 44 and just announced she’s a couple of months away from giving birth again.

  • Pawlenty can’t get pregnant. Edge: Pawlenty.

    What is this, her ninth kid or something? I guess sex is one way to stay warm in the frozen north (as Middle may know from experience).

    Isn’t it strange to find elected officials… hot? I’ve had a thing for a while for Mary Landrieu.

  • That’s considered hot? Suppose Americans are easy to please. 🙂

    Oh, and I’ve got such teeth by nature. Will you vote for me?

  • I refuse, in the name of anonymity, to acknowledge that I know anything about the frozen north or sex.

    Landrieu does nothing for me. Back in the day, though, Barbara Boxer may have…

  • All Middle needs is a little candlelight, a nice red wine, and that song playing in the background– and poof! Sayonara, virginity.

    If you don’t make fun of Mary Landrieu, froylein, I promise never to mention your crush on Gregor Gisi.

  • Gysi? Nah. He may be Jewish and a brilliant orator, but anyone who has involved himself with the GDR’s actual Communism and has defended that stateform is not for me. Also, he’s too short and too old for my taste.

    As for deflowering Middle, isn’t that what many Jewish youth organizations aim at happening?

  • Sorry I misspelled Gysi’s name. He’s not too bad by DDR standards– better looking than Egon Krenz, right? Or Lothar de Maziere?… One of my college professors was a former member of the DDR Politburo– back in the very old days, though, under Ulbricht as I recall.

    Actually, I’ve always wondered– isn’t all this youth org. stuff really about, uh, getting busy, to put it delicately? It can’t just be about debating the Talmud deep into the night, right?

  • Looks are secondary to me, as you know. Funny you’d had a Politbüro professor, considering that Communists may be denied tourist visas. Egon Krenz was a nightmare of eyebrows and de Maziere, a CDU member, while being an intelligent man, had a bad lisp as far as I can recall (mind you, their heydays were when I was ten to twelve years old).

    To answer it delicately, you better look for serious Talmud scholars elsewhere. 🙂 Maybe I get to introduce you to one in the summer.

  • Youth organizations? I list Boxer and Palin and you want me to hang out with “youth organization” women?

    I’ll meet you halfway.

    Oh crap. I forgot! I’m married!

  • Heh, I’ve delegated that task. 🙂
    Currently I’m busy piecing my spring wardrobe together.

    Fellatio virgin; unless I’ve misinterpreted him.

  • Rather unfortunate ambiguity there, froylein. It depends.

    Halfway between Boxer and barely legal? OK, Middle, here’s a very attractive and highly talented Jewish babe for you: anatcohen.com. You heard it here first.

  • Fellatio virgin?

    Bwahahahahahahahah! I’ve never quite heard that before.

    Maybe we should get back to militant Islamists?

    I wonder if anybody we know actually attended that conference yesterday.

  • I wonder if changing topics twice or more often within a thread brings about bad karma. I’m not afraid of talking about fellatio.
    I’ll try my luck at a different topic though: it’s Muffti’s b’day not too far from now. Who will write a post-of-honour for him?

    As to the conference, I’d certainly like to read a few reviews from different perspectives. Alas, considering the weekday it was held on, we cannot expect as many facets of views as may have been desirable.

  • Easy thing, anybody of a more observant Jewish variety, in my experience, usually takes some time to prepare everything for the Sabbath. Even my bf is off of work by noon the latest on Fridays and he doesn’t need to get the cooking etc. done. The sun sets earlier the closer one gets to the equator.
    Friday also is the holy day of observant Muslims.
    Friday also is the day for most average students to already have started their weekends if they can’t help otherwise.

  • A conference has to happen some time, in some building, and it appears one could attend this conference without violating Jewish law. I don’t think it’s fair to expect so many considerations to be taken into account. Sensitivity has its place, but this is going a bit too far, I think.

  • It certainly doesn’t seem fair to the UC Irvine students, who begin their weekends on Wednesday night.

  • Over here it would be normal to expect so many considerations, particularly since the conference was titled “Sephardic Jews beyond Spain”. An observant Jew would have difficulties to attend the conference and prepare properly for the Sabbath, and, according to my experience, even only slightly religious Muslims take their Friday observance somewhat serious. Scheduling this conference on a Friday thus excluded a considerable part of a prospective audience, and therefore I think doing so was ignorant to say the very least. Us people in academia have to be aware that we are service people as well, and at that we’re replacable just like any counter person at a fastfood restaurant.

  • Where is “over here”?

    There would be a valid complaint if the conference were on Saturday or Friday night. Not the case. There’s no reason to believe Muslims, more than any other group on campus, would take an interest in this conference, so scheduling around their holidays is beyond going the extra mile.

    Not sure what academics’ replaceability or lack thereof has to do with any of this. I would think room availability would be the bigger issue here, once Saturday is already out.

    I still think everyone is digging for ways to pick on this conference, and to demonstrate over-sensitivity to a conference that is at best something positive and at worst inconsequential.

  • No, I think both I and ck expressed positive thoughts and support for this conference.

    We also defended R. Yonah’s right to his own opinion and tried to inform as to why he might hold such an opinion after years in the trenches at UC Irvine.

  • “Over here” is Central Europe.
    The complaint that a mainday Friday conference would inevitably clash wih proper preparations for the Sabbath is valid enough. According to the other posts on this university, there’s a sizable number of Muslim students, that, had the conference aimed at educational effects as defined by Klafki, should not have been excluded by thoughtlessness.
    Academic replaceability is key to anything happening at educational institutions; teachers of any degree deliver a service. If the service is faulty, they suffer the consequences, in this case some criticism on what appears to be a lot of thoughtlessness in the composition of the conference. If that university is so tight with rooms as you suggested despite the conference probably receiving little participation as you initially assumed, it could have been moved to the break (not uncommon here either).

Leave a Comment