University of Texas at El Paso
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Affiliated Faculty

Our program is a broad, interdisciplinary minor which works with numerous departments to examine different elements of the rich Jewish culture.  Meet our affiliated faculty from across the university and the borderland community below.

Dr. Ezra Cappell

Dr. Cappell received a B.A. inEnglish from Queens College (CUNY), an M.A. in Creative Writing fromThe City College (CUNY), and an M.Phil. and Ph.D. in English andAmerican Literature from New York University.  Cappell is currently Assistant Professor of English at The University of Texas at El Pasowhere he teaches and publishes in the fields of 20th Century andContemporary American Literature.  He has published numerous articleson American and Jewish American writing.  His book American Talmud: The Cultural Work of Jewish American Fiction was published in April of 2007 by State University of New York Press (now available in paperback).

Dr. Sandra McGee Deutsch

Dr. McGee Deutsch is a professor of history, specializing in twentieth-century Argentina, Brazil, and Chile.  She teaches courses on South America, Carribbean/Central America, Latin American women and gender, Latin American Jews, and other post-independence topics.  She is the author of Counterrevolution in Argentina, 1900-1932: The Argentine Patriotic League (Univ. of Nebraska, 1986) and Las derechas: The Extreme Right in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, 1890-1939 (Standford Univ., 1999), as well as numerous articles, and co-editor of The Argentine Right (Scholarly Resources, 1993).  She is finishing a book on Argentine Jewish women, 1880-1955.  She has received grants from NEH, American Council of Learned Societies, U.S. Dept. of Education, Fulbright, American Philosophical Society, American Historical Society, Littauer Foundation, and UTEP.  Deutsch is also the recipient of a UTEP teaching awared.

Dr. Max E. Grossman

Dr. Grossmanearned his B.A. in Art History and English at the University ofCalifornia-Berkeley and his Ph.D. in Art History at ColumbiaUniversity.  He completed his dissertation on the civic architecture,urbanism and iconography of the Sienese Republic in the Middle Ages andEarly Renaissance after seven years of archeological and documentaryresearch in Tuscany.  Before joining the faculty of the Department ofArt at UTEP, he taught art and architectural history at both San JoseState University (2006-2009) and Stanford University (2007-2009).  Dr.Grossman has presented papers at academic conferences around the UnitedStates, including at the annual meeting of the Renaissance Society ofAmerica, and he will be chairing a session entitled “The Italian CivicPalace in the Age of the City-Republics” at the 1st InternationalMeeting of the European Architectural History Network in Guimarães,Portugal in June 2010.

Dr. Larry Lesser

Dr. Lesser received a BA in Mathematics and Mathematical Sciences from Rice University, and an MS in Statistics and PhD in Mathematics Education from the University of Texas at Austin.As an Associate Professor in the UTEP Department of MathematicalSciences, Lesser’s research focus is statistics/mathematics education.One of his several scholarly foci is the intersection of mathematicsand culture and in 2006 he published what appears to be the firstjuried comprehensive article on Jewish culturally relevant mathematicsin Journal of Mathematics and Culture (readily availableonline) based on his prior experience as a full-time mathematicsteacher at a pluralistic community Jewish high school.Topics/techniques explored included:  quotations, mathematical“firsts,” gematria, counting, infinity, pi, and connections to Jewishtext/customs/holidays/games.  In addition to their intrinsic interestand value, these enhancements connected to school culture/activitiesand appeared to help motivate additional students towards a broaderview of and deeper engagement with mathematics, and possibly withJudaism as well. This article offers both scholarly background as wellas a collection of diverse classroom-tested examples.  On a side note,Lesser’s published songwriting includes several Jewish text-basedsongs, including “What We’ll Bring” on the 2007 CD Pray for the Peace by national touring contemporary Jewish folk-rock band Sababa and “Healing Song” on the 2008 CD Songs of Ascent by Ellen Wilson (a coloratura soprano on the UTEP voice faculty).  

Rabbi Stephen A. Leon

Rabbi Leon graduated from Colombia University and the Jewish Theological Seminaryof America, receiving his ordination from the Academy for JewishReligion. Rabbi Leon was the dean of the Academy for Jewish Religionfrom 1974 through 1986.  Rabbi Leon also served as the president of the Bergen County Board ofRabbis for a two year tenure. Rabbi Leon was also on the Board ofDirectors of the Bergen County Jewish Federation. For over the past 20years, from 1986 to the present, Rabbi Leon has been the spiritualleader of Congregation B'nai Zion in El Paso, Texas. In El Paso, RabbiLeon served on the board of the bioethics committee of ProvidenceHospital, of El Paso Hospice, of the Jewish Federation, and theHolocaust Museum.

Dr. Jules Simon

Dr. Simon is aphilosopher who specializes in ethical theory out of thephenomenological tradition in philosophy and who works inthe areas of ethical, political, and cultural theory. He is the author of the forthcoming Art and Responsibility: a phenomenology of the diverging paths of Rosenzweig and Heidegger (Continuum International Publishing) as well as numerous essays and articles, including “German-Jewish Philosophers Facing the Shoah” and "Dilthey and Simmel: A Reading From/Toward Buber's Philosophy of History".  His areas of interest include Continental philosophy & phenomenology, German Idealism, ethical theory, applied ethics, aesthetics, and Jewish Philosophy.

Jessica P. Weinberg

Weinberg teaches Women's Studies at both NMSU and UTEP.  She has taught courses in Women in Palestine and Israel and Gender in Judaism and has research interests in the context of Palestine/Israel and the United States, includingfeminism and feminist peace activism; nationalism, racism, and nationalbelonging; border crossings and transnationalism; language ideologiesand practices; constructions of identities; media representations;bi/multilingualism, language shift, and language revitalization;structural aspects of Hebrew, Arabic, English, and Native Americanlanguages