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October 2021

Satmar Hasidism: History, Ideology, and Sociology

October 12 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Zoom, Online

Menachem Keren-Kratz. With an estimated 120,000 members, Satmar is by far the world’s largest and wealthiest Hasidic court. It is also the most recognizable “brand” associated with Jewish ultra-Orthodoxy in America, with the possible exception of Chabad/Lubavitch. Moreover, Satmar is known for its leaders’ strict anti-Zionist policy and ultra-conservative, anti-modern outlook. Satmar is also the only Jewish group that has established its own town: Palm Tree in Orange County, New York. This lecture explores the court’s history, its unique ideology,…

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The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting and the Soul of a Pittsburgh Neighborhood: A Book Talk with Mark Oppenheimer

October 11 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Zoom, Online

Mark Oppenheimer, Yale University. On October 27, 2018, a gunman killed eleven Jews who were worshipping at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill–the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in American history. Many neighborhoods would be understandably subsumed by despair and recrimination after such an event, but not this one. In this talk, Mark Oppenheimer offers a piercing portrait of the struggles and triumphs of one of America’s renowned Jewish neighborhoods in the wake of unspeakable tragedy. Shifting the focus away…

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“The Oldest Guard: Landowners, Local Memory, and the Making of the Zionist Settler Past”

October 4 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Zoom, Online

Liora R. Halperin, University of Washington. In this talk, Liora Halperin tells the story of Zionist memory in and around the private Jewish agricultural colonies (moshavot) that were established in late 19th-century Ottoman Palestine. Though they grew into the backbone of lucrative citrus and wine industries in British mandate Palestine and Israel, absorbed tens of thousands of Jewish immigrants, and became known as the “first wave” (First Aliyah) of Zionist settlement, these communities have been regarded—and disregarded—in the history of…

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April 2021

Race and Responsibility: A Conversation on Black-Jewish Relations and the Fight for Equal Justice

April 12 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
YouTube Stream

Eric K. Ward (Western States Center) in conversation with Michael Rothberg (UCLA). How are the historical experiences of the Black and Jewish communities at once distinct and interconnected? Should we see efforts to combat racism and antisemitism as separate struggles? What are African Americans' and Jews' responsibilities to one another in America's current racial reckoning? In this conversation, Eric K. Ward, a leading expert on the relationship between racism, antisemitism, and authoritarian movements; and Michael Rothberg, an eminent scholar of…

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“Hitler’s Laboratory: How Munich Became the Capital of Antisemitism After World War I”

April 8 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Zoom, Online

Pell Lecture Michael Brenner, American University and University of Munich. The Free State of Bavaria was established in November 1918 by the Jewish socialist, Kurt Eisner. After his assassination in February 1919, Bavaria went through intense political infighting, in the midst of which, Jewish politicians were very prominent. Amid the turmoil, the conservative government of Bavaria identified Jews with left-wing radicalism and Munich became a hotbed of right-wing extremism as well as the center of the emerging Nazi movement under Adolf Hitler. The Jews in Hitler’s Munich of the early 1920s…

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March 2021

Harry Potter in Yiddish: Translating Across Languages and Cultures

March 4 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Zoom, Online

Arun Viswanath in conversation with Robert Alter (UC Berkeley). Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the first book in the most-translated series of all time recently appeared in a new language: Yiddish (Heri Poter un der Filosofisher Shteyn). In this talk, Arun Viswanath, the translator, a native Yiddish speaker, will engage with Prof. Robert Alter in a conversation on the unique challenges of transposing Harry Potter's characters and cultural contexts into the Ashkenazi Jewish tongue with an eye towards the rich history of Jewish…

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February 2021

Modernity in the Eastern Sephardi Diaspora: The Jews of Late Ottoman Izmir

February 9 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Zoom, Online

Dina Danon (SUNY-Binghamton University) in conversation with Karen Barkey (UC Berkeley) Synopsis: This lecture will tell the story of a long overlooked Ottoman Jewish community in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Drawing extensively on a rich body of previously untapped Ladino archival material, the lecture will also offer a new read on Jewish modernity.  Across Europe, Jews were often confronted with the notion that their religious and cultural distinctiveness was somehow incompatible with the modern age. Yet the view…

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Ode to Energy: Einstein, Feynman, and Oppenheimer at Mid-Century

February 3 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Zoom, Online

Anne Goldman (Sonoma State University) Stargazing in the Atomic Age counters the assumption that Jewish history largely chronicles tragedy. Designed for the common reader, its essays take the nadir of modern Jewish experience as their starting point. But they are not elegiac. Life for Jews in the United States, the book suggests, has been characterized less by anguish than by tremendous drive and innovation. The titular essay returns to the mid-twentieth century less to invoke the victims of the Holocaust…

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November 2020

Life in Citations: Biblical Narratives and Contemporary Hebrew Culture

November 24, 2020 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Zoom, Online

Life in Citations: Biblical Narratives and Contemporary Hebrew Culture Ruth Tsoffar (author) in a conversation with Chana Kronfeld and Naomi Seidman In Life in Citations, I tell a complicated story about the relationship of secular Israelis to biblical narratives. From the early days of Zionism, the Bible has wielded an immense constitutive power as the primal script, giving birth to nation, selfhood and collective consciousness. The story of the twentieth- century arrival to Zion was conflated with the story of…

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Voices of the Ritual: Devotion to Female Saints and Shrines in the Holy Land

November 9, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Zoom, Online

Nurit Stadler (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) in conversation with Ron Hassner (UC Berkeley) Voices of the Ritual, published with Oxford Universtiy Press is an analysis of the revival of rituals performed at female saint shrines in the Middle East. In the midst of turbulent political contention over land and borders, Nurit Stadler shows, religious minorities lay claim to space through rituals enacted at sacred spaces in the Holy Land. Using ethnographic analysis, Stadler explores the rise of these rituals, their focus…

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