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 VOL. 23, NO. 10NOVEMBER 21, 1997 

Wiesel to Speak at Barnard

Lectures Help Launch a $2.5M Judaic Studies Chair


Elie Wiesel.
Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, author and scholar, will give the first of his four lectures at Barnard on Tues., Dec. 2, at 5:30 P.M. in McIntosh Center. His topic: "Job: A Cry for Justice."

  The lectures, whose theme is "A Passion for Study," inaugurate the Ingeborg Rennert Professorship of Judaic Studies at Barnard.

  During the spring semester Wiesel will explore three other topics: "Johanan: A Master of Survival," Thurs., Mar. 26, "The Trial of God," Mon., Apr. 20 and "Hasidic Renaissance," Tues., Apr. 21.

  The professorship has been established with a $2.5 million gift from Ingeborg and Ira L. Rennert, whose two daughters, Tamara and Jonina, are Barnard alumnae.

  The gift also endows a forum on women in Judaism. Called "The Ingeborg, Tamara, and Jonina Rennert Women in Judaism Forum," its mission is to promote the public's understanding of the complex roles of women in Judaism today and throughout history. Author Cynthia Ozick read from some of her works in the first of these forums held in October, while Tamar El-Or, an anthropologist and sociologist at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, spoke on ultra-orthodox women in Israel in the second one.

  In acknowledging the gift, Barnard President Judith R. Shapiro said: "We are deeply grateful to the Rennert family for this far-sighted and generous contribution, which significantly advances faculty support, one of the top priorities in the $125 million Barnard Campaign. We are particularly honored that this will be the occasion to bring to the Barnard campus one of the world's great teachers, Elie Wiesel."

  Tickets for the Dec. 2 lecture will be available, starting on Thurs., Nov. 20, from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. at Barnard's College Activities Ticket Booth, upper level of McIntosh Center. Tickets are free of charge with a current CUID and are limited to two per person.

  Wiesel is the Andrew Mellon Professor of the Humanities and University Professor at Boston University. His lecture series at Barnard will be integrated into the College's course offerings in Judaic studies. The professorship will be held by the senior scholar in Jewish studies at Barnard, Alan Segal, in the future.

  Called a "messenger to mankind" by the committee that awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, has made the memory of the Nazi death camps his life's work—in books, lectures and other activities. Acclaimed as a writer and scholar, he has published more than 35 works of fiction, including Night, A Beggar in Jerusalem, Souls on Fire, Zalman or the Madness of God, The Testament, The Fifth Son and All Rivers Run to the Sea.

  Ingeborg Rennert is actively involved in a variety of educational and humanitarian endeavors in the United States and in Israel. She has endowed academic chairs at N.Y.U. Law School, Yeshiva University in New York and Bar-Ilan University in Israel, where she recently founded the Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies.

  She also serves as New York chair of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation and is past president of the Presidium of Yeshiva University. She is a founder of the Women's Institute for Torah in Jerusalem and is the New York chair of Israel's Open University. She is also a trustee of N.Y.U. Law School. She and her husband, a prominent businessman, live in New York City.

  Tamara Rennert '93, majored in political science and received her J.D. from N.Y.U. Law School. She is an associate at a New York law firm. Jonina Rennert '95, has an economics degree and entered N.Y.U. Law School this fall.

  As a result of the Rennert gift to Barnard, two new courses—both in the women's studies department—were developed and are being taught this semester: "Jewish-American Women Writers" and "The Jewish Women: Historical and Cultural Perspectives."

  Segal, a noted specialist in Judaica, comparative religion and early Christianity, joined the Barnard faculty in 1980. He teaches a range of courses, from the popular "Introduction to the Hebrew Bible" to graduate offerings in religion at Columbia. Among his books: Rebecca's Children: Judaism and Christianity in the Roman World and Paul the Convert: The Apostasy and Apostolate of Saul of Tarsus, a Book of the Month Club and Editor's Choice History Book Club selection.