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On Thursday, March 19, 2020, 10:00-12:00, in conjunction with the annual conference of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) in Boston, there will be a memorial event at the Sheraton Hotel (Boston), Room Hampton A, to remember the late Irene Eber, the Louis Frieberg Professor of East Asian Studies, Emerita, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Many of you may well have known, or at least known of, Irene Eber, who passed away this past April just shy of her 90th birthday. Like many European Jews of her generation, circumstances of life and war made her multilingual and multicultural. A native speaker of three languages (German, Yiddish, and Polish), she went on to acquire a Ph.D. degree in the United States in a fourth language (English) and to spend most of her teaching life in a fifth (Hebrew). And, we still haven't mentioned that a sixth language, Chinese, was the core of her academic and professional life. The first half of her harrowing life story is well told by Irene herself in her memoir, "The Choice: Poland, 1939-1945" (New York: Schocken Books, 2004). She was forced to grow up fast and effectively forfeited her childhood. She touched many of us through her work, her humanity, and her teaching. Despite her slight appearance, Irene could be tough when the situation demanded it -- she often compared those she found herself fighting off to the "wise men of Chelm." A recently published account by Barbara Hoster (Monumenta Serica Institute, Sankt Augustin, Germany) of Irene's life, her professional career, and her many scholarly accomplishments is now available online in English in the E-journal "Religions & Christianity in Today’s China". Immediately below is the permanent link to the recent issue which features Irene's obituary: Web Link
You can download the PDF of the article from the Table of Contents shown there. (Frank Joseph Shulman can send you the PDF of the text as an attachment if you would like to have it.) A second account of Irene Eber's life and accomplishments -- "Irene Eber (1929 - 2019): A Tribute" written by Mark Gamsa of Tel-Aviv University -- was published within the past month in volume 67, no.2 (2019) of the journal "Monumenta Serica": The text is freely available online under the following link: Web Link
There is no organized program for this upcoming event. It is just a session -- an opportunity -- for those who knew or knew of Irene to come together and to say a few words in her memory. This event is open to everyone; there is no need to register for the AAS conference in order to participate.
For further information, please direct your inquiries to Joshua. A Fogel, the organizer of this event:
Professor Joshua A. Fogel, Department of History, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Telephone: 416-736- 2100 Ext: 30420