Enrichment through the sponsorship of several programming initiatives is the goal of the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life. View our event calendar, and stay up-to-date on all of our programming. Learn about the many lecture series and cultural events we have to offer on a wide range of topics! Our events are always free and open to the public. View full event listings.
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The Center’s mission is to advance research and scholarship in the field of Judaic Studies by providing resources and information to faculty and students. Learn about the latest funding opportunities sponsored by the Center. Find information on conferences, seminars, fellowships, and grants. Discover resources for teaching and research. Stay updated on the publications of our faculty. Find news on faculty research and funding.
Christine Buckley from UConn Today recently interviewed Dr. Avinoam Patt, Director of the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, on the question of Jewish Humor. [Read the full article]
Join us for a reading by and conversation with critically acclaimed author Ayelet Tsabari at Trinity College, Hartford, February 18 [Read more]
Marion Kaplan to Lecture on Jewish Refugees in Portugal (Stamford)5:00pm
Tuesday, January 28th, 2020
05:00 PM - 07:00 PM
Stamford Campus Main Auditorium (A1)Please join us for a talk with NYU historian Dr. Marion Kaplan who will present the UConn Center for Judaic Studies Maria and Ishier Jacobson Lecture on "Hitler's Jewish Refugees: Hope and Anxiety in Portugal."
Date: Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Time: Reception 5:00 pm, Talk 6:00 pm
At this lecture, clothing donations will be accepted for UConn Stamford's biannual Professional Clothing Drive, which benefits UConn students in need of attire for interviews, work, and internships.
About the Talk: "Hitler's Jewish Refugees: Hope and Anxiety in Portugal" depicts the travails of refugees escaping Nazi Europe and awaiting their fate in Portugal. Drawing attention not only to the social and physical upheavals of refugee existence, it also highlights their feelings as they fled their homes and histories while begging strangers for kindness. Portugal’s dictator, António de Oliveira Salazar, admitted tens of thousands of Jews fleeing westward but set his secret police on those who did not move on quickly. Yet Portugal’s people left a lasting impression on refugees as caring and generous.
An emotional history of fleeing, the book probes how specific locations touched refugees’ inner lives, including the borders they nervously crossed, the consulate lines they fretfully waited on, the smoky cafés they uneasily inhabited, or the overcrowded transatlantic ships that signaled their liberation. These sites induced feelings of frustration or relief – often both.
Life in limbo has at its core anxiety and fear, but also courage and resilience. Most refugees in Portugal showed strength and stamina as they faced unimagined challenges. For them, Lisbon emerged as a site of temporality and transition, a “no-man’s-land” between a painful past and a hopeful future. Paying careful attention to the words of refugees in Portugal may help us to understand Jewish heartbreak and perseverance in the 1940s and also to listen compassionately to refugees’ stories in our own times.
About the Speaker: Marion Kaplan is the Skirball Professor of Modern Jewish History at NYU. She is a three-time National Jewish Book Award winner for The Making of the Jewish Middle Class: Women, Family and Identity in Imperial Germany (1991), Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany (1998), and Gender and Jewish History (with Deborah Dash Moore, 2011) as well as a finalist for Dominican Haven: The Jewish Refugee Settlement in Sosua (2008). Her other publications include: The Jewish Feminist Movement in Germany, Jewish Daily Life in Germany, 1618-1945 (ed.), and Jüdische Welten: Juden in Deutschland vom 18. Jahrhundert bis in die Gegenwart (with Beate Meyer, 2005). She has edited several other books on German-Jewish and women’s history and has taught courses on German-Jewish history, European women’s history, German and European history, as well as European Jewish history, and Jewish women’s history. Her newest book, Hitler’s Jewish Refugees: Hope and Anxiety i
Contact Information: If you require an accommodation to participate, please contact Stamford Coordinator for Judaic Studies Prof. Fred Roden at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-251-8559.More
Marion Kaplan to Lecture on Jewish Refugees in Portugal (Storrs)1:45pm
Wednesday, January 29th, 2020
01:45 PM - 03:00 PM
Storrs Campus Class of '47 Room, Babbidge LibraryPlease join us for a talk with NYU historian Dr. Marion Kaplan who will present the UConn Center for Judaic Studies Gene and Georgia Mittelman Lecture in Judaic Studies on "Hitler's Jewish Refugees: Hope and Anxiety in Portugal."
Exhibition opening “Beyond Duty” and reception will follow the lecture at 3:00 pm in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center (across the courtyard from the Class of'47 Room, Babbidge Library).
The exhibition, brought by the Consulate General of Israel to New England and timed for the United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27, is co-sponsored by UConn Global Affairs and the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.
About the Talk: Portugal’s dictator, António de Oliveira Salazar, admitted tens of thousands of Jews fleeing westward from Nazi Europe but set his secret police on those who did not move on quickly. Yet Portugal’s people left a lasting impression on refugees as caring and generous. Life in limbo has at its core anxiety and fear, but also courage and resilience. Most refugees in Portugal showed strength and stamina as they faced unimagined challenges. For them, Lisbon emerged as a site of temporality and transition, a "no-man’s-land" between a painful past and a hopeful future. Paying careful attention to the words of refugees in Portugal may help us to understand Jewish heartbreak and perseverance in the 1940s and also to listen compassionately to refugees’ stories in our own times.
About the Speaker: Marion Kaplan is the Skirball Professor of Modern Jewish History at NYU. She is a three-time National Jewish Book Award winner as well as a finalist for Dominican Haven: The Jewish Refugee Settlement in Sosua (2008).
Contact Information: The lecture is free and open to the public. If you require an accommodation to participate, please contact Pamela Weathers at email@example.com or 860-486-2271.More
"Beyond Duty" Exhibition Opening and Reception3:00pm
Wednesday, January 29th, 2020
03:00 PM - 05:00 PM
Storrs Campus Thomas J. Dodd Research CenterIn connection with the observance of United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan 27, the Consulate General of Israel to New England will display a series of posters produced by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs showcasing the history of diplomats from around the world who defied the direct orders of their governments during World War II to save the lives of countless Jews from the Nazis.
The exhibit will open in the Dodd Center on January 29th at 3:00PM, with introductory remarks by Avinoam Patt, Doris & Simon Konover Chair of Judaic Studies and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies & Contemporary Jewish Life. Reception to follow.
Contact Information: Matthew Larson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 860-486-4406More
Talk by Israeli Author Ayelet Tsabari4:30pm
Tuesday, February 18th, 2020
04:30 PM - 06:00 PM
Other Trinity College, Mather Hall, Wean Terrace Rooms ABC, 300 Summit Street, HartfordAward-winning Israeli author Ayelet Tsabari will present "Language, Longing, and Belonging," a discussion of her new, critically acclaimed memoir "The Art of Leaving."
The event is free and open to the public. The talk is sponsored by the Distinguished Scholar lecture by the Department of Language and Culture Studies at Trinity College, ALEPH: The Institute of Jewish Ideas, and the UConn Center for Judaic Studies.
About the Book
In The Art of Leaving, Tsabari tells her story, from her early love of writing and words, to her rebellion during her mandatory service in the Israeli army. She travels from Israel to New York, Canada, Thailand, and India, falling in and out of love with countries, men and women, drugs and alcohol, running away from responsibilities and refusing to settle in one place. She recounts her first marriage, her struggle to define herself as a writer in a new language, her decision to become a mother, and finally her rediscovery and embrace of her family history--a history marked by generations of headstrong women who struggled to choose between their hearts and their homes. Eventually, she realizes that she must reconcile the memories of her father and the sadness of her past if she is ever going to come to terms with herself.
About the Author
Ayelet Tsabari was born in Israel to a large family of Yemeni descent. She is the author of the memoir in essays The Art of Leaving, finalist for the Writer’s Trust Hilary Weston Prize, winner of the Canadian Jewish Literary Award for memoir, and an Apple Books and Kirkus Review Best Book of 2019. Her first book, The Best Place on Earth, won the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and the Edward Lewis Wallant Award, and was long listed to the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. The book was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, a Kirkus Review Best Book of 2016, and has been published internationally.
Contact Information: Lidija Petrus at 860-297-5121 or email@example.com.More
Berel Lang: “Against the Lachrymose View of Jewish History—Again”1:30pm
Wednesday, March 11th, 2020
01:30 PM - 03:30 PM
Storrs Campus Babbidge Library, Class of '47 RoomPlease join us for the Gene and Georgia Mittelman Lecture in Judaic Studies, presented by Professor Berel Lang on "Against the Lachrymose View of Jewish History—Again."
This event is free and open to the public. A kosher lunch will be served.
About the Talk:
The historian Salo Baron attacked the "lachrymose view of Jewish history" as mistakenly focused on events or practices of persecution and violence in that history--at the same time providing strong evidence that still more basic factors shaped the history of Jewish flourishing and survival. But the same lachrymose view still dominates current popular Jewish understanding, and this has (on the talk's claim) severe, even dangerous practical consequences.
About the Speaker:
Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, SUNY at Albany (BA, Yale; Ph.D, Columbia). Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University, University of Connecticut, Wesleyan. Author of twelve books, including 'Writing and the Moral Self', 'Act and Idea in the Nazi Genocide', 'The Anatomy of Philosophical Style', 'Writing and the Holocaust', and 'Primo Levi: The Matter of a Life'.
Contact Information: If you require an accommodation to participate, please contact Pamela Weathers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-486-2271.More
“How Yiddish Changed America and America Changed Yiddish” with Ilan Stavans and Josh Lambert7:00pm
Wednesday, March 18th, 2020
07:00 PM - 08:30 PM
Other Mandell JCC, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West HartfordHow Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish - Join us for a book presentation with Josh Lambert and Ilan Stavans!
Prof. Josh Lambert (UMass Amherst) and Prof. Ilan Stavans (Amherst College) will discuss their new book, How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish—a diverse anthology of the influences and inspirations of Yiddish voices in America—radical, dangerous, and seductive, but also sweet, generous, and full of life. The book will be published at Restless Books in January 2020- read more about the book here: https://restlessbooks.org/bookstore/how-yiddish-changed-america
The event is sponsored by Aleph: Institute for Jewish Ideas, the UConn Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, and the Jewish Hartford European Roots Project.
Contact Information: Danielle Moghadam, email@example.com, 860-231-6366More
Mandell JCC and UConn Judaic Studies launch "ALEPH: The Institute of Jewish Ideas," a new community learning program. Under this year's theme "Home and Exile," members and organizations are invited to a dive into Jewish history and sources. [Learn more]