Ashes to Outcasts: Cremation and Jewish Identity in Modern Times A Talk by Prof. Adam S. Ferziger
Until the late 19th century, cremation was almost unheard of in Western culture. This changed with the invention of industrialized crematoria in the 1870s. Since then, it has been the source of debate and controversy among Christians and Jews alike. Another stage in the evolution of popular and religious perceptions of cremation began in the 1940s, with the discovery of the central role played by crematoria in the Nazi destruction of European Jewry.
The lecture will examine controversies over the past century regarding cremation and burial of ashes in Jewish cemeteries, including an early 20th century example from Cape Town, and will assert the ways these debates reflected conflicting views of core Jewish identity and communal cohesion.
Prof. Adam S. Ferziger is an award-winning scholar of modern and contemporary Judaism. He holds the S.R. Hirsch Chair for Research of the Torah with Derekh Erez Movement in the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry at Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel. He is a senior associate at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University of Oxford, UK, and is co-convener of the annual Oxford Summer Institute on Modern and Contemporary Judaism.
An intellectual and social historian, Ferziger’s research focuses on Jewish religious movements and responses to secularization and assimilation in modern and contemporary North America, Israel, and Europe. He has served as a visiting professor/fellow at Wolfson College, University of Oxford, UK, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, and University of Shandong, Jinan, China. In 2017, he was Arnold Distinguished Visiting Chair in Jewish Studies, College of Charleston, South Carolina.
Ferziger is the past of recipient of Bar-Ilan's "Outstanding Lecturer" award. He is the author or editor of seven books, most recently Beyond Sectarianism (2015), which was the winner of the National Jewish Book Award.
Nelson Mandela Auditorium, SA Jewish Museum, 88 Hatfield Street, Gardens