Special Event Announcements

April 24, 2017: “The Stages of Memory: Reflections on Memorial Art, Loss, and the Spaces Between”

The UConn Humanities Institute will be hosting a talk on Monday, April 24, at 4:00 pm with guest speaker Dr. James E. Young entitled "The Stages of Memory: Reflections on Memorial Art, Loss, and the Spaces Between."  
The lecture takes place in the UCHI Conference Room (room 153), fourth floor, Homer Babbidge Library, Storrs Campus. 
Dr. James E. Young is the Founding Director of the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, UMass Amherst, and jury member for the Berlin Holocaust Memorial and the 9/11 Memorial. 
The talk is supported by the Symbolic Reparations Research Project, Humanities Institute, UCHI Public Discourse Project, Human Rights Institute, Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, and the Department of Art and Art History. For more information contact Associate Professor of Art History Robin Greeley (robin.greeley@uconn.edu), or visit: http://symbolicreparations.org/
UCHI Poster for James E. Young lecture

Professor Samuel D. Kassow to Present “Time Capsules in the Rubble: The Secret Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto” for the Academic Convocation of the Holocaust

Sam KassowOn Monday, April 24, at 7:00 pm, please join us for the annual Academic Convocation on the Holocaust when Trinity College Professor Samuel D. Kassow will present "Time Capsules in the Rubble: the Secret Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto." The Convocation will be held in the Doris and Simon Konover Auditorium in the Dodd Research Center on the Storrs campus and is sponsored by the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life Fierberg Lecture in Judaic Studies, the Human Rights Institute, and the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. A reception will immediately follow. Attending this event counts toward sophomore honors credit.

For additional information, please call 860-486-2271, or email program assistant Aaron Rosman at aaron.rosman@uconn.edu.


About the Presentation

During World War II, Jews resisted not only with guns but also with pen and paper. Even in the face of death they left "time capsules" full of documents that they buried under the rubble of ghettos and death camps. They were determined that posterity would remember them on the basis of Jewish and not German sources. Thousands of documents were buried in the Ringelblum Archive in the Warsaw Ghetto. Of the 60 people who worked on this national mission, only three survived. This will be their story.

What began as a collection of documents and attestations clandestinely obtained in order to record testimony of Jewish life in Poland under occupying Nazi forces became, when word of mass killings reached Warsaw, the courageous pursuit of Warsaw ghetto prisoners to bear witness to the Holocaust.

Jewish historian Emanuel Ringelblum established the underground group Oyneg Shabes in 1940, its secret mission to archive Jewish life in Poland by conducting interviews and collecting documentation that included photos, letters, diaries, official government notices, flyers, and posters–all of which served to document and describe life in the Jewish ghetto as well as the destruction of Jewish communities in Poland.

Milk can used to store documents in Warsaw Ghetto
Milk can used to hide documents in Warsaw Ghetto

Dr. Ringelblum and all but three members of the Oyneg Shabes group perished in the Holocaust, but their testimony remains an incomparable resource for Holocaust study. Before the Warsaw uprising, the documents were buried in milk cans and tin boxes in three locations in the Ghetto. Unearthed in 1946 and 1950, two-thirds of the archive has been found and preserved by the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, Poland, and researchers have cataloged and digitized the archive throughout the last two decades.

Trinity College historian Samuel D. Kassow, expert on the Ringelblum collection, is the author of Who Will Write Our History? Emanuel Ringelblum, the Warsaw Ghetto, and the Oyneg Shabes Archives in which he documents the efforts taken by Dr. Ringelblum and Oyneg Shabes to preserve Jewish history and resist Nazi oppression.

Professor Kassow served as a consultant for the documentary film project Who Will Write Our History, set to release in 2017 and directed by award-winning director Roberta Grossman with Nancy Spielberg as executive producer. The film is based on Professor Kassow's study. For the full story, see Jewish Ledger article "On Location in Poland." 

Samuel D. Kassow is the Charles Northam Professor of History at Trinity College. He is author of Students, Professors, and the State in Tsarist Russia, 1884–1917 and editor (with Edith W. Clowes) of Between Tsar and People: The Search for a Public Identity in Tsarist Russia. He lives in Hartford, Connecticut.

For more details on the Ringelblum Archive, visit the Jewish Historical Institute. 

We hope you will also join us earlier in the day when the UConn Humanities Institute will be hosting a talk at 4:00 pm with guest speaker Dr. James E. Young entitled "The Stages of Memory: Reflections on Memorial Art, Loss, and the Spaces Between."  Click here for full details.


Parking is available in the North and South garages on campus. Garage rates are $1/hr after 5pm. Did you know that after 5:00 pm, visitors may park in any on-campus space not designated as reserved, restricted or limited? 

Getting Here:

View an interactive map of the Storrs campus and even download the app version to your phone: http://maps.uconn.edu/map/


Warsaw Ghetto
Warsaw Ghetto

Emanuel Ringelblum
Dr. Emanuel Ringelblum

Adrianne Greenbaum and Klezmer Ensemble FleytMuzik to Perform on March 23, 2017

The Center for Judaic Studies has forged a partnership with Charter Oak Cultural Center in Hartford to collaborate on cultural and educational events, extending our capacity to support, sustain, and foster Jewish culture and the arts beyond the campus. We are excited to continue that partnership this spring by bringing Connecticut native Adrianne Greenbaum and her klezmer ensemble FleytMuzik to perform “Farewell to the Homeland: Polyn” at Charter Oak Cultural Center (21 Charter Oak Avenue, Hartford, CT) on March 23 at 7:00 pm. Visit Charter Oak's website for detailed information on directions and parking.

Register for tickets for this free event!

A highly acclaimed musician with degrees from Yale School of Music and Oberlin College Conservatory, Professor Greenbaum is a sought after flutist who has performed worldwide and is the leading pioneer revivalist of the klezmer flute tradition.  Klezmer music, the traditional music of eastern European Jewry, is known for the beautiful, soulful, and joyous sounds of flute, violin, cimbalom, and bass.  FleytMuzik is a unique and charismatic ensemble that has brought klezmer music to the world stage; and their concerts, performed on the historic instruments of the 19th century, bring to life the music of eastern European Jewry and its shtetl bands.

FleytMuzik is comprised of leading musicians of traditional klezmer. Led by internationally renowned pioneering klezmer flutist, Adrianne Greenbaum, with Michael Alpert, vocals and violin (National Heritage Fellowship award, 2015), Pete Rushefsky, tsimbl (tsimbalist with Itzhak Perlman's “In the Fiddler’s House”), Jake Shulman-Ment, fiddle, Brian Glassman, bass, and guest, UConn adjunct woodwind specialist, Walter “Zev” Mamlok. 

collage fleytmuzik resize




Klezmer ensemble FleytMuzik performs

Professor Greenbaum was recently featured in Lilith Magazine, where she described her efforts to revitalize the music created by Polish Jews, so much of which was lost in the devastating wake of the Nazis.

“Farewell to the Homeland: Poyln” Concert


The Geshikhte/Story: A tiny shtetl in Dubiecko, Poland; three generations of a family klezmer band; post Shabbos torchlight parade to Belzer rebbe; 1934 Bar Mitzvah on a boat to America; family members live or die in Holocaust; Jewish music manuscripts found in family violin case.  Fast forward to 2009, Adrianne Greenbaum and Sharon Frant Brooks make a miraculous shidduk/shidduch, Greenbaum transcribes the many scribbled pages of music, travels to Poland and performs a few of the tunes at the cemetery, and finally, “FleytMuzik’s” musicians perform these works that were alive in early 19th century. Poland, with the full musical story coming to fruition today.

About Adrianne Greenbaum


Professor of Music at Mount Holyoke College, Adrianne Greenbaum  is sought after as a performer and teacher for diverse audiences and enjoys teaching children as well as adults, most recently joining the faculty at New Horizons in Chattauqua, NY, and the adult session at New England Music Camp in Maine. Adrianne is the leading pioneer revivalist of the klezmer flute tradition, performing on vintage European and American wood flutes from the late nineteenth centuries. She enjoys touring with her klezmer ensemble “FleytMuzik” having recently completed a seven concert tour of Scotland and presented her klezmer and early music blend at the prestigious Pittsburgh Renaissance and Baroque series in 2016.

In addition to many universities and colleges throughout the US, she has performed and given master classes in Dusseldorf, Paris, Vienna, and Krakow. Her albums "FleytMuzik" and "Family Portrait" have won awards and acclaim for her entertaining and historically informed performances, the most recent being the release of "Farewell to the Homeland: Poyln."  For many years running, Adrianne has been invited to perform and give workshops for the National and the British Flute Society Societies and for the prestigious New York Flute Club, focusing on baroque and klezmer ornamentation, and exploring commonalities between these two genres.

Beyond her private studio she has taught at many adult programs, including KlezKamp, KlezKanada, KlezmerQuerque, Boxwood Festival (Nova Scotia) and Santa Fe Flute Immersion and has led master classes and workshops in England, France, Austria, and across the US. This summer marked the third annual hosting of her popular World Music and Improv Camp in CT. Additionally she has created a new concert series on period instruments, connecting klezmer and baroque music. Ms. Greenbaum is Solo Flutist of the Wall Street Chamber Players, Principal Flute Emeritus of Orchestra New England and the New Haven Symphony and resides in Fairfield, CT.


Professor Dov Waxman to Present “Trouble in the Tribe” on March 9, 2017

On March 9 at 7:00 pm, in the Konover Auditorium at the Dodd Research Center, Dov Waxman, professor of political science, international affairs, and Israel studies at Northeastern University will present “Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel.” Professor Waxman will describe how the conflict over Israel within the American Jewish communities has developed and what it means for the future of American Jewish politics. The event, sponsored by the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, UConn’s Middle East Studies Program, and the Department of Political Science, is free and open to the public. Attendance at the event counts toward sophomore honors credit.

Professor Waxman’s presentation will be followed by a Q&A as well as a book signing of Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel. Books will be available for purchase through Barnes and Noble at the Dodd Center from 6:30-8:30 pm.

What people are saying:

Trouble in the TribeA meticulous, precise, well-organized survey that takes into account the many different views and will certainly facilitate the heated conversation.”–Kirkus

“This is an extremely important book that will have profound consequences. When puzzled friends ask me why the American Jewish community is now so divided over Israel, this is the book I will recommend.“–Kenneth D. Wald, coauthor of Religion and Politics in the United States

From the back cover:

Drawing on a wealth of in-depth interviews with American Jewish leaders and activists, Waxman shows why Israel has become such a divisive issue among American Jews. He delves into the American Jewish debate about Israel, examining the impact that the conflict over Israel is having on Jewish communities. Waxman sets this conflict in the context of broader cultural, political, institutional, and demographic changes.

Dov Waxman is the author of The Pursuit of Peace and the Crisis of Israeli Identity and the coauthor of Israel’s Palestinians: The Conflict Within.


Parking is available in the North and South garages on campus. Garage rates are $1/hr after 5pm. Did you know that after 5:00 pm, visitors may park in any on-campus space not designated as reserved, restricted or limited? 

Gili Getz to Perform the Forbidden Conversation on April 4, 2017

Actor and photographer Gili Getz will perform The Forbidden Conversation, an autobiographical one-man performance exploring the difficulty of having a conversation about Israel in the American Jewish community. The event, postponed due to February’s winter storm, now takes place on Tuesday, April 4, at 7:00 pm in Laurel Hall, room 101, and is made possible by the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life and UConn’s Middle East Studies Program. The performance is free and open to the public. Attendance at the event counts toward Sophomore Honors credit.

In The Forbidden Conversation, Gili Getz presents a deeply personal one-man performance that is based on his own journey.  The play will be followed by an open discussion about the challenging conversations we have with family, friends, and our community concerning the future of Israel, the American Jewish community, and ways to process fundamental differences and disagreements.

What people are saying:

“At a time when, for American Jews, talking about Israel is so fraught and contentious Gili Getz’s Forbidden Conversation actually facilitates the conversation. His deft, rich and gripping portrayal of the difficulties in discussing Israel promises to make such discussions more likely, more civil and more productive.”

— Professor Steven M. Cohen – Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

“Powerful play! A well-constructed experience for opening up the ‘forbidden conversation’”

— Rabbi Reuven Greenvald, Director of Israel Engagement at the Union for Reform Judaism

“As Israel becomes an increasingly divisive issue among American Jews, conversations about Israel now frequently degenerate into bitter arguments and angry accusations. In his powerful and poignant play ‘The Forbidden Conversation’ Gili Getz addresses this issue head-on, with candor, wit, and passion. Anyone who has argued about Israel, or simply struggled to talk about it, will surely relate to and be moved by Gili’s experience”

— Professor Dov Waxman – Northeastern University – the author of Trouble in the Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict over Israel

The Forbidden Conversation trailer:

From Gili’s website:

About the play

While visiting Israel during the last Gaza war in 2014, Gili experienced difficulty talking about the path Israel is on with his father for the first time in his life. Finding himself in a forbidden conversation with his dad, and worried that it might strain their relationship, Gili embarked on a journey to understand the most complex, sensitive and contentious topic in the Jewish community — Israel. Having come of age politically while serving as a military photographer during the turbulent Oslo accords and the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Gili turned to photography, hoping it would help him once again make sense of a painful political argument. The result is The Forbidden Conversation, developed during the artist fellowship LABA (Laboratory for Jewish culture) at the 14th Street Y, where it premiered in the spring of 2015.


Gili Getz graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (NY), where he received the Kirk Douglas Scholarship and was a member of the Academy Company. He has performed in New York and Los Angeles in: Off-Off Broadway R.U.R. (as Gall), Off Broadway Retzach (as Flushed), Skin & Teeth (as Orion), for which he was nominated for Best Actor in a Drama (Artistic Director’s Award), Astroglide/That’s What (as Man), which he also wrote, The Broadway Play (as Lieutenant), Garbo’s Cuban Lover (as Thalberg), and in the New York premiere of Steel Tower. Gili performed at the Roxy Regional Theatre (TN) in Of Mice and Men (as George), Hamlet and the Bea[u]tiful in the Extreme. He has directed and acted in the critically acclaimed production of The Forgotten Carols for the past eight years.

Gili’s career as a photographer began as a photojournalist in the Israeli military. His photos covering Jewish-American politics have been published in Yedioth Ahronoth, Haaretz, The Jewish Week, The Jewish Daily Forward, Times of Israel, JTA, and Tikkun Magazine. His work is published by Princeton University Press in the new book “Trouble in the Tribe” by Professor Dov Waxman. Gili was the editor of the Israeli news site Ynet US.

For more information visit Gili’s website:



Parking is available in the North and South garages on campus. Garage rates are $1/hr after 5pm. Did you know that after 5:00 pm, visitors may park in any on-campus space not designated as reserved, restricted or limited? 

Getting Here:

View an interactive map of the Storrs campus and even download the app version to your phone: http://maps.uconn.edu/map/

Panel Discussion on Defending Space: Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Sexuality, and Human Rights in Uncertain Times

What will be the future of interdisciplinary spaces in a Trump administration? Will they come under direct attack from federal authorities, and if so, how? How has the knowledge produced in such spaces prepared us for the political turn that we are now seeing? What kinds of solidarity can our students and faculty expect to find in this moment of danger? And what is our strategy going forward?

A panel discussion entitled “Defending Space: Race/Ethnic Studies, Gender/Sexuality Studies, and Human Rights in Uncertain Times” will be held in the Dodd Research Center’s Konover Auditorium on December 5 from 3:00-5:00pm.  

The panel will bring together leaders and faculty of interdisciplinary units devoted to social justice at UConn to address these questions, and to engage the audience in dialogue.

The panelists include:

Debanuj DasGupta, Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies

David Embrick, Africana Studies

Kathryn Libel, Director, Human Rights Institute

Glenn Mitoma, Director, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

Mark Overmyer-Velàzquez, Director, El Instituto

Cathy Schlund-Vials, Director, Asian and Asian American Studies

Jeffrey Shoulson, Director, Center for Judaic Studies

Chris Vials, Director, American Studies


This event is co-sponsored by the UConn Humanities Institute, American Studies, Institute for Asian and Asian American Studies, El Instituto, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Africana Studies, Judaic Studies, the Dodd Center, and the Human Rights Institute.

Jewish Playwriting Contest to Hold Audience Selection Round at Charter Oak Cultural Center

Jewish Plays ProjectCharter Oak Cultural Center audience members will select the winning play to send to New York City for the final round of competition in the Jewish Plays Project playwriting contest.  Center Director Jeffrey Shoulson, chair of the play selection committee, along with a panel of judges, has determined which three playwrights out of the top 10 finalists will have the opportunity to present 20-minute dramatic readings of portions of their work at Charter Oak Cultural Center before the audience, voting by smart phone, crowns a winner who moves on to the final round in New York City.

This event, made possible by the Charter Oak Cultural Center and the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life will be held on February 16, 2017, from 7:00-10:00 pm at Charter Oak Cultural Center (21 Charter Oak Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106). 

Reserve your FREE tickets by following this link: https://jpwchartford2017.eventbrite.com

Created by the Jewish Plays Project, this evening of theater is focused on the best and brightest in
contemporary Jewish playwriting. The Jewish Plays Projects receives more than 850 new, full-length plays on important Jewish themes and selects 10 finalists whose work is shown in various cities throughout the US.  Audiences then weigh in on which play will ultimately be produced.

To date, winning plays for 18 Jewish Plays Projects have gone on to production in New York, London, Tel Aviv, and many US cities.

Take part in this fun and innovative project, and help select a winner!

About the Plays


The Book of Esther by Gina Stevensen (Brooklyn, NY)
An Orthodox 17-year-old girl in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, questions her life and her community and pushes beyond the boundaries of it.

The Laws of Blood by Barry Jay Kaplan (Woodstock, NY)
A ghost memoire writer encounters a unique personal history that unlocks part of his own past.

After the War by Motti Lerner (Ramat HaSharon, Israel)
An ex-pat Israeli musician returns to perform a concert in the territories - and to make peace with the family he left 18 years ago.

From The Jewish Plays Project:


The Jewish Plays Project puts bold, progressive Jewish conversations on world stages. The JPP’s innovative and competitive development vehicle invests emerging artists in their Jewish identity; engages Jewish communities in the vetting, selecting and championing of new voices; and secures mainstream production opportunities for the best new plays.

11/9 The Rescuers: Film Screening and Talkback with Director Michael King and Executive Producer Joyce Mandell

Joyce Mandell

On November 9 at 7:00pm, award-winning film The Rescuers will be screened at the Konover Auditorium in the Dodd Research Center followed by a question and answer session with Director Michael King and Executive Producer Joyce Mandell.  The event is being co-hosted by UConn Hillel, the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, and the UNESCO Chair and Institute of Comparative Human Rights and organized by UConn student Nathan Schachter, theater studies and communications major.  This event is free and open to the public and also counts towards Sophomore Honors credit .

 About the Director

MichaMichael Kingel King, award-winning producer, writer, and director of music videos and documentaries, is originally from New London, CT.  He graduated from Connecticut College with a BA in Government and holds an MA in Film Studies from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and a postgraduate degree in Feature Film Directing from the Amsterdam School of the Arts (Mauritis Binger Film Institute).  In addition to teaching at both Emerson College and Lynn University, King was awarded Switzerland’s Carl Lutz Medal of Freedom in 2009 and Connecticut College’s Harriet Buescher Lawrence ’34 Prize for his lifework in film and television in 2010.  He is a member of the Directors Guild of America and a former board member of the International Documentary Association.  His newest film When War Comes Home was released last month and follows the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. His other works include feature film and various PBS documentaries, including the Emmy award-winning Bangin’ which explores youth violence in America.

About the Film

The Rescuers follows Stephanie Nyombayire, a young Rwandan anti-genocide activist, and Sir Martin Gilbert, a leading Holocaust historian, as they travel across Europe and elsewhere interviewing survivors and descendants of the diplomats who rescued thousands of Jews from the Nazis. The film also explores the connection between the Holocaust and other genocides, such as in Rwanda, that have taken place in the modern world. The film sheds light on what it truly means to be a “diplomat” and how we all can embrace our inner diplomatic tendencies. The Rescuers teaches a different side of the Holocaust that many people don’t know about.

Rescuers Cover Art

Winner of “Best Historical Documentary” at the New York International Film Festival (2011), Winner of “Best Documentary” at the Palm Beach International Film Festival (2011), Winner of“Best Documentary” at the Beloit International Film Festival (2011), Winner of “Best Narration Documentary and Feature Film Humanitarian Award” at the Monaco International Film Festival (2011), Nominated for an NAACP Image Award (2012), screened at the United Nations Conference on January 23, 2013.


11/16/16 “Intercultural Comedian” Jesse Appell to Present on Jewish and Chinese Humor

Jesse AppellThe final event of our Jewish Humor Series will take place on UConn’s Storrs campus in Laurel Hall, room 102, on November 16 at 7pm when Fulbright scholar and comedian Jesse Appell will present his unique brand of intercultural comedy that mixes Jewish humor with the traditional art of Xiangsheng, a 150-year-old Chinese comedy folk art. The event is made possible by UConn’s Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford, UConn’s Asian and Asian American Studies Institute, and UConn’s Asian American Cultural Center. 

A graduate of Brandeis University, Jesse continued his studies in Beijing in 2012 where his receipt of a Critical Language Enhancement Award made possible intensive language study, and a Fulbright scholarship funded his research on Chinese comedy.  

As well as studying and performing Xiangsheng, Jesse also performs bilingual improv and has been showcased on Chinese television. He writes a comedy blog for China Personified and LaughBeijing and created the LaughBeijing project in an effort to connect Chinese and Western culture through comedy and to develop new ways of combining the comedic styles of both groups.

10/19 – Comedian Jessica Kirson to Perform at the University of Hartford

ComJessica Kirsonic Jessica Kirson will perform her stand-up routine at the University of Hartford’s Wilde Auditorium on October 19 at 7pm as the second feature in a Jewish Humor Series that the Center for Judaic Studies is participating in this fall as part of a new collaborative project with the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford and in support of a course that is being simultaneously piloted on both campuses, “Funny Jews: On Jewish Humor,” taught at UConn by Center Director Jeffrey Shoulson and at UHart by Professor Avinoam Patt. These events are free and open to the public! 

To reserve your free tickets, please call the Greenberg Center at (860) 768-5018 or e-mail: mgcjs@hartford.edu

Jessica Kirson has appeared on numerous TV shows, including Last Comic Standing, The Tonight Show with Jay Jeno, and Last Call with Carson Daly.  She was awarded “Best Female Comic” by the MAC association in New York City and the Nightlife Award for “Best Stand-up Comedian” in New York City. Her YouTube channel “The Jessy K Show” has over 2.5 million views, and she has performed onstage throughout the United States. Visit her website to learn more!