Author: Joscha Jelitzki

Dr. Marion Kaplan to lecture on Jewish Refugees in Portugal | Jan. 29, 2020 (Storrs)

Kaplan Book Cover

Please 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. 

The event is free and open to the public. Attendance counts toward honors credit.

Date: Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Time: 1:45 pm
Place: Class of '47 Room, Babbidge Library, UConn Storrs

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 Class of 1947 Room, Babbidge Library).

The exhibition, curated 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. It will run through March 1. Center Director Avinoam Patt will provide introductory remarks.

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 in Portugal, 1940-45 (Yale University Press) will be released in January, 2020. 

If you require an accommodation to participate, please contact Pamela Weathers at pamela.weathers@uconn.edu or 860-486-2271.

Dr. Marion Kaplan to lecture on Jewish Refugees in Portugal | Jan. 28, 2020 (UConn Stamford)

Kaplan Book CoverPlease 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. 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.

Date: Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Time: Reception 5:00 pm, Talk 6:00 pm
Place: Main Auditorium (A1), UConn Stamford

Dr. Kaplan will also present this program at UConn Storrs the following day, Wednesday 1/29

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 in Portugal, 1940-45 (Yale University Press) will be released in January, 2020. 

The lecture is free and open to the public. If you require an accommodation to participate, please contact Stamford Coordinator for Judaic Studies Prof. Fred Roden at frederick.roden@uconn.edu or 203-251-8559.

UConn Brain and Behavior in Tel Aviv, Israel, Summer 2020

UConn Brain and Behavior in Tel Aviv is a summer study abroad program that provides students the opportunity to pursue their studies in Psychology, Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, PreMed, or PNB in Israel. The program is led by Dr. Etan Markus (UConn Psychology) together with colleagues at Tel Aviv University. Participants will take a UConn psychology class supplemented with a second, Tel Aviv University, course focused on regional history and/or culture as well as organized activities, tours, and an Israeli dinner/cooking class.

All coursework and activities will be conducted in English.  

There will be an information session on Monday, February 24, 5:00-6:00 pm in Bousfield 162. 

Learn more at the program website: https://tausummerneuroscience.uconn.edu/

TAU Summer Flyer

 

 

Two Notable Fellowships Available in the Field of Jewish Studies

Apply now for two fellowships available from Columbia University and from the JDC!

  1. The Rabin-Shvidler Fellowship at Columbia University and Fordham University
    Eligible: post-doctoral scholars in all fields of Jewish Studies
    Deadline for submission: December 31, 2019
  2. 2020 JDC Archives Fellowship Program
    Eligible: senior scholars, postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, and independent researchers
    Deadline for submission: January 21, 2020

Atina Grossmann Presents “Shelter from the Holocaust: German Jewish Refugees in Iran and India”

On November 7, 2019, Professor Atina Grossmann, historian from the Cooper Union, presented "Shelter from the Holocaust: German Jewish Refugees in Iran and India" for the UConn Center for Judaic Studies annual Kristallnacht remembrance lecture. The event was made possible in part by the Center for Judaic Studies Frances and Irving Seliger Memorial Endowment Fund. In expression of the Center's solidarity with the Jewish community in Halle, Germany, which suffered a terrorist attack on Yom Kippur, it was a partner event of the Jewish Culture Days in Halle. In case you missed the event, or want to re-listen to it, please find our video recording below. Apologies for the disturbing noise; it disappears after the first five minutes.

Grossmann Vid Image

Director Patt Featured in UConn Today

Dr. Patt lecturing

Christine Buckley from UConn Today interviewed Dr. Avinoam Patt, Director of the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, on the question of Jewish Humor. The phenomenon of many Jews being funny was explained by Patt through the position of the immigrant: As a coping strategy humor can bridge cultural differences and signal harmlessness to the majority of society. But there is also a specific epistemology to that position: From the margins, one is more likely to gain critical insights into society, which then takes the form of a joke. In his notion of Jewish humor being primarily an exilic feature, Patt transcends the particularism of Jewish humor to more universal questions of being a minority and the quest for identity.

Dr. Patt became the Center's Director in August 2019, and so Buckley's piece further uses the opportunity to offer a nuanced biographical portrayal of him, linking his academic interests to his personal experiences. Patt shares what it was like to grow up as the son of two Israeli parents in Houston, Texas, how he entered the field of Jewish Studies, and where he finds intersections between his current two main interests, Holocaust Studies and Jewish Humor, which "might seem incongruous" at first. As the new director, Dr. Patt set himself the goal of expanding the Judaic Studies section at UConn, while also strengthening the Center's outreach program beyond the borders of the campus.

The piece appeared in UConn Today on October 28, 2019, and can be read online in full length here.

Celebration and Reflection at UConn Book Launch

Sarah Willen speaking at panel discussionWith her latest book published just this June, the panel discussion on October 17, 2019, presented and celebrated Fighting for Dignity: Migrant Lives at Israel’s Margins (UPenn, 2019) by Sarah Willen, Associate Professor for Anthropology at UConn. Her study examines the gerush, a deportation campaign by the Israeli government in 2002, and the effects on its subjects, non-Jewish migrant workers from the Philippines, Ghana, Columbia, and Ukraine. The panel discussion took place between the days of the Sukkot holiday, which centers around the very instability and precariousness of human existence and spaces for dwelling, as Willen remarked.

The event was sponsored by the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, the UConn Human Rights Institute, and the Middle East Studies Program. Director Avinoam Patt (Judaic Studies) and Director Kathryn Libal (Human Rights) gave warm and personal notes of welcome and introduction. The three panelists who spoke before Willen included Tally Amir, a PhD sociologist from Harvard, Heide Castañeda, a PhD anthropologist from the University of South Florida, and Jennifer S. Hirsch, a professor for Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia. In her comments, Amir brought a Human Rights legal perspective to the panel, focusing on dignity in Israeli judicial activism. Castañeda reflected on the links between indignity and indignation, pointing to the parts of Willen’s book that feature the perspectives from Jewish Israeli activists, who organized solidarity and protest against the gerush. Hirsch used her position as Willen’s former teacher to laud her work, praising her book as “timely and timeless.” Hirsch further pondered on the freedom of the social sciences to address the pressing questions of our time and named Willen as an outstanding example of scholarly ambition and courage.

Sarah Willen speaking at panel

All the speakers highlighted the somehow surprising timeliness of the publication. Despite the research going back 18 years and the distant geographical context, Willen’s findings bear special relevance to and critical insight into the current American discourse on immigration. The author herself admitted that she could not have imagined the future priority of the matter when starting her research. In her concluding remarks, with support from Hannah Arendt, Willen linked her study to the universalist Jewish values that the different Israeli activists shared and pledged herself to anthropology’s goal to make “the strange familiar and the familiar strange.”

 

 

Johannes Heil (Heidelberg) on pre-Rabbinic Western Jewish Textual Tradition

Headshot Heil

Talk by Prof. Johannes Heil: Patrologia Judaica? Exploring the pre-Rabbinic Western Jewish Textual Tradition

Wednesday, November 20, 1:15-2:15 pm
Humanitites Institute Conference Room
4th-Floor Babbidge Library

This event is free and open to the public. Kosher lunch will be provided.

About the talk:
Professor Johannes Heil, President of the Hochschule für jüdische Studien Heidelberg (Academy for Jewish Studies), presents a lecture which challenges the assumption of the widespread decline of Jewish diasporic culture after 70 C.E., which is based on limited archaeological and epigraphic evidence. This lecture focuses instead on the textual culture of Western diasporic Judaism during the centuries before the reception of Rabbinic Judaism, roughly from the 4th to the 9th century, and paints a different picture of a vibrant Jewish culture in Western Europe.

An event of the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, co-sponsored by the UConn Humanities Institute, the Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, and the Medieval Studies Program. If you require an accommodation to participate, please contact Pamela Weathers at 860-486-2271 or pamela.weathers@uconn.edu.

Reflections on the Work of Philip Roth by Dr. Sondra Melzer 11/21

 

Image Philip Roth

Sondra Melzer: Reflections on the Work of Philip Roth

November 21
12:30 pm
MPR, UConn Stamford

Philip Roth, 1933-2018, was an American novelist and short story writer. In her talk, Dr. Sondra Melzer will discuss Roth's focus on Jewish life throughout his storied career, the writings of which made him one of the most celebrated writers of his generation.

Dr. Sondra Melzer completed her PhD at NYU. She is the author of The Rhetoric of Rage: Women In Dorothy Parker. She spent 39 years as a public high school teacher, was an instructor at the University of Connecticut, and ran the Sacred Heart University Education Program. In 2017, upon completing 60 years of teaching, she was named Professor Emerita at Sacred Heart University.

The event by the UConn Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life is free and open to the pubic. If you require an accommodation, please contact Stamford Coordinator for Judaic Studies Professor Fred Roden at frederick.roden@uconn.edu or 203-251-8559.