Special Event Announcements

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 pamela.weathers@uconn.edu.

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.

Avon Theater Film Screening: Call Me by Your Name October 10, 2018

Call Me by Your Name

Co-presented by the UConn Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, UConn Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS), and Triangle Community Center, Academy Award-winning film Call Me by Your Name will be screened at the Avon Theater in Stamford (272 Bedford Street).   A post-film Q&A  moderated by Dr. Frederick Roden with author André Aciman, whose novel was adapted in creating the screenplay for the film, will follow the screening. The program takes place on Wednesday, October 10, at 7PM.

Tickets: Nonmembers  $13; Members  $8; Students/Seniors $10 

About André Aciman

André Aciman received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University and, after teaching at Princeton University and Bard College, is Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York. He is currently chair of the Ph.D. Program in Comparative Literature and founder and director of The Writers' Institute at the Graduate Center. He has also taught creative writing at New York University, Cooper Union, and Yeshiva University. In 2009, Aciman was also Visiting Distinguished Writer at Wesleyan University.

Although his specialty is in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English, French, and Italian literature, he is especially interested in the theory of the psychological novel (roman d’analyse) across boundaries and eras. In addition to the history of literary theory, he teaches the work of Marcel Proust and the literature of memory and exile.

Aciman is a New York Times bestselling novelist originally from Alexandria, Egypt. He has also written many essays and reviews on Marcel Proust. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The New Republic, The Paris Review, Granta, and in many volumes of The Best American Essays. He has won a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a fellowship from the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.

He is the author of the Whiting Award-winning memoir Out of Egypt (1995), an account of his childhood as a Jew growing up in post-colonial Egypt. His books and essays have been translated in many languages. In addition to Out of Egypt (1995), Aciman has published False Papers: Essays in Exile and Memory (2001) and Alibis: Essays on Elswhere (2011), and four novels, Enigma Variations (2017), Harvard Square (2013), Eight White Nights (2010) and Call Me by Your Name (2007), for which he won the Lambda Literary Award for Men's Fiction (2008). He also edited Letters of Transit (1999) and The Proust Project (2004) and prefaced Monsieur Proust (2003), The Light of New York (2007), Condé Nast Traveler's Room With a View (2010) and Stefan Zweig's Journey to the Past (2010). 

About the Film 

Call Me by Your Name, from Luca Guadagnino, is a sensual and transcendent tale of first love, based on the acclaimed novel by André Aciman. In the summer of 1983, in the north of Italy, Elio Perlman, (Timothée Chalamet) a 17-year-old American spends his days in his family's 17th-century villa lazily transcribing music and flirting with his friend Marzia (Esther Garrel). One day Oliver (Armie Hammer), a 24-year-old graduate student working on his doctorate arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio's father (Michael Stuhlbarg), an eminent professor specializing in Greco-Roman culture. Soon, Elio and Oliver discover a summer that will alter their lives forever.

Learn more at: http://www.avontheatre.org/films/618/special-event:-call-me-by-your-name

If you require an accommodation to participate in any of these events, please contact Stamford Coordinator for Judaic Studies Professor Fred Roden at frederick.roden@uconn.edu or 203-251-8559.

Forms of Authoritarianism: A One-Day Conference, Sept. 20, 2018

Forms of AuthoritarianismOn Thursday, September 20, from 9:30-4:00 pm, the UConn American Studies program will host a one-day conference on "The Forms of Authoritarianism" with keynote speaker Ben Kiernan of Yale University. The conference will be held at UConn Hartford in the Hartford Club, 46 Prospect Street, Hartford.

This one-day conference brings together scholars and journalists at the University of Connecticut and across the region to discuss the various forms that authoritarianism is taking in the world today, from the Philippines to Turkey, to Argentina and Venezuela, to Europe and the United States. It also aims to place this authoritarianism in historical perspective, comparing it to the anti-democratic currents of yesterday, whether in fascist Europe or in the Cold War dictatorships of Latin America.
Panelists will address: What are the dynamics of authoritarianism in the site they study? What forms does its policies and political rhetoric take? What is the relationship between economic insecurity and anti-democratic currents? What politics and institutional structures of the old regime fuel the rise of authoritarianism? Is it genuinely populist, facilitated by elites, or both?

For details on panels and panelists, view the full program.

This program is made possible with generous support from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the UConn Humanities Institute, the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute, the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, the Department of English, the Human Rights Institute, and the University of Connecticut-Hartford.

The Strawberry Girl – A Theatrical Presentation by Israeli Stage – October 22, 2018

The Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life at UConn will be hosting a performance of Savyon Liebrecht's play, The Strawberry Girl, followed by a conversation led by the play's director, Guy Ben-Aharon. The show will take place on Monday, October 22 at 6PM in the Konover Auditorium at the Dodd Research Center on the Storrs campus. The program is free and open to the public. A reception will immediately follow.

Founder of Israeli Stage and director of the play, Guy Ben-Aharon, brings Savyon Liebrecht's heart-wrenching story, The Strawberry Girl, to life on the stage. The one-woman show, presented in English, tells the haunting Holocaust story of a German woman and her son Ludwig who live in Poland, where her husband works at a “factory.” Their lives change after she meets a Jewish girl who grows strawberries, as big as a man’s fist. The play deals with the confrontation of blissful ignorance and a tragic personal intimacy.

The Strawberry Girl has toured to Boston College (sponsored by the Laura and Lorenz Reibling Foundation, German Consulate of Boston), Brandeis University (Center for German and European Studies, Hadassah Brandeis Institute), Goethe Zentrum Atlanta, Lesley University (Lesley Hillel, CJP), NewBridge on the Charles, Temple Emmanuel of Newton, Temple Isaiah of Lexington, Trinity College (Trinity Hillel), Wellesley College (German Studies Department, Jewish Studies Department, English Department, Theatre Department).

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

A Community of Practice of Spiritual Traditions: October 3, 2018


On Wednesday, October 3,  from 10 am - 2 pm, please join us for brief introductory workshops on Jewish and western spiritual practices as well as yoga and Zen meditation.  Drop in/drop out for a series of 5 short workshops with a lunch/information session at halftime.

These workshops are free and open to the public and take place in the Art Gallery at UConn Stamford (1 University Place, Stamford, CT). 

If you have questions or require an accommodation to participate, please contact Stamford Coordinator for Judaic Studies Professor Roden at frederick.roden@uconn.edu or 203-251-8559.

This event is made possible by the UConn Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life.

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.

8/22/18 Film Screening and Panel Discussion of Frederick Wiseman’s Ex Libris: The New York Public Library

Ex Libris: The New York Public LibraryThe UConn Library will be hosting a daylong event dedicated to Frederick Wiseman's 2017 documentary film Ex Libris: New York Public Library. A Panel presentation and reception will follow the screening of the film at the Spotlight Theater in Hartford. The program is free and open to the public.

Winner of the International Federation of Film Critics award at the 74th Venice International Film Festival, Frederick Wiseman's documentary follows patrons and staff at the main branch and several small branches of the New York Public Library, exploring the library system's public and democratic value.  

The event takes place on Wednesday, August 22, from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM at Hartford's Spotlight Theater (39 Front Street, Hartford). 

Front Street Bistro is offering a 20% discount for those who attend the event.

This program is made possible by the UConn Library, Hartford Public Library, Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, and the Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages.

If you require an accommodation to participate, please contact Jennifer Eustis jennifer.eustis@uconn.edu


Ex Libris: The New York Public Library trailer:

July 23: Responding to the Trauma of Children at Our Borders

The Center for Judaic Studies will be co-sponsoring a Community Teach-In on Monday, July 23, at 6:30 pm. “Responding to the Trauma of Children at Our Borders” will be held at B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom (180 Still Road, Bloomfield, on the corner of Mountain Road on the West Hartford/Bloomfield line).

The program is free and open to the entire community and will feature mental health experts, educators, students and child survivors.

This event is sponsored by B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom/Neshama Center for Lifelong Learning; Mandell JCC of Greater Hartford; Charter Oak Cultural Center; Jewish Family Services of Greater Hartford; Farmington Valley League of Light; Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Hartford;  UConn Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life; CT Immigrant and Refugee Coalition; Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at UConn; Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, University of Hartford; Beth El Temple; Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life, Trinity College; Christian Activities Council, Hartford; American Muslim Peace Initiative; Anti-Defamation League, CT; University of CT, Hartford.

Interactive Dance Workshop with Shamel Pitts

Shamel PittsCome enjoy an evening of dance with Shamel Pitts, one of the most revered performers in the Tel Aviv-based Batsheva Dance Company! Shamel will speak about his experiences in Israel, then lead an interactive dance workshop in Gaga, the movement language developed by Batsheva choreographer Ohad Naharin, that highlights intimate physicality on groove and the subtlety of small gestures.

The event takes place on Friday, April 20, at 6:00 PM at UConn Hillel (54 N. Eagleville Road, Storrs). 

Shamel Pitts grew up in Brooklyn, studied at Juilliard, and began his career with Mikhail Baryshnikov’s Hell’s Kitchen Dancers and later Ballets Jazz Montréal. He now performs with the Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv.

This event is made possible by the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, UConn Hillel, and the Consulate General of Israel to New England.

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

Dr. Susannah Heschel to Present “Human Dignity in Judaism” on April 26, 2018

Susannah HeschelOn April 26, at 7:00 pm, Dr. Susannah Heschel will present "Human Dignity in Judaism." In this talk, Heschel explores the themes of human rights and dignity within Jewish religious texts and how they relate to the modern human experience. The event takes place at Charter Oak Cultural Center (21 Charter Oak Avenue, Hartford) and is free and open to the public. 

Visit Charter Oak's website for information on directions and parking.

The event is made possible by the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life Gene and Georgia Mittelman Lecture in Judaic Studies, Charter Oak Cultural Center, UConn Hartford, the Humanities Institute, and the Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages.

About the Speaker

Susannah Heschel is the chair of the Jewish Studies Program and Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College. Her scholarship focuses on Jewish-Christian relations in Germany during the 19th and 20th centuries, the history of biblical scholarship, and the history of anti-Semitism. Her numerous publications include Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus (University of Chicago Press), which won a National Jewish Book Award, and The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany (Princeton University Press). She has also taught at Southern Methodist University and Case Western Reserve University.

Heschel has been a visiting professor at the Universities of Frankfurt and Cape Town as well as Princeton, and she is the recipient of numerous grants, including from the Ford Foundation, Carnegie Foundation, and a yearlong Rockefeller fellowship at the National Humanities Center. In 2011-12 she held a fellowship at the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. She has received four honorary doctorates from universities in the United States, Canada, and Germany. Currently she is a Guggenheim Fellow and is writing a book on the history of European Jewish scholarship on Islam. In 2015 she was elected a member of the American Society for the Study of Religion. 

The author of over one hundred articles, she has also edited several books, including Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays of Abraham Joshua Heschel; Betrayal: German Churches and the Holocaust (with Robert P. Ericksen); Insider/Outsider: American Jews and Multiculturalism (with David Biale and Michael Galchinsky). She serves on the academic advisory council of the Center for Jewish Studies in Berlin and on the Board of Trustees of Trinity College.

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

Charles Kaiser to Speak at UConn Stamford for Yom Hashoah/Holocaust Remembrance Day Lecture

Charles Kaiser

On Tuesday, April 17, at 5:30 pm, Charles Kaiser, author and journalist, will present "A Model of Resistance: How one French family chose to fight the Nazis during the occupation of Paris" for the Center for Judaic Studies UConn Stamford Yom HaShoah Holocaust Remembrance Day lecture. The lecture takes place in Multipurpose Room 108 at the UConn Stamford Campus (One University Place, Stamford, CT). It is free and open to the public.

About the Presentation

Charles Kaiser will speak about his book, The Cost of Courage, a biography of the Boulloches, a Catholic bourgeois family who fought against the Nazis and paid a tremendous price for their courage. Kaiser has known his subjects all of his life because his uncle lived with the Boulloche sisters for a year, beginning in the fall of 1944, immediately after the liberation of Paris. Since then, the two families have nurtured seven decades of friendship.

About the Speaker

Charles Kaiser is a former reporter for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal and a former press critic for Newsweek. He reviews books regularly for The Guardian. He is associate director of the LGBT Social Science and Public Policy Center at Hunter College. His other books are 1968 In America, The Gay Metropolis, and What it Means to Be a Homosexual, for which he wrote the afterword. The Cost of Courage was published in the US by Other Press and in France last summer by Seuil.

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