Author: Pamela Weathers

Joel Blatt to Present “Mussolini, Italian Fascism, and the Jewish Question” Feb. 12, 2019

Joel BlattOn Tuesday, February 12, UConn Stamford Professor Joel Blatt will present "Mussolini, Italian Fascism, and the Jewish Question." The talk will be held at the UConn Stamford campus in the Multi-Purpose Room (MPR) from 6:30-8:00 pm.  A reception with light refreshments will be held from 6:00-6:30 pm

The talk is free and open to the public.  It is sponsored by the UConn Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life. If you require an accommodation, please contact Stamford Coordinator for Judaic Studies Professor Fred Roden at or 203-251-8559.

About the Talk

This lecture will discuss the fate of Jews in fascist Italy. At first, Mussolini was not especially antisemitic, but from 1934 onward, the dictator increasingly persecuted Jews and stripped them of their rights. From September 1943 until the end of April 1945, about 15% of the Jews in Italy were murdered. This lecture will analyze Mussolini's shifting policies. At times it will also refer to the emancipated Jewish Italian Rosselli family.

About the Speaker

Joel Blatt has been teaching European History at the UConn Stamford Campus for many years and has been chosen a number of times for the UConn Stamford Campus Outstanding Teacher Award. He has taught and co-taught a course on the Holocaust. He is currently writing a book on The Assassination of Carlo and Nello Rosselli.


Professor Jerrilynn Dodds to Present “Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Medieval Spain: Art and Political Identity” on January 29, 2019

ArtworkOn Tuesday, January 29, Professor Jerrilynn Dodds will present "Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Medieval Spain: Art and Political Identity" for this year's Maria and Ishier Jacobson Lecture. The lecture will be held at the UConn Stamford campus in MPR 108 from 5:30-7:00 pm. Refreshments will be served.

The program is free and open to the public. It is made possible by the UConn Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life Ishier Jacobson Fund for Judaic & Middle Eastern Studies. If you require an accommodation to participate, please contact Stamford Coordinator for Judaic Studies Professor Roden at or 203-251-8559.

About the Talk

In the 700 years in which Christians, Muslims and Jews interacted in Islamic Spain, every conceivable kind of interaction occurred: open hostility, resistance, acculturation, and one of the most creative and cooperative levels of interaction known in the Middle Ages. Through art and architecture, this lecture will explore how the confessional and cultural diversity of the Spanish Middle Ages transformed the culture of Medieval Europe.

About the Speaker

Dr. Jerrilynn Dodds holds the Harlequin Adair Dammann Chair in the History of Art at Sarah Lawrence College and lectures/consults at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her work centers on transculturation and how art/architecture forms identity. Dodds' books include Arts of Intimacy: Christians, Jews and Muslims in the Making of Castilian Culture and Architecture and Ideology of Early Medieval Spain. In 2018 she received the Cross of the Order of Civil Merit from the Government of Spain.

The Zamir Chorale of Boston to Perform on February 24, 2019, at Charter Oak Cultural Center

Zamir Chorale of Boston

The Zamir Chorale of Boston – Four Centuries of Jewish Music


On February 24, 4:00-5:30 pm, don’t miss one of the world’s premier Jewish choral ensembles performing an eclectic repertoire that spans centuries! The program, hosted by Charter Oak Cultural Center, will be held at 21 Charter Oak Avenue, Hartford.

Program to include:

  • Liturgical masterworks from the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • A tribute to Leonard Bernstein with two selections.
  • Italian Baroque music by Salamone Rossi and Carlo Grossi
  • Songs from Israel on the theme of reconciliation.

Tickets: $20 / $15 Seniors (65+) / $5 Students & Children.
No one turned away due to lack of funds.
Part of the Charter Oak Cultural Center’s Celebration of Jewish Arts & Culture


Founded in 1969,the Zamir Chorale of Boston is a musical and educational organization with a mission to raise awareness of the breadth and beauty of Jewish culture through performances, recordings, symposia, publications, and musical commissions.

Led by Founder and Artistic Director Dr. Joshua Jacobson, the fifty member chorus performs music spanning hundreds of years, four continents, and nearly every musical style. Zamir’s repertoire includes Jewish liturgical pieces, major classical works, music of the Holocaust, new compositions, as well as Israeli, Yiddish, and Ladino folksongs. Concerts are designed to entertain, educate and inspire, which is why Zamir’s music is enjoyed by people of all ages, religions and races.

Zamir’s devoted local following is exemplified by its special recognition by and support from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In addition, Zamir has a far-reaching fan base through its 25 recordings and tours throughout the US, as well as in Israel and Europe. Zamir’s documentary film, Jewish Voices Return to Poland, has been shown on public television stations across the US. In 2006, Zamir was honored to perform at the UN General Assembly for the first International Day to Commemorate Victims of the Holocaust.

Zamir’s community involvement includes mentoring future leaders in Jewish choral music and collaborating with other choruses through joint performances.

Joshua Jacobson, a world authority on choral music, served 45 years as Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Northeastern University, including nine years as Music Department Chairman and six years as the Bernard Stotsky Professor of Jewish Cultural Studies. He is also Visiting Professor and Senior Consultant in the School of Jewish Music at Hebrew College, where he received an honorary doctorate degree. Dr. Jacobson is a sought-after scholar and lecturer. His many musical arrangements and compositions are performed worldwide. His book, Chanting the Hebrew Bible: The Art of Cantillation (Jewish Publication Society, 2002), is considered the definitive source in the field. Dr. Jacobson’s colorful programming and illuminating commentary make every Zamir performance a masterwork.


This event is supported by:

Samuel Roskin Trust at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
The Harry E. Goldfarb Family Foundation
UConn Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life
LAZ Parking
Rona Gollob
Sherry Banks-Cohn

Matthew Parent to Present “Outgunned: Israeli Military Innovation and the Talpiot Program” on Feb. 5, 2019

Israeli Soldiers

On Tuesday, February 5, Matthew Parent will present "Outgunned: Israeli Military Innovation and the Talpiot Program" for our Faculty Colloquium series. A kosher lunch will be provided.

The talk will be held from 12:30 - 1:30 pm, in Oak Hall 236 and is free and open to the public. It is made possible by the UConn Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life and the UConn Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages.

If you require an accommodation to participate, please contact Pamela Weathers at 860-486-2271 or

About the Talk

Engaged in conflict from its inception, the Israeli military faced complex challenges requiring creative solutions. While military aid and acquisitions from other countries, like the US, proved essential to early conflicts, Israel quickly needed its own indigenous solutions. Culminating in the establishment of the Talpiot program, military innovation was--and is--pivotal in the strengthening of Israel's military power. This presentation looks at the history, challenges, and major events in Israeli military innovation, as well as its unique characteristics compared to many other military establishments around the globe.

About the Speaker

Matthew ParentMatthew Parent is a PhD candidate in the Political Science Department at UConn, concentrating in International Relations. His research focuses on the intersection of security studies, military innovation, and popular culture. His data comes from diverse electronic and print sources, popular media, as well as from places like NATO's archives in Brussels, Belgium. His work attempts to intentionally bridge the gap between scholarly study and practical policy applications. He holds degrees from the University of Massachusetts, the Catholic University of America, and the University of Connecticut.

Faculty Position: Doris and Simon Konover Chair of Judaic Studies & Director of the Center for Judaic Studies

The Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Connecticut invites applications for the Doris and Simon Konover Chair of Judaic Studies at the advanced associate or full professor level.

The holder of the Doris and Simon Konover Chair of Judaic Studies will serve as Director of the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life. The successful candidate will spearhead the Center’s interdisciplinary Judaic Studies program ( on campus and in the community, and contribute through research and teaching to further the development of the Hebrew and Judaic Studies section of the Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages (


Minimally qualified candidates will possess a Ph.D. in a related field; equivalent foreign degrees are acceptable. We seek a candidate with distinguished scholarly accomplishments of national and international recognition, whose research and teaching focus on the Jewish experience in the modern era and who has a vision for advancing our undergraduate and graduate programs in close collaboration with the Center’s Academic Director.


The successful candidate should have experience in organizing events that attract students, faculty, and members of the broader community. The director will work with UConn’s programs in Human Rights; Middle East Studies; Africana Studies; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; the NEAG School of Education; and with interested faculty across the disciplines to further enhance the diversity of the program.

The successful candidate should demonstrate excellence in teaching and strong managerial, communication, and public relations skills as well as a commitment to diversity and inclusion. The director reports to the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and oversees all personnel, financial, and administrative functions of the Center, including the work of a program assistant, graduate assistant, and student workers.

Effective fundraising and outreach are vital to the future of the Center, and the incoming director should be experienced and prepared to invest time and energy in these endeavors.


This position is a full time, tenured 10-month appointment and applicants must meet University requirements for appointment at the rank of Associate or Full Professor.  Rank and salary will be commensurate with the candidate's qualifications and experience.

The operations of the Center of Judaic Studies include programming at the main campus in Storrs and the regional campuses in Hartford and Stamford. The director will work with the coordinator of Judaic Studies at the Stamford campus and engage with partners in the Greater Hartford area to offer cutting-edge programming for students, faculty, and the community at these campuses.

The position is based at the Storrs campus. Candidates may have the opportunity to teach at the campuses at Hartford and Stamford.


Select “Apply Now” to submit the following on Academic Jobs Online: cover lettercurriculum vitaeteaching statementresearch and scholarship statementvision statement for Center leadershipcommitment to diversity statement, and the names and contact information of three referees who have agreed to write in support of your application if requested.

For search-related inquiries, please contact Ms. Pamela Weathers, Program Assistant at the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life (, 860-486-2271).

It is preferred that applications are received by January 10, 2019, and evaluation of applicants will continue until position is filled.

Employment of the successful candidate will be contingent upon the successful completion of a pre-employment criminal background check.  (Search 2019185)

This position will be filled subject to budgetary approval.

All employees are subject to adherence to the State Code of Ethics, which may be found at


The University of Connecticut is committed to building and supporting a multicultural and diverse community of students, faculty, and staff. The diversity of students, faculty, and staff continues to increase, as does the number of honors students, valedictorians and salutatorians who consistently make UConn their top choice. More than 100 research centers and institutes serve the University’s teaching, research, diversity, and outreach missions, leading to UConn’s ranking as one of the nation’s top research universities. UConn’s faculty and staff are the critical link to fostering and expanding our vibrant, multicultural, and diverse community. As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer, UConn encourages applications from women, veterans, people with disabilities, and members of traditionally underrepresented populations.

Faculty Publication: The Captive Sea: Slavery, Communication, and Commerce in Early Modern Spain and the Mediterranean by Professor Daniel Hershenzon

A serious, probing look at early modern Mediterranean slavery. Daniel Hershenzon locates new and highly personalized sources within the vast bureaucratic archives of Spain and then wields them to identify and theorize the expectations and logics of behavior that underlay the captives' struggles to obtain freedom.—James Amelang, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Congratulations to affiliated faculty member Professor Daniel Hershenzon on the recent publication of The Captive Sea: Slavery, Communication, and Commerce in Early Modern Spain and the Mediterranean (University of Pennsylvania Press).

From the Publisher:


The Captive Sea by Daniel HershenzonIn The Captive Sea, Daniel Hershenzon explores the entangled histories of Muslim and Christian captives—and, by extension, of the Spanish Empire, Ottoman Algiers, and Morocco—in the seventeenth century to argue that piracy, captivity, and redemption helped shape the Mediterranean as an integrated region at the social, political, and economic levels. Despite their confessional differences, the lives of captives and captors alike were connected in a political economy of ransom and communication networks shaped by Spanish, Ottoman, and Moroccan rulers; ecclesiastic institutions; Jewish, Muslim, and Christian intermediaries; and the captives themselves, as well as their kin.

Hershenzon offers both a comprehensive analysis of competing projects for maritime dominance and a granular investigation of how individual lives were tragically upended by these agendas. He takes a close look at the tightly connected and ultimately failed attempts to ransom an Algerian Muslim girl sold into slavery in Livorno in 1608; the son of a Spanish marquis enslaved by pirates in Algiers and brought to Istanbul, where he converted to Islam; three Spanish Trinitarian friars detained in Algiers on the brink of their departure for Spain in the company of Christians they had redeemed; and a high-ranking Ottoman official from Alexandria, captured in 1613 by the Sicilian squadron of Spain.

Examining the circulation of bodies, currency, and information in the contested Mediterranean, Hershenzon concludes that the practice of ransoming captives, a procedure meant to separate Christians from Muslims, had the unintended consequence of tightly binding Iberia to the Maghrib.


Faculty Book Release: Reading and Teaching Ancient Fiction: Greco-Roman, Early Jewish, and Christian Narrative. Co-Edited by Professor Sara Johnson

Reading and Teaching Ancient Fiction: Greco-Roman, Early Jewish, and Christian Narrative. Edited by Sara R. Johnson, Ruben Dupertuis and Christine Shea. Writings from the Greco-Roman World. Atlanta, GA: SBL Press (2018).Congratulations to Associate Professor of Classics and Mediterranean Studies Sara Johnson who recently co-edited Reading and Teaching Ancient Fiction: Greco-Roman, Early Jewish, and Christian Narrative. The volume, co-edited with Ruben Dupertuis and Christine Shea, was published by the Society of Biblical Literature Press and represents their third volume of research on ancient fictions.

From the Publisher:

This volume includes essays presented in the Ancient Fiction and Early Christian and Jewish Narrative section of the Society of Biblical Literature. Contributors explore facets of ongoing research into the interplay of history, fiction, and narrative in ancient Greco-Roman, Jewish, and Christian texts. The essays examine the ways in which ancient authors in a variety of genre and cultural settings employed a range of narrative strategies to reflect on pressing contemporary issues, to shape community identity, or to provide moral and educational guidance for their readers. Not content merely to offer new insights, this volume also highlights strategies for integrating the fruits of this research into the university classroom and beyond.


  • Insight into the latest developments in ancient Mediterranean narrative
  • Exploration of how to use ancient texts to encourage students to examine assumptions about ancient gender and sexuality or to view familiar texts from a new perspective
  • Close readings of classical authors as well as canonical and noncanonical Jewish and Christian texts


Laura Quick, Princeton University, in a review in Bryn Mawr Classical Review notes, "there will be much of interest here to students and scholars of Hellenistic and Roman literature. The joint goal of the project, both pedagogical as well as research-oriented, is an interesting take on the edited volume, making an important contribution to both the classroom and to our understanding of the various ancient texts under discussion. Indeed, many of the contributions reveal unexpected features in the various narratives, demonstrating the cogency of reading Jewish, Christian, and Greco-Roman literature in dialogue." Read the full review here.


Guy Mendilow Ensemble to Perform February 7, 2019

  • Guy Mendilow Ensemble

On February 7, 2019, at 8:00 pm at UConn's von der Mehden Recital Hall, the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, in partnership with the UConn Department of Music, brings the Guy Mendilow Ensemble to Storrs to perform The Forgotten Kingdom. As part of the Center's Scholarship and the Arts initiative, this performance is made free and open to the public!  

Please pre-register to attend!

If you require an accommodation to participate, please contact Pamela Weathers at or 860-486-2271.

About the Guy Mendilow Ensemble


The Guy Mendilow Ensemble is an award-winning quintet with a cast of world-class players who mesmerize audiences with their skill in playing a wide variety of instruments.  Guy Mendilow and his four musical collaborators are an international ensemble hailing from Israel, Palestine, Argentina and the USA. The Guy Mendilow Ensemble draws on traditional tunes, techniques, and tales but in elegant arrangements and with radical reframing. The emotionality of Western classical music is intensified by the bittersweet rawness of Tango, gorgeous vocal harmonies and the rhythmic fire of classical Arabic percussion. GME’s storytelling is inspired by the dreamlike qualities of Pablo Neruda and Michael Ondaatje, and by Dan Carlin’s vivid restoration of faded historical memory.

GME is honoured to be the recipient of multiple funding awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Boston Foundation, the New England Foundation for the Arts and Western Arts Alliance on the basis of its artistry, cultural preservation and the strengthening of communities through the arts.

About the Show


Folding radio drama-style stories into a top-flight world music concert, The Forgotten Kingdom conjures women’s voices lost to war and upheaval. Audiences traverse picturesque Mediterranean port towns and faded memories of Ottoman villages, from Salónica to Sarajevo, guided by an "international tour-de-force" (Bethlehem Morning Call) whose world-class musicianship and cinematic storytelling restores living colour to tales of ordinary people living through extraordinary change.

Weaving together late 19th/early 20th-century women’s songs from Sephardic enclaves of the former Ottoman Empire, the show evokes a panorama of the unraveling of an older Mediterranean world —not as we see it today with the benefit of textbook hindsight, but as ordinary people lived it, unaware of how the dots would connect. With song lyrics in Ladino, an endangered blend of archaic Spanish with Turkish and Greek, together with English narration, with heart and humour, the show renders scenes of daily life from WWI and the Ottoman Empire’s collapse to the glimmers of democratic hopes crushed by fascist regimes that cloaked entire communities in a ‘shroud of oblivion.’

What People Are Saying of hope and affirmation, sophisticated in its delivery but easily accessible to listeners anywhere” — Chicago Tribune

culturally significant” — Bruce Halliday, Port Theatre, Nanaimo, BC, Canada

“I dare any audience to NOT be swept away by this show”— Natalie Neuert, UVM Lane Series, Burlington, VT

Tom W. Smith Presents “Antisemitism in Contemporary America”

On November 7, 2018, Dr. Tom W. Smith (NORC at the University of Chicago) presented "Antisemitism in Contemporary America" for the UConn Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life. The program was held in remembrance of Kristallnacht and was made possible by the Center for Judaic Studies Frances and Irving Seliger Memorial Endowment Fund. The evening was co-sponsored by the American Studies Program, the Humanities Institute, the Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, and the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.


Jewish Hartford: European Roots

Jewish HartfordThe Jewish Hartford: European Roots project hosted by UConn Global Affairs explores, documents and shares the rich diversity of European Jewish life before the Holocaust and its enduring legacy in our region.

With broad participation from the Greater Hartford Jewish community, the project supports lectures, field trips, adult learning, youth education, and other programming about Jewish life in Europe, discovering and connecting with this unique heritage.

The Jewish Hartford: European Roots project is generously funded by the Konover Coppa Family Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford and is housed at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut.

Learn more on the Jewish Hartford: European Roots website


Image credit: Reconstructed vault and bimah in the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw. Photo shared by Magdalena Starowieyska, Dariusz Golik - Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Licensed under Creative Commons 3.0 Share-alike - Poland (CC BY-SA 3.0 PL)