Special Event Announcements

“How Yiddish Changed America and America Changed Yiddish” with Ilan Stavans and Josh Lambert | March 18, 2020

Cover Yiddish EventHow Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish - Join us for a book presentation with Josh Lambert and Ilan Stavans!
Date: Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 7:00 pm
Place: Mandell JCC, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford
About the Event
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!
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.

Esteemed Holocaust Scholar Christopher Browning to Speak at UConn April 20, 2020

Hall of Names Exhibit


On Monday, April 20, 2020, at 5:00 pm, world-renowned Holocaust expert Professor Emeritus Christopher Browning will present "Holocaust History and Survivor Testimony 75 Years After Liberation" for the UConn Center for Judaic Studies annual Academic Convocation on the Holocaust. The annual Holocaust remembrance lecture is made possible by the I. Martin and Janet M. Fierberg Fund.

The lecture will be held in the Student Union Theater on the Storrs campus and is free and open to the public.

On this evening, we will also mark the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life and recognize the many accomplishments of the Center over the past four decades, building on our past to prepare a bright future for students at UConn.

About the Speaker:

Christopher Browning is UNC-Chapel Hill Frank Porter Graham Professor Emeritus. The author of multiple texts on the history of the Holocaust, he is most well known for Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland, which has become a required text for any class dealing with the history of the Holocaust. Browning’s research focuses on Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. He has written extensively about three issues: first, Nazi decision- and policy-making in regard to the origins of the Final Solution; second, the behavior and motives of various middle- and lower-echelon personnel involved in implementing Nazi Jewish policy; and thirdly, the use of survivor testimony to explore Jewish responses and survival strategies.

Director Avinoam Patt invited to Provost’s Distinguished Speaker Series in 2020

Professor Avinoam Patt

Dr. Avinoam Patt to Lecture on Holocaust Remembrance in the Provost's Distinguished Speaker Series

It is an honor to announce that our Director Avinoam Patt is invited to lecture at the Provost's Distinguished Speaker Series, which "provides an opportunity for our most recently-inducted Board of Trustees Distinguished Professors and Endowed Chairs to share advances in their expertise and engage thought-provoking discussions." [Learn more about this series and its speakers.]

Save the Date: February 26, 2019, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Dr. Patt's lecture will address the topic of "Trauma, Testimony, and Time: Remembering the Holocaust in the 21st Century."

The event is free and open to the public. It takes place at the Konover Auditorium in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center on the Storrs Campus. A reception will follow in the Dodd Lounge with light refreshments. If you require an accommodation to attend, please notify provost@uconn.edu.

About the speaker:

Avinoam J. Patt, Ph.D. is the Doris and Simon Konover Chair of Judaic Studies and Director of the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life at the University of Connecticut. He is the author of Finding Home and Homeland: Jewish Youth and Zionism in the Aftermath of the Holocaust (2009); co-editor (with Michael Berkowitz) of a collected volume on Jewish Displaced Persons, titled We are Here: New Approaches to the Study of Jewish Displaced Persons in Postwar Germany (2010); and is a contributor to several projects at the USHMM including Jewish Responses to Persecution, 1938-1940 (2011). Most recently, he is co-editor of a new volume on The Joint Distribution Committee at 100: A Century of Humanitarianism (2019), Laughter After: Humor and the Holocaust (2020), and Understanding and Teaching the Holocaust (2020). He is currently completing a new book on the early postwar memory of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Exhibition on Display in the Dodd Research Center – Trailblazer: Connecticut Jewish Women Making History

Exhibition FlyerThis new exhibition from the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford is on display at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center on the Storrs Campus between October 4 - 30, 2019. The exhibition is accessible Monday through Friday, between 8.30 am and 6 pm.

About the exhibition:

To celebrate the centennial anniversary of women's suffrage, the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center and the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life present Trailblazer: Connecticut Jewish Women Making History. This exhibition celebrates the successes and contributions of women in history in the United States and around the world. This traveling exhibition - developed and curated by the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford - highlights the stories of 12 female pioneers, teaching us what it meant, and what it means to be a Trailblazer.

From women's rights activists to artists, journalists, and health and education reformers, these pioneering women overcame obstacles of gender, social class, and religious identity to make changes that continue to impact our lives today. Some of these women include Beatrice Fox Auerbach, Esther Rome, and Rebecca Affachiner.

This exhibition was partially funded by a grant from the Beatrice Fox Auerbach Fund/Koopman Share at the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford and the generosity of individual donors. It debuted in the Mandell Jewish Community Center on September 3, 2019.

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 pamela.weathers@uconn.edu.

Partner of the 7th Halle Jewish Culture Days 2019

A Commemoration of the Jewish Community in Rhodes, Greece, October 13, at Paideia Center Storrs

Rhodes Image

The History of the Jewish Community in Rhodes, Greece: A Commemoration

Sunday, October 13, 2019
1:00-4:00 pm
Paideia Center, Storrs

This joint event is hosted by the Paideia Center, UConn Global, and the UConn Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life. It is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.



  • Daniel Weiner, Vice President for Global Affairs


  • Konstantinos Koutras, The Consul General of Greece in New York,
  • Carmen Cohen, Director, Rhodes Jewish Community,
  • Emanouel Cassotis, The History of the Jewish Community in the Dodecanese Islands,
  • Avinoam Patt, Director, Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, and
  • Ilias Tomazos, Director, PAIDEIA Study Abroad Programs in Greece

October 1, 2019, Writer-in-Residence Joan Seliger Sidney Presents at 7pm at the Co-Op Bookstore in Storrs Center

Don’t miss the Center’s own writer-in-residence, Joan Seliger Sidney, Tuesday, October 1, at 7:00 pm at the UConn B&N in downtown Storrs Center where she will participate in the Roar Reading Series, presented by Elephant Rock Books!

Joan Seliger Sidney

Joan Seliger Sidney is the author of Bereft and Blessed, Body of Diminishing Motion: Poems and a Memoir (an Eric Hoffer Finalist, 2015), and The Way the Past Comes Back. She has received individual artist’s poetry fellowships from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, also a Visiting Faculty Fellowship from Yale.  She’s writer-in-residence at the University of Connecticut’s Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life.  In addition, she facilitates “Writing for Your Life,” an adult workshop.


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 pamela.weathers@uconn.edu.


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: http://maps.uconn.edu/map/


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.

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 a sweeping program featuring four centuries of Jewish music! The program, hosted by Charter Oak Cultural Center, will be held at 21 Charter Oak Avenue, Hartford.

Highlights 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

Tickets:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-zamir-chorale-of-boston-four-centuries-of-jewish-music-tickets-54535724821

About Zamir Chorale of Boston

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