Libraries exhibit and lecture examines Jewish communities

March 13, 2009

"Scattered among the Nations: Jewish Communities of India, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Peru and Uzbekistan," a photographic exhibition, is on display March 22 through Aug. 14 in the Candace and Patrick E. Malloy, III Diversity Studies Room, 109 Pattee Library, University Park.

Approximately 13 million Jews live in the world today -- most of them in established Jewish centers like Israel and in large cities of North America and Western Europe. This exhibit presents less-known communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America -- places so geographically and culturally distant from other Jews that members of the communities must work daily to maintain the religion of their ancestors.

Photographs by Bryan Schwartz, Jay Sand and Sandy Carter capture populations that remain on the geographic and cultural fringes of the modern Jewish Diaspora. From the Benei Menashe tribes in the hills of northeastern India, to a farming village in Ghana, West Africa, and from crowded corners of Bombay, to peaceful Andean villages of Peru: each of these Jewish communities challenges stereotypes, preserving Jewish practice apart from the mainstream Jewish community.

A lecture, "Jews and Judaism: Global Identities and Variations," by Professor Erwin H. Epstein, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, in Foster Auditorium, 101 Pattee Library. Epstein is professor of cultural and educational policy studies and director of the Center for Comparative Education at Loyola University of Chicago. He has been a Fulbright Professor in Mexico and has also lectured on comparative education at universities in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Germany, Nicaragua, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Spain and Taiwan.

His research focuses on sense of nationality among schoolchildren in socioeconomically marginalized communities, school choice, education and democratization, and comparative theory. He is a former president both of the Comparative and International Education Society and of the World Council of Comparative Education Societies, and for 10 years was editor of the Comparative Education Review.

The exhibit and lecture are sponsored by the Penn State Jewish Studies Program and the collection is on loan from the Herbert and Eileen Bernard Museum of Judaica in New York City.

For further information contact Brian Hesse, director of the Jewish Studies Program, at (814) 863-8939,, or Daniel Mack, head of the George and Sherry Middlemas Arts and Humanities Library, at (814) 865-6779,


  • Professor Erwin H. Epstein

    IMAGE: Penn State
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