Journey Into Hell… *RESCHEDULED*

This event has been rescheduled to May 10.
Apologies for the inconvenience.

Following the expulsion or forced conversion of Jews and Moslems from the Iberian peninsula, Northern Italy became a place of refuge for the exiled communities. Jewish culture flourished in the early-modern cities of Ferrara, Mantua and Venice, where intercultural encounters and exchanges enabled the creation of sometimes surprising cultural expressions. In the summer of 1720, in the Italian town of Ferrara, the Jewish community gathered to attend the public performance of Tofteh ‘Arukh (Hell Prepared), a lugubrious dramatic poem in Hebrew graphically depicting the punishments meted out to sinners in the Jewish hell. Its author, Rabbi Moses Zacuto (c. 1620- 1697), was a Baroque polymath equally familiar with Jewish mystical lore— on which his poem massively relies—and the Italian and Spanish literary traditions. Carefully designed to terrify and amaze the reader, Tofteh ‘Arukh adhered to the prescripts of contemporary religious and moral drama (by Christian authors) and soon became, likely against the author’s original intention, a best-seller, thus carving for itself a unique place in the cultural history of early modern Jews.

Guest Speaker

Michela Andreatta (PhD), University of Rochester
Senior Lecturer in Hebrew
Jewish Studies Program, Coordinator
Hebrew Language Program, Coordinator
Dept. of Religion and Classics


2:00 PM: Concert Reading of “Journey Into Hell” by Moses Zacuto
In an original, multilingual translation fusing Spanish, English, Hebrew and Italian
Performed by Dr. Erith Jaffe-Berg, Irais Cardenas and Estefania Garcia

3:00 PM: “Hebrew Poetry of the Macabre in the Italian Ghetto”
Talk by Michela Andreatta (University of Rochester)

Sponsored by

The Center for Ideas and Society’s Mellon Advancing Intercultural Studies Project, the UCR Jewish Studies Program and the Department of Theatre, Film & Digital Production.

Refreshments served. Free and open to the public. Free parking for non-UCR guests by RSVP to

Part of Mellon Advancing Intercultural Studies

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2017-03-14T13:22:43+00:00 March 15th, 2017|Tags: |

Jonathan Walton: “This is my body broken for you…”

A Mellon Advancing Intercultural Studies lecture by:

Jonathan Walton, Harvard University
Plummer Professor of Christian Morals
Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church
Professor of Religion and Society


What does it mean to privilege the otherwise despised? What do we gain by searching for the invisible, and siding with the disinherited?
Each week Christians across the globe participate in a ritual based on such a radical social ethic, yet few imagine what it might mean for many of our pressing social issues.
Economic inequality? Gun violence? Prison industrial complex? Police brutality?
This lecture considers this common Christian ritual as the means to critique an American Christian culture that reinforces disenfranchisement and reinscribes “social junk” on bodies we are conditioned to fear.

Speaker Bio

Formerly an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of California, Riverside, Walton earned his PhD in religion and society from Princeton Theological Seminary. He also holds a master of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary as well as a BA in political science from Morehouse College in Atlanta.

His research addresses the intersections of religion, politics, and media culture. Drawing on British cultural studies, Walton explores the interrelationship between the media used by Christian evangelists and the theologies thereby conveyed. He argues for forms of theological innovation within the productions of religious broadcasting that are enabled—perhaps even generated—by the media that evangelists use, and he asks what the implications are for the study of evangelical Christianity when one attends to these particular forms of religious and theological performance.

Sponsored by the Center for Ideas and Society through a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Part of Mellon Advancing Intercultural Studies

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All events are free and open to the public. Complimentary parking permits will be available at the Parking Lot #1 kiosk near the corner of University Ave and W Campus Drive. Follow pedestrian signs to CHASS Interdisciplinary Building, Room 1113. Interactive campus map:
RSVP with your name and event title to (Limited seating available– RSVP does not guarantee a seat but is a courtesy notification for parking.)

2017-03-02T11:18:28+00:00 March 7th, 2017|Tags: |