Special Event Announcements

May 13, 2020 | The Plot Against America: Online Discussion

The Plot Against America May 13 2020

On Wednesday, May 13, at 7:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada), please join us on Zoom for an online discussion of The Plot Against America (book and HBO series).


Director of the Center for Judaic Studies at UConn, Avinoam Patt, will moderate the discussion which will feature a panel of four scholars:


Victoria Aarons, Trinity University (Philip Roth scholar)

Susan Herbst, UConn (Political Science and President Emeritus)

Stuart Miller, UConn (Judaic Studies, Newark native)

Aimee Pozorski, CCSU (Editor, Philip Roth Studies)


This program is co-sponsored by ALEPH: The Institute of Jewish Ideas, the Mandell JCC, the Jewish Community Foundation, UConn Center for Judaic Studies, Voices of Hope, and the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Hartford.


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Hypnotist Brian Eslick to Perform at UConn Hillel | March 4 at 7PM

Hypnotist March 4 at 7PM UConn Hillel

Ever wanted to see a hypnotist? Well now is your chance and it is FREE FOR ALL UCONN STUDENTS AND FACULTY! Come to UConn Hillel on March 4th at 7PM and maybe you will be ~hypnotized~ by Brian Eslick! Hope to see you there!!! This event is hosted in collaboration with the UConn Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life and UConn Global Affairs. UConn Hillel is located at 54 N Eagleville Rd, Storrs.

Israeli-Palestinian Film Screening: Tel Aviv on Fire

The Center for Judaic Studies is hosting a film screening connected to the Hartford Jewish Film Festival. The festival this year will run from March 5-15 at Mandell JCC.

On March 11 at 5:00 pm, we'll screen the Israeli/Palestinian comedy Tel Aviv on Fire on the UConn campus (Konover Auditorium, Dodd Center).

About the Film

TEL AVIV ON FIRE (2018) 97min –Arabic & Hebrew w/ English subtitles

Winner of top prizes at the Haifa and Venice film festivals, writer-director Sameh Zoabi’s satire follows Salam, a winsome slacker, as he fails upwards at his job on a sudsy Palestinian TV soap opera “Tel Aviv on Fire,” popular with both Israelis and Palestinians. Salam’s daily commute from the Ramallah set through the Israeli checkpoint leads to regular encounters with the IDF officer in charge. When the officer demands Salam change the show’s story line to make his wife happy, Salam struggles with concocting plot twists to suit viewers on both sides.

This event is free and open to the public. It is co-sponsored by the Hartford Jewish Film Festival / Mandell JCC.

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

The Center will be co-sponsoring two additional events in association with the Hartford Jewish Film Fest. On March 12, at 7:30 pm, at the Mandell JCC, a post-film discussion will be held following the screening of Holy Silence. Participants include Professor Avinoam Patt, Ph.D., UConn; Steven Pressman, Emmy-nominated writer, producer, and director; and Dr. Suzanne Brown-Fleming Director, International Academic Programs - Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Please visit the event website for more details!

On March 23, at 7:00 pm, a panel of expert guests will explore Israeli society through the lens of 6 Israeli films featured in the 2020 Hartford Jewish Film Festival. Panelists include UConn Director of Middle East Studies Prof. Jeremy Pressman, UConn Director of the Center for Judaic Studies Avinoam Patt, and Mandell JCC Israel Program Coordinator Tom Wainrich. For more details, please visit the event website.

Israeli Author Ayelet Tsabari to Present “Language, Longing, and Belonging” | February 18, 2020

Tsabari Headshot

Award-winning Israeli author Ayelet Tsabari will present "Language, Longing, and Belonging,"  a discussion of her new, critically acclaimed memoir The Art of Leaving.

Date: Tuesday, February 18, 2020 

Time: 4:30 pm

Place: Trinity College, Mather Hall, Wean Terrace Rooms ABC, 300 Summit Street, Hartford

The event is free and open to the public. The talk is sponsored by the Distinguished Scholar lecture by the Department of Language and Culture Studies at Trinity College, ALEPH: The Institute of Jewish Ideas, and the UConn Center for Judaic Studies.

For more information, please contact Lidija Petrus at 860-297-5121 or lidija.petrus@trincoll.edu.

About the Book 

In The Art of Leaving, Tsabari tells her story, from her early love of writing and words, to her rebellion during her mandatory service in the Israeli army. She travels from Israel to New York, Canada, Thailand, and India, falling in and out of love with countries, men and women, drugs and alcohol, running away from responsibilities and refusing to settle in one place. She recounts her first marriage, her struggle to define herself as a writer in a new language, her decision to become a mother, and finally her rediscovery and embrace of her family history--a history marked by generations of headstrong women who struggled to choose between their hearts and their homes. Eventually, she realizes that she must reconcile the memories of her father and the sadness of her past if she is ever going to come to terms with herself.

About the Author 

Ayelet Tsabari was born in Israel to a large family of Yemeni descent. She is the author of the memoir in essays The Art of Leaving, finalist for the Writer’s Trust Hilary Weston Prize, winner of the Canadian Jewish Literary Award for memoir, and an Apple Books and Kirkus Review Best Book of 2019. Her first book, The Best Place on Earth, won the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and the Edward Lewis Wallant Award, and was long listed to the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. The book was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, a Kirkus Review Best Book of 2016, and has been published internationally.

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/