Author: Pamela Weathers

Joint Statement from the Directors of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, the Asian American Cultural Center, the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, and the Human Rights Institute

The horrific attack on the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch have left us heartbroken.  We stand in solidarity with the victims and their families, the people of New Zealand, and our Muslim neighbors here and around the world.  We stand against the malignant forces and repugnant ideologies of white supremacy, Islamophobia, and ethno-nationalism, which appear to have incubated and catalyzed this crime.

That many of those who worshiped at these mosques had fled violence and persecution in their home countries deepens the sorrow we feel for this tragedy.  That they sought asylum and were welcomed to New Zealand by Muslims and non-Muslims alike heartens us with hope that the community of Christchurch will respond to hatred and division with love and unity. 

The people of the United States and Connecticut are all too familiar with such senseless acts of violence, and our hearts go out to our Kiwi friends as they begin to reflect and rebuild.  As directors of programs at UConn rooted in a commitment to the fundamental human rights of all people, we pledge to continue our efforts to address violent racism, bigotry, and Islamophobia, and join President Herbst in rededicating ourselves to building “a world where all people can live together in peace.”

Glenn Mitoma
Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

Angela Rola
Asian American Cultural Center

Sebastian Wogenstein
Interim Director
Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life

Stuart Miller
Academic Director
Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life

Kathy Libal
Human Rights Institute

Molly Land
Associate Director
Human Rights Institute

Daniel Hershenzon Wins Sharon Harris Book Award 2019

Daniel HershenzonCongratulations to affiliated faculty member Daniel Hershenzon who won the Sharon Harris Book Award for 2019 for The Captive Sea: Slavery, Communication, and Commerce in Early Modern Spain and the Mediterranean (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018):  

The Harris Book Award Committee noted, “Prof. Hershenzon’s book is an illuminating study of the redemption of captives in the early modern Mediterranean. The Captive Sea traces the seizure of Christians and Muslims by pirates, their enslavement in hostile lands, and their occasional return through complicated systems of ransom. Deeply researched in Spanish archives, the book examines the flourishing of a slave system that differs from the Atlantic slave trade, and it shows the ways in which the trade in captives encouraged intercultural communication between Southern Europe and North Africa.” 

Read more at the Humanities Institute

Professor David N. Myers to Present “Mass Displacement in the Mid-Twentieth Century: A Comparative Look at Europe and the Middle East” for Academic Convocation on the Holocaust

David N. MyersOn Thursday, May 2, at 5:00 pm, please join us for the annual Academic Convocation on the Holocaust when UCLA Professor David N. Myers will present "Mass Displacement in the Mid-Twentieth Century: A Comparative Look at Europe and the Middle East." The Convocation will be held in the Doris and Simon Konover Auditorium in the Dodd Research Center on the Storrs campus. It is made possible by the I. Martin and Janet M. Fierberg Fund that supports lectures at the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life.

A reception will immediately follow.

For additional information, or if you require an accommodation to participate, please call 860-486-2271 or email


About the Presentation

The current moment of massive population displacement in the world leads us to seek out historical precedents and explanations. Most immediately, the Second World War and its aftermath come to mind, when millions of people were displaced, rendered homeless or repopulated.  

This talk will explore one particular strand in this post-WWII history, inquiring whether there was a causal relationship between an act of displacement in one context and another elsewhere.  More particularly, the lecture will focus on the relationship among three significant populations displacements in the 1940s stretching from Europe to the Middle East: first, the phenomenon of European Jewish DPs in the wake of the Holocaust; second, the displacement of Palestinians during the 1948 war between Jewish and Arab sides in Palestine and later Israel; and finally, the dispossession of Jews in Arab countries.  What is the connection among these three distinct occurrences?  And do these events, individually or as a causal chain, shed light on the unprecedented scale of forced displacement today?  

About the Speaker

David N. Myers is the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Professor of Jewish History at UCLA, where he also serves as the director of the UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy. An alumnus of Yale College (1982), Myers undertook graduate studies at Tel-Aviv and Harvard Universities before receiving his Ph.D. with distinction in 1991 in Jewish history from Columbia University. He has written widely in the fields of Jewish intellectual and cultural history. His books include Re-inventing the Jewish Past (Oxford, 1995), Resisting History: The Crisis of Historicism in German-Jewish Thought (Princeton, 2003), Between Jew and Arab: The Lost Voice of Simon Rawidowicz (Brandeis, 2008), Jewish History: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2017), and The Stakes of Jewish History: On the Use and Abuse of Jewish History for Life (Yale, 2018). Myers has also edited or co-edited nine books, including most recently The Eternal Dissident: Rabbi Leonard I. Beerman and the Radical Imperative to Think and Act (California, 2018). At present, he is completing a monograph, with Nomi Stolzenberg, on the Satmar Hasidic community of Kiryas Joel, New York.

Myers serves as President of the New Israel Fund. He served as President/CEO of the Center for Jewish History in New York during 2017-18. From 2010-15, Myers served as the Robert N. Burr Chair of the UCLA History Department. Prior to that, he served as Vice Chair for Academic Personnel in the UCLA History Department (2002-04). For ten years, Myers served as Director of the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies (1996-2000, 2004-09, 2010-11). Myers has taught at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris) and Russian State University for the Humanities (Moscow). He has received fellowships from the Leo Baeck Institute, Fulbright Foundation, Lady David Trust, and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. Myers has been a fellow at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania on three occasions (1995, 2009-10, 2016); he has also visited at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem in 1997. Myers has served as a member of the board of the Association for Jewish Studies, as well as a teacher for the Wexner Heritage Foundation. Since 2002, Myers has served as co-editor of the Jewish Quarterly Review. He is an elected Fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research, as well as a Fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities.


Parking is available in the North and South garages on campus. Garage rates are $1/hr after 5pm and $2/hr before 5pm

Getting Here:

View an interactive map of the Storrs campus and even download the app version to your phone:


Karen B. Stern to Present “Graffiti and the Forgotten Jews of Antiquity” on Apr. 4, 2019

Karen Stern

On Thursday, April 4, Professor Karen B. Stern (Brooklyn College of CUNY) will present the Gene and Georgia Mittelman Lecture in Judaic Studies: "Graffiti and the Forgotten Jews of Antiquity." A kosher lunch will be provided.

The talk will be held from 12:30 - 1:30 pm in Werth Tower 112 and is free and open to the public. It is made possible by the UConn Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, the Humanities Institute, the Anthropology Department, and the 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

Few direct clues exist to the everyday lives and beliefs of ordinary Jews in antiquity. Prevailing perspectives on ancient Jewish life have been shaped largely by the voices of intellectual and social elites, preserved in the writings of Philo and Josephus and the rabbinic texts of the Mishnah and Talmud. Commissioned art, architecture, and formal inscriptions displayed on tombs and synagogues equally reflect the sensibilities of their influential patrons. The perspectives and sentiments of non-elite Jews, by contrast, have mostly disappeared from the historical record. Yet just like their neighbors throughout the eastern and southern Mediterranean, Mesopotamia, Arabia, and Egypt, ancient Jews scribbled and drew graffiti everyplace—in and around markets, hippodromes, theaters, pagan temples, open cliffs, sanctuaries, and even inside burial caves and synagogues. In this talk, Prof. Stern reveals how these markings can tell us more than we might expect about the men and women who made them, people whose lives, beliefs, and behaviors eluded commemoration in grand literary and architectural works. Drawing analogies with modern graffiti practices, she documents the overlooked connections between Jews and their neighbors to shed new light on the richness of their quotidian lives and on how commonly popular Jewish practices of prayer, mortuary commemoration, commerce, and civic engagement crossed ethnic and religious boundaries.

About the Speaker

Karen B. Stern, Associate Professor of History at Brooklyn College of CUNY, conducts research across disciplines of archaeology, history, and religion and teaches courses on Mediterranean cultural history, visual history, and the material culture of Jews in the Greek and Roman worlds. She has conducted field research throughout the Mediterranean and has excavated in Petra (Jordan), Sepphoris (Israel), and ancient Pylos and the Athenian Agora (Greece). Having taught at Dartmouth College, USC, and Brown University, she has served as a research fellow of the NEH, Albright Institute of Archaeological Research (Jerusalem), and the Getty Villa. She is the author of Inscribing Devotion and Death: Archaeological Evidence for Jews in North Africa (Brill 2008) and Writing on the Wall: Graffiti and the Forgotten Jews of Antiquity (Princeton University Press, 2018). Multiple media outlets, including the Daily Beast, Atlas Obscura, NPR, Guardian, Ha'aretz, and Chinese CCTV, have featured her research.


map South Garage to Werth TowerWerth Tower is a short walk from South Parking Garage (2366 Jim Calhoun Way)*
• Exit the garage through the ground floor exit onto Jim Calhoun Way and cross Jim Calhoun Way toward Gampel Pavilion.
• Staying to the left of Gampel Pavilion, turn onto Gampel Service Drive.
• Turn left before the sports field, and walk up the ramp located at the end of the sidewalk.
• Peter J. Werth Residence Tower is located at the top of the ramp on the left.

*Due to construction on campus, South Parking Garage on Jim Calhoun Way can be accessed from Hillside Road or Alumni Drive. Separatist Road should not be used because a portion of Jim Calhoun Way is closed to traffic.

Click here for a printable PDF version of these directions

Film Screening: Children of the Fall, March 25, 2019

On Monday, March 25, student organization Husky Films will screen Children of the Fall as part of their Spring 2019 5-film festival. The screening will be held from 7:30-10:00 pm in Student Union 304.  Professor Olga Gershenson (UMass), professor of Judaic and Near Eastern studies as well as film studies, will introduce the film. The event is co-sponsored by the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life.

About the Film

Rachel Strode comes to Israel in the fall of 1973 to volunteer in a Kibbutz and convert to Judaism but discovers the locals are not as welcoming as she hoped they would be, and on the eve of Yom Kippur, the most holy of days for the Jewish people, a sinister enemy will rise from the darkness to terrorize her and her friends.

About the Presenter

Olga GershenzonProfessor Gershenson specializes in Jewish and Israel Cultural Studies. She is the author of Gesher: Russian Theater in Israel (2005); Ladies and Gents: Public Toilets and Gender (2009); and The Phantom Holocaust: Soviet Cinema and Jewish Catastrophe (2013).

Her articles have appeared in Post Script, Iskusstvo KinoJournal of Jewish IdentitiesIsrael AffairsThe Journal of Israeli HistoryJournal of Film and VideoJournal of Modern Jewish Studies, The Intercultural and International Communication Annual, Journal of International Communication, Multilingua  and others.

She is editor of special issues of Eastern European Jewish Affairs and Journal of International Women’s Studies.

Traditional Religion, Progressive Politics: A Panel Chaired by Professor Beth Ginsberg, March 7, 2019

On March 7, from 12:30 - 2:00 pm, at UConn Stamford (rm 129), a panel discussion "Traditional Religion, Progressive Politics" will be chaired by Professor Beth Ginsberg. Lunch will be served.

Political Science research has identified religiously observant individuals by using two measures: how often they attend religious services and how important they state religion is in their lives. Studies demonstrate that most people who are frequent attendees and for whom religion plays a very important role tend to be politically conservative. They often vote for Republican candidates and support more right-wing causes.

However, what happens when the opposite is true? Are there people who are traditionally religiously observant yet politically liberal or progressive? How do they reconcile their political beliefs with their religion? Join us as we hear from people who identify with traditional religious denominations yet who are politically progressive or liberal.

The event 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 to participate, please contact Stamford Coordinator for Judaic Studies Prof. Fred Roden at or 203-251-8559.

About the Panelists

Elad NehoraiElad Nehorai

Elad Nehorai has spent most of his adult life creating and nurturing communities. From the time he started a small online arts magazine (before such a thing was common) in college, to his efforts as an online marketer for startups, to his viral campaign "I Have A Therapist," to his present-day work with Hevria, a community for creative Jews, and Torah Trumps Hate, a community for progressive orthodox Jews, Elad cares about nothing more than connecting people who are desperately looking for a community that doesn't exist in the physical world.

Elad is also a prolific writer. He is a columnist for the Forward, a blogger, and has been published in places like the Guardian and Haaretz.

Elad's work has been viewed by over 10 million people, and has been discussed in places like ABC World News, BBC Radio, Mashable, the New York Daily News, Tablet, and more.

Debbie PaulsDebbie Pauls, LCSW 

Debbie Pauls since 1978 has informally, and sometime formally, been a minister with the Stamford Church of Christ, where her husband, Dale Pauls, is currently Minister Emeritus. Her involvements in the church have included teaching, mentoring, providing counseling for church members in crisis or who may be experiencing various life changes. Along with her husband, they have provided hospitality in their home to numerous people, ranging from a few nights to two years. Helping people who are new to the church find their unique way of developing and contributing their gifts and talents has been a particular interest to her.

In her professional life, Debbie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who is now in private practice specializing in trauma recovery. This specialization has come out of ten years of being the clinical director of the Sexual Assault Crisis Center and developing a volunteer staff who responded to hotline calls and led support groups.

Currently, she also enjoys being a grandmother to three children ranging from 9 to 4 years of age. As she moves toward retirement she is finding ways to affect government policy related to mental health and the criminal justice system.


Rev Ray RodenRev. Raymond P. Roden, PsyD

Father Ray Roden was born in 1951 and raised in Brooklyn, NY. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn in 1981 and served in inner city parishes in particular and among those living on society's periphery in general from the beginning of his ministry. He earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from Yeshiva University in 2000 with a specialized professional interest in adolescent anger, depression and suicide. In the area of social justice he has been most interested in juvenile justice issues consistently opposing the trying of minors as adults for any reason, as well as torture, capital punishment and nuclear weapons. He is a friend of the Catholic Worker movement founded in 1933 by journalist and social activist Dorothy Day in New York City. He looks forward to one day delving more deeply into the contemplative heart of that movement in the heart of the city. Currently, he serves as pastor at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, Corona Queens, NY, one of the largest Latino immigrant communities in the region, where he advocates for immigration reform and the more just and merciful treatment of immigrants, especially at the southern border, including the immediate reunification of children separated from their parents at that border.

Daniel Hershenzon Receives Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies Fellowship (2019-2020)

Daniel HershenzonCongratulations to affiliated faculty member Daniel Hershenzon who has received a Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies Fellowship for next academic year (2019-2020) for his research project entitled "Captive Objects: Religious Artifacts and Piracy in the Early Modern Mediterranean."

Captive Objects: Religious Artifacts and Piracy in the Early Modern Mediterranean

Captive Objects encapsulates how religious artifacts trapped in the maritime plunder economy became the contentious subject of conflicting claims by a host of actors. Religious artifacts—Korans and Bibles, prayer shawls, crosses, images of Christ and the Virgin Mary, and relics—circulated in their thousands in the early modern western Mediterranean, crisscrossing the boundaries between Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. This mobility was largely a byproduct of piracy to which 2 to 3 million persons from all sides fell fate between 1500 and 1800 and which intertwined Spain, Italy, Morocco, and Ottoman Algiers. Reconstructing objects’ trajectories and their involvement in human trafficking sheds new light on the experience of captivity and the practice of redemption, of both people and objects. More importantly, the project argues, the captivity of religious artifacts turned objects previously isolated in their respective realms into contentious objects that formed a distinct category and acted as religious boundary markers within and among confessions.

Warren Klein to Present “Why is this Book Different than all Other Books? A Glimpse into the Changing Imagery of the Illustrated Haggadah” Apr. 22, 2019

Haggadah illustrationsOn Monday, April 22, Warren Klein, curator of the Herbert and Eileen Bernard Museum of Judaica, will present "Why is this Book Different than all Other Books? A Glimpse into the Changing Imagery of the Illustrated Haggadah." The talk will be held at the UConn Stamford campus in MPR 108 from 12:15-1:45 pm. Lunch will be served.

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

Several image cycles and representations in the Passover Haggadah will be examined, beginning from medieval manuscript illumination through the 20th century. Special attention will be placed on the representation of the 4 sons, order of the seder, and ceremonial foods. 

About the Speaker

Warren Klein has been the curator of the Herbert and Eileen Bernard Museum of Judaica at Temple Emanu-El since 2013. His exhibitions have included graphic posters, contemporary Jewish wedding gowns, Golda Meir, and, most recently, Jews and Chocolate. Previously, he worked at the JTS Library, Skirball Museum in Los Angeles, Magnes Museum in Berkeley, and several private collections in New York. He holds an MA in Jewish Art from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a BA in the History of Art from the University of California, Santa Cruz.