Annual Conference of the Selma Stern Center for Jewish Studies Berlin-Brandenburg
17 Nov 2019 – 19 Nov 2019

Diaspora and Law. Culture, Religion, and Jurisprudence beyond Sovereignty

Venue: Stiftung Neue Synagoge – Centrum Judaicum (Opening) / Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Conference)
Organized by Liliana Ruth Feierstein (ZJS) and Daniel Weidner (ZfL/HU Berlin)

Today, law is no longer homogenous or unquestioned. Different overlapping legal systems constantly interfere with one another, both on an international level, in complex transnational contexts such as the European Union or human rights law, but also in the context of cultural diversity or conflicts between religious norms and civil institutions. On the other hand, the neutrality of law is also under growing pressure, be it from different global transnational players, or from within nation states where calls are made to adapt law to the will of “the people.” The heated European debate on the “refugee crisis” has made it manifest that law is more necessary than ever and yet fundamentally contested, perhaps even caught in contradictions and self-limitations. At the same time, the current perspective on legal problems allows us to address issues of diversity and the role of Europe in the globalized world more clearly. The Selma Stern Center for Jewish Studies in Berlin-Brandenburg takes these recent developments and debates as a starting point to discuss the pressing question of how to live together in the new millennium and how to figure the long history of law before, besides, and after the dominant paradigm of state law.


Sunday, 17 Nov 2019
Venue: Stiftung Neue Synagoge – Centrum Judaicum, Oranienburger Straße 28–30, 10117 Berlin, Großer Saal


  • Liliana R. Feierstein/Daniel Weidner: Eröffnung
  • Grußworte
  • Susannah Heschel (Hanover): "Love me Like a River" – Can Religious Law Survive in an Era of Global Diasporas?

Musikalische Gestaltung: Jascha Nemtsov
anschließend Empfang


Monday, 18 Nov 2019
Venue: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin, Senatssaal


  • Liliana R. Feierstein/Daniel Weidner: Opening


  • Elisa Klapheck (Paderborn): Dina deMalchuta Dina. Die jüdische Theologie des Rechtsstaates
  • Charlotte Fonrobert (Stanford): Marriage Law and the Constitution of Diaspora in Jewish Law


  • Serdar Kurnaz (Hamburg): The Transformation of Sharia from a Law–Centered Understanding to Ethics


  • Martin Heger (Berlin): Der Wandel von einem personalen zu einem territorialen Rechtsverständnis in Mittelalter und früher Neuzeit
  • Menachem Lorberbaum (Tel Aviv): Dina deMalchuta Dina. From the Law of the King to the Law of the Republic


  • Ino Augsberg (Kiel): Diaspomenos. Hermeneutics of Exile
  • Christina von Braun (Berlin): The Alphabets as a Cradle of Religion and Law in Monotheism

Tuesdy, 19 Nov 2019
Venue: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin, Senatssaal


  • Suzanne Last Stone (New York): The Intervention of American Courts in Jewish Divorce Law: A Pluralist Analysis
  • Nahed Samour (Berlin): Stigma and German Law. Classifying Individuals, Targeting Communities?


  • Marie–Claire Foblets (Halle): Diaspora Communities: an Opportunity for the Future of the Law

13.30–15.00 Workshops

  • Stephan Probst (Bielefeld): Medizinrecht
  • Jonah Sievers (Berlin): Eherecht


  • Klaus Stierstorfer (Münster): Law and Literature in Diaspora: The Case of Gandhi’s Autobiography
  • Caspar Battegay (Basel): Star Trek. Diaspora and Law in the German-Jewish Imagination

Media Response

19 Nov 2019
Das kreative Potenzial bewusstmachen

Interview with Liliana Ruth Feierstein and Daniel Weidner, in: Presseportal der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 19 Nov 2019