Special Event Announcements

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

Guy Mendilow Ensemble to Perform February 7, 2019

  • Guy Mendilow Ensemble

On February 7, 2019, at 8:00 pm at UConn's von der Mehden Recital Hall, the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life, in partnership with the UConn Department of Music, brings the Guy Mendilow Ensemble to Storrs to perform The Forgotten Kingdom. As part of the Center's Scholarship and the Arts initiative, this performance is made free and open to the public!  

Please pre-register to attend!

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

About the Guy Mendilow Ensemble


The Guy Mendilow Ensemble is an award-winning quintet with a cast of world-class players who mesmerize audiences with their skill in playing a wide variety of instruments.  The Guy Mendilow Ensemble draws on traditional tunes, techniques, and tales but in elegant arrangements and with radical reframing. The emotionality of Western classical music is intensified by the bittersweet rawness of Tango, gorgeous vocal harmonies and the rhythmic fire of classical Arabic percussion. GME’s storytelling is inspired by the dreamlike qualities of Pablo Neruda and Michael Ondaatje, and by Dan Carlin’s vivid restoration of faded historical memory.

GME is honoured to be the recipient of multiple funding awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Boston Foundation, the New England Foundation for the Arts and Western Arts Alliance on the basis of its artistry, cultural preservation and the strengthening of communities through the arts.

About the Show


Folding radio drama-style stories into a top-flight world music concert, The Forgotten Kingdom conjures women’s voices lost to war and upheaval. Audiences traverse picturesque Mediterranean port towns and faded memories of Ottoman villages, from Salónica to Sarajevo, guided by an "international tour-de-force" (Bethlehem Morning Call) whose world-class musicianship and cinematic storytelling restores living colour to tales of ordinary people living through extraordinary change.

Weaving together late 19th/early 20th-century women’s songs from Sephardic enclaves of the former Ottoman Empire, the show evokes a panorama of the unraveling of an older Mediterranean world —not as we see it today with the benefit of textbook hindsight, but as ordinary people lived it, unaware of how the dots would connect. With song lyrics in Ladino, an endangered blend of archaic Spanish with Turkish and Greek, together with English narration, with heart and humour, the show renders scenes of daily life from WWI and the Ottoman Empire’s collapse to the glimmers of democratic hopes crushed by fascist regimes that cloaked entire communities in a ‘shroud of oblivion.’

What People Are Saying


...music of hope and affirmation, sophisticated in its delivery but easily accessible to listeners anywhere” — Chicago Tribune

culturally significant” — Bruce Halliday, Port Theatre, Nanaimo, BC, Canada

“I dare any audience to NOT be swept away by this show”— Natalie Neuert, UVM Lane Series, Burlington, VT

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.

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.