Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Current, retired A&M-Kingsville faculty speak at Texas Jewish Historical Society meeting activities Jan. 12-14

KINGSVILLE - January 11, 2007

Contact: Jason Marton
jason.marton@tamuk.edu or 361-593-4143

Talks will focus on similarities and influences between Israel, Kingsville

KINGSVILLE (January 11, 2007) — Two members of the Texas A&M University-Kingsville faculty, past and present, will be delivering presentations this weekend during the Texas Jewish Historical Society (TJHS) winter quarterly board meeting.

The talks, which come from an artist and a research scientist, will both draw ties between Kingsville and Israel.

Professor emeritus Maurice Schmidt will provide a showing and discussion of his art and sign copies of his recently published book A Life in Art Saturday, Jan. 13, at 2 p.m. in the Bryant Gallery, located at 302 Kleberg St. in Kingsville. The event is free to the public.

Schmidt said he recognizes a number of similarities between the landscape of Israel and the landscape of South Texas, where the light of the area serves as a constant inspiration. He’ll discuss this, as well as the parallels he sees between people working the land in their machines and that of clerics.

“The Bible is a very pastoral book, written for and read by farmers, herdsmen and those of the land,” said Schmidt. “A farmer sitting in his tractor looks right at the horizon, between heaven and earth. He is analogous to a high priest, carrying out rituals – clearing the land, planting at the right time and yielding a crop. For a farmer, the earth is his altar, with fields that are square like an altar, with the heavens above.”

Later that evening, Dr. Allen Rasmussen, professor and interim dean of the College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences, will speak at the TJHS banquet at the Rodeway Inn at 6:30 p.m.

His topic will be his involvement on the board of directors of the International Arid Lands Consortium, a non-profit organization founded 13 years ago in which researchers from Israel, Jordan and Egypt work with Texas A&M-Kingsville researchers to share and incorporate ideas in water conservation, wildlife and the environment. The consortium also serves as an example of countries working together peacefully.

Rasmussen notes that the Middle East and South Texas share a lot of commonalities in these areas. He said that the strides the Middle East has made in water conservation over thousands of years are especially valuable to our region. Alternately, South Texas conservation efforts in wildlife (particularly bird migratory studies) and the environment can benefit the Middle East.

The consortium has been supported by the Jewish National Fund, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

For information on attending Rasmussen’s presentation, registration and other events taking place in conjunction with the TJHS meeting, call 979-247-4504.

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