Public Lecture Announcements

Shelter from the Holocaust: German Jewish Refugees in Iran and India – Atina Grossmann, November 7, Storrs

Shelter from the Holocaust: German Jewish Refugees in Iran and India

Dr. Atina Grossmann
Thursday, November 7, 2019
12:30 pm
Dodd Center Konover Auditorium, Storrs

About the Talk:

This lecture examines the intensely ambivalent and paradoxical experiences, sensibilities, and emotions of bourgeois Jews who found refuge in the “Orient” of India and Iran after 1933. Always shadowed by the emerging European catastrophe, these uprooted Jews navigated complex and unfamiliar terrain; homeless, stateless, having lost their livelihoods and professions, and with only an inchoate anxious sense of their families’ fate or what their future held, they were also oddly privileged as adventurous Europeans in exotic non-western, colonial or semi-colonial societies. On the margins of their collapsing and devastated Jewish European world, they lived as hybrids, themselves on the margins, emigré and refugee, caught uneasily, more or less comfortably, between colonizer and colonized. In flight from homelands that had condemned them as racially inferior, they carried with them a fraught sense of cultural superiority. Expelled from the “West” they never really left it behind, remaining, for variable but sometimes considerable lengths of time, in “global transit.”

Drawing on archival sources, memoirs and letters, fiction, and an extensive collection of family correspondence and memorabilia from both Iran and India (1935-1947), the talk probes refugees’ understanding of their own unstable position, the changing geopolitical situation, and their efforts to come to terms with emerging revelations about the destruction of European Jewry.

About the Speaker:

Atina Grossmann is Professor of History in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Cooper Union in New York City. She co-edited Shelter from the Holocaust: Rethinking Jewish Survival in the Soviet Union (with M.Edele and S. Fitzpatrick). Further publications include Jews, Germans, and Allies: Close Encounters in Occupied Germany (2007, German 2012), and Wege in der Fremde: Deutsch-jüdische Begegnungsgeschichte zwischen New York, Berlin und Teheran (2012). Prof. Grossmann was a fellow at the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University in the spring semester of 2015 and the Walter Benjamin Visiting Professor in Jewish Studies at Humboldt University in Berlin in 2014. [Read more about her research and biography.]

The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Attendance counts toward honors credit.

This program is held in remembrance of Kristallnacht, The Night of Broken Glass, and is made possible in part by the Center for Judaic Studies Frances and Irving Seliger Memorial Endowment Fund. In expression of our solidarity with the Jewish community in Halle, Germany, which suffered a terrorist attack on Yom Kippur, it is a partner event of the Jewish Culture Days in Halle.

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

Partner of the 7th Halle Jewish Culture Days 2019

Intermarriage and Antisemitism in the 21st Century – Talk by Bruce Phillips, October 17

Speaker PhillipsDo Americans Love or Hate the Jews?
Intermarriage and Antisemitism in the 21st Century

Dr. Bruce A. Phillips
Thursday, October 17, 2019
5:30 pm
Class of '47 Room, Babbidge Library

About the talk: A variety of opinion polls show that Jews are widely accepted and even admired, a trend underscored by Jewish intermarriage rates. At the same time, we are seeing unprecedented violence against Jews in the United States. How do we reconcile these two opposing sets of evidence?

About the speaker: Dr. Bruce A. Phillips is Professor of Sociology & Jewish Communal Service at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, California. He is Senior Research Fellow at the University of Southern California Center for Religion and Civic Culture where he is conducting research on religion in California. Phillips has been among the leading researchers in the sociology of American Jewry for over three decades. He served on the National Technical Advisory Committees for the 1990 and 2000 National Jewish Population Surveys and advised the recent Pew study. He has conducted local Jewish population surveys in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Denver, Phoenix, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Houston.

This program is free and open to the public and is made possible by the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life. Attendance counts toward Honors credit. Light refreshments will be served.

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

Rescue Board: The Untold Story of America’s Efforts to Save the Jews of Europe – Talk by Rebecca Erbelding, October 29

"Rescue Board: The Untold Story of America's Efforts to Save the Jews of Europe" -  presentation by Washington Holocaust Memorial Museum Historian Rebecca Erbelding

Join us for this talk on October 29, 12:30 - 1:45pm, at the Class of '47 Room, Babbidge Library, Storrs Campus. The program is free and open to the public. Attendance counts toward honors credit. Lunch will be served.

About the Book: America has long been criticized for refusing to give harbor to the Jews during World War II as Hitler and the Nazis closed in. In her book Rescue Board, Rebecca Erbelding tells the extraordinary unknown story of the War Refugee Board, a US government effort late in the war to save the remaining Jews. In January 1944, a young Treasury Department lawyer named John Pehle went to a meeting with the president to argue for the relief funds needed to help Jews escape Nazi ter­ri­to­ry. Pehle prevailed, and within days, FDR created the War Refugee Board, empowering it to rescue the victims of Nazi persecution, and put Pehle in charge. Over the next twenty months, Pehle pulled together D.C. pencil pushers, international relief workers, smugglers, diplomats, millionaires, and rabble-rousers to run operations across four continents and a dozen countries. This is the story of how the War Refugee Board saved tens of thousands of lives. [Read more about the book.]

About the Speaker: Rescue Board: The Untold Story of America's Efforts to Save the Jews of Europe won the JDC-Herbert Katzki National Jewish Book Award in 2018. Erbelding holds a PhD in American history from George Mason University. She worked as an archivist and curator at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum from 2003-2015, and since 2015, has been a historian for the Museum's newest exhibition, Americans and the Holocaust, which opened in April 2018. Her work has previously been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, and on the History Channel and National Geographic.

The event is sponsored by the UConn Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life. If you require an accommodation, please contact Pamela Weathers at or 860-486-2271.

“Fighting for Dignity: Migrant Lives at Israel’s Margins” – Panel Discussion and Book Launch with Sarah Willen, October 17

Fighting for Dignity book cover

About the Book
In Fighting for Dignity: Migrant Lives at Israel's Margins (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), Sarah S. Willen, Associate Professor of Anthropology at UConn, examines the impact of a mass deportation campaign targeting migrant workers in Israel. Drawing on nearly two decades of ethnographic engagement with migrants and human rights activists in Tel Aviv, the book explores migrants' struggles to craft meaningful, flourishing lives despite the exclusions and vulnerabilities they endure. [Read more]

About the Panel
Join us for a panel discussion followed by a response from the author with migration studies scholars Tally Amir, PhD, LLB (Harvard University); Heide Castañeda, PhD, MPH (University of South Florida); and Jennifer S. Hirsch, PhD (Columbia University). Light refreshments will be served.
The event is sponsored by the UConn Human Rights Institute, the Humanities Institute, the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, and the Middle East Studies Program. If you require an accommodation, please contact Pamela Weathers at or 860-486-2271.



Deborah Dash Moore to Present “At Home in America?” at Mandell JCC on September 8

Deborah Dash MooreOn Sunday, September 8, 2019, 4:00 pm, Professor Deborah Dash Moore (University of Michigan) will present "At Home in America? From 20th Century City to 21st Century Suburb" at the Mandell JCC Innovation Center (Zachs Campus, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford).


The lecture is free and open to all.


Tickets: 860-231-6316,,
For more information contact Danielle Moghadam,, 860-231-6366.


The event is hosted by Aleph: The Institute of Jewish Ideas, a new community-wide Jewish learning initiative, supported by a community donor through their family fund at the Jewish Community Foundation, co-sponsored by the Mandell JCC and UConn Judaic Studies. 


About the Speaker


Deborah Dash Moore is the Frederick G.L. Huetwell Professor of History at the University of Michigan. A renowned historian, her work focuses on American Jews in the modern era. After teaching at Vassar College for nearly 30 years, she joined University of Michigan in 2005 as Director of the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies. Her recent work focuses on New York City, including a three volume history of New York Jews, City of Promises. Moore also published a synthesis of these three volumes, Jewish New York: The Remarkable Story of a City and a People. In April, 2018, her earlier book, GI Jews: How World War II Changed a Generation, formed the basis for a documentary on Jewish GIs, shown on PBS, GI Jews: Jewish Americans in World War II. Her current work focuses on Jewish American photographers of New York City.


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. Co-sponsors include the American Studies Program, the History Department, the Human Rights Institute, the Humanities Institute, the Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, the Middle East Studies Program, and the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. Attendance qualifies for honors credit.

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 population 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 is Board President of the New Israel Fund. From 2017 to 2018, he was President/CEO of the Center for Jewish History in New York. For ten years, he 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. He has been a fellow at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania on three occasions (1995, 2009-10, 2016) and has visited at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem in 1997. Myers has been a member of the board of the Association for Jewish Studies and 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 and 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:


Benji Lovitt: At West Hartford and Storrs November 7 & 8

Benji LovittLOL at the JCC with Benji Lovitt!
Mandell JCC
Live at the Gilman Theater
Wednesday, November 7, 

Since moving to Israel in 2006, Benji Lovitt has performed for audiences around the world, sharing his hilarious insights into cultural differences as he translates both the challenges and marvels of life in Israel. His perspective has been featured on Israeli television and radio and in publications such as USA Today, Time Magazine, Huffington Post, the Times of Israel, and more. Benji's observations on Israeli society, combined with his lifelong involvement in Jewish education, create a hilarious narrative that has brought smiles to faces all over the world.

Tickets $10
Box Office: 860-231-6316 or at the Member Services Center
Or purchase online at the Mandell JCC

Benji Lovitt: What's So funny?
UConn Homer Babbidge Library
Video Theater 2 (second floor)
Thursday, November 8, 12:30 - 

Join Benji for a presentation on Jewish comedy at the UConn Storrs campus! Free and open to the public.

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

These programs are made possible by the UConn Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, the Lillian Margulies Singer Jewish Humor Fund, the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, and the Mandell JCC.

Dr. Tom W. Smith to Present “Antisemitism in Contemporary America” on Nov. 7, 2018

cemetery with graffiti

Please join us on Wednesday, November 7, when Dr. Tom W. Smith will present "Antisemitism in Contemporary America." The program will be held at 5:00 pm in the Konover Auditorium at the Dodd Research Center. A reception will follow. The evening is made possible by the Center for Judaic Studies Frances and Irving Seliger Memorial Endowment Fund and is co-sponsored by the American Studies Program, the Humanities Institute, the Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, and the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. 

This lecture is held in remembrance of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, when the Nazis orchestrated a pogrom during which German Jews were humiliated, beaten, and murdered and Jewish homes, businesses, hospitals, synagogues, and schools were looted and destroyed.

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

Earlier in the day, at 11:45 (Oak Hall 236), Dr. Smith will present "Current Issues in the Conduct of Survey Research," co-sponsored by the Departments of Political Science and Sociology. Lunch will be provided. Seating is limited. Please RSVP to

About the Presentation


Antisemitism is one of the oldest and most deeply rooted of all forms of inter-group hatred. Prejudice and bigotry against Jews have many aspects, combining religious intolerance, economic stereotypes, suspicions of disloyalty, and other factors. But while antisemitism is a persistent and enduring societal blight, it is not static and immutable. Antisemitic beliefs do change over time and the level and nature of prejudicial attitudes and anti-Jewish behaviors do wax and wane. As a complex and dynamic societal feature, the state of antisemitism needs to be closely examined and its contemporary manifestations carefully investigated and assessed.

About the Speaker


Senior Fellow Tom W. Smith directs NORC at the University of Chicago's Center for the Study of Politics and Society. Since 1980, he has served as Director of the General Social Survey (GSS), one of NORC's most visible projects and one of the nation's most heavily utilized datasets. He is also co-founder of the International Social Survey Program (ISSP), former Secretary General of the ISSP, and currently serving on the ISSP Standing and Methodology Committees.

He is frequently consulted and quoted by the news media on such diverse topics as American sexual behavior, intergroup relations, confidence in institutions, happiness, religion, guns, and voter behavior.

Smith is a prolific writer, analyzing and publishing the results of his studies in peer-reviewed journals and NORC-published reports aimed at students, scholars, and policy makers. He serves as a referee for several peer-reviewed journals, including American Journal of SociologyHealth Affairs, and Demography, and he is a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Public Opinion Research. Smith was editor-in-chief of Public Opinion Quarterly from 2012 to 2016.

In addition to his extensive publication and public speaking record, Smith has been the recipient of the following awards: Worcester Prize, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 1994; AAPOR Innovators Award, 2000 and 2003; AAPOR Award for Exceptionally Distinguished Achievement, 2002; Eastern Sociological Society Award for Distinguished Contributions to Sociology, 2003; Demographic Diamond Designate, American Demographics, 2003; American Sociological Association Travel Award for World Congress of Sociology, 2010; Best Publication by an International Scholar, American Sociological Association Section on Global and Transnational Sociology, 2010; the Warren E. Miller Award for Meritorious Service to the Social Sciences, ICPSR/The University of Michigan, 2011; and the AAPOR Book Award, 2013. 

Smith was appointed to serve on the Panel on the Review and Evaluation of the 2014 Survey of Income and Program Participation Content and Design of the National Academy of Sciences. In August 2014, Tom was elected to the Sociological Research Association (SRA), an honor society of leading sociological scholars.

Tom W. Smith is the first recipient of NORC at the University of Chicago’s Norman Bradburn Career Achievement Award. The award was established to recognize individuals who, through the course of working for NORC, have made a significant contribution to the field of social science research or methodology. 

Dr. Joy Ladin to Present “The Soul of the Stranger: A Special Lecture for Election Night” Nov. 6, 2018

Please join us at the UConn Stamford Campus Art Gallery on Tuesday, November 6, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm when Dr. Joy Ladin will present "The Soul of the Stranger: A Special Lecture for Election Night." The evening will launch her latest book, The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective (Brandeis University Press, 2018).

The program is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

If you require an accommodation to participate, please contact Stamford Coordinator for Judaic Studies Professor Frederick Roden at or 203-251-8559.

About the Presentation


Dr. Ladin's talk will explore how the experiences of transgender people and other “hyper-minorities” – people who are different in ways that set them apart from most members of their communities – can help us understand the difficult relations between God and humanity portrayed in much of the Hebrew Bible. Drawing on her personal experience of being both a hyper-minority – the only openly transgender person at her Orthodox Jewish university – and someone who lived for decades as a middle-class white male, Dr. Ladin will discuss how the ways we relate to those we see as strangers affects the way we relate to the ultimate stranger, God.

About the Speaker


Joy Ladin, Gottesman Professor of English at Yeshiva University, is the first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution. She is the author of National Jewish Book Award finalist Through the Door of Life: a Jewish Journey Between Genders and nine books of poetry. Her work has been recognized with a National Endowment of the Arts fellowship and a Fulbright Scholarship, among other honors.

Directions to UConn Stamford


The UConn Stamford campus is on Broad Street between Washington Boulevard and Franklin Street; officially 1 University Place, Stamford, CT.

When using GPS, please use the address 1 University Place, Stamford, CT 06901. The nearest parking garages are the Target and Bell Street, garages. Please click here for a map of these parking garages.


Professor James Loeffler to Present “Rooted Cosmopolitans: Jews and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century” on Oct. 9, 2018

James Loeffler

On Tuesday, October 9, Professor James Loeffler will discuss his recently published book Rooted Cosmopolitans: Jews and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century (Yale University Press).

The talk will be held from 11:00 am - 12:15 pm, in the Visualization Studio (room 1101) located on level 1 of the Babbidge Library on the UConn Storrs campus. If you require an accommodation to participate, please contact Pamela Weathers at 860-486-2271 or

The lecture is free and open to the public. It is made possible by the UConn Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, the University of Hartford Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, and the UConn Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages.

We will also co-sponsor his talk on Monday, October 8, from 7:00-9:00 pm at the University of Hartford (200 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford) in the Millie and Irving Bercowetz Research Library at the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies located in the Harry Jack Gray Center. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Please contact Susan Gottlieb at or 860-768-5018.

About the Speaker

James Loeffler is associate professor of history and Jewish studies at the University of Virginia and former Robert A. Savitt Fellow at the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He received his AB from Harvard and his MA and PhD from Columbia University. A specialist in Jewish and European history, and the history of human rights, his publications include The Most Musical Nation: Jews and Culture in the Late Russian Empire (Yale University Press, 2010) which was recognized for several awards, including the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies 2011 USC Book Prize in Literary and Cultural Studies for outstanding monograph published on Russia, Eastern Europe or Eurasia in the fields of literary and cultural studies and the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) 2011 Deems Taylor-Béla Bartók Award for Outstanding Ethnomusicology Book.

From the Publisher

Rooted Cosmopolitans: Jews and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century

A stunningly original look at the forgotten Jewish political roots of contemporary international human rights, told through the moving stories of five key activists

The year 2018 marks the seventieth anniversary of two momentous events in twentieth-century history: the birth of the State of Israel and the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Both remain tied together in the ongoing debates about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, global antisemitism, and American foreign policy. Yet the surprising connections between Zionism and the origins of international human rights are completely unknown today. In this riveting account, James Loeffler explores this controversial history through the stories of five remarkable Jewish founders of international human rights, following them from the prewar shtetls of eastern Europe to the postwar United Nations, a journey that includes the Nuremberg and Eichmann trials, the founding of Amnesty International, and the UN resolution of 1975 labeling Zionism as racism. The result is a book that challenges long-held assumptions about the history of human rights and offers a startlingly new perspective on the roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

For more, visit: