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Jewish History [clear filter]
Friday, February 13
 

8:45pm EST

How 50,000 Bulgarian Jews Survived the Holocaust
In 1943, Bulgaria deported nearly 11,400 Jews from occupied territories in northern Greece and Yugoslavia. At the same time, Bulgaria successfully resisted German pressures to deport the 50,000 Jews living in Bulgaria. This session will feature an overview of these historical events and will focus on the debates about the role played by King Boris III, church officials, and politicians. We will also discuss ways in which these events should be interpreted and commemorated.

Presenters
JB

Joseph Benatov

Joseph Benatov holds a PhD in comparative literature from the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches Hebrew. He has translated fiction, poetry, and drama, including several plays which were staged to wide acclaim in Bulgaria. Benatov lectures regularly on the history of Jewish... Read More →


Friday February 13, 2015 8:45pm - 10:00pm EST
High Ridge
 
Saturday, February 14
 

1:45pm EST

The Rabbinic Narrative of Pacifism and Its Modern Critics
This session will offer a political theory for rabbinic Judaism—namely, that the rabbis used narrative, law, interpretation, and their own myth of origin to not only opt out of history but also to make a strong statement against sovereignty and its trappings of military force and the use of power. We will then reckon with the consequences of being the inheritors of this literature, as well as its implications for modern Zionism.

Presenters
YK

Yehuda Kurtzer

Yehuda Kurtzer is the president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, overseeing its educational initiatives for Jewish communal leaders. He taught at Brandeis as the inaugural Chair of Jewish Communal Innovation. His book Shuva: The Future of the Jewish Past offers new... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 1:45pm - 3:00pm EST
Grove

1:45pm EST

Dolce and Her Daughters: A Businesswoman in Medieval Germany
Come and explore the private and public lives of medieval Jewish women and children and the example of Dolce, a prominent businesswoman and wife of the Rokeach, an influential pietist thinker.

Presenters
KV

Katja Vehlow

Katja Vehlow lives in New York and teaches Jewish and Religious Studies at the University of South Carolina. Her research interests are pre-modern Jewish identities, inter-religious polemics, and gender issues. She is also a mean speed knitter.


Saturday February 14, 2015 1:45pm - 3:00pm EST
Glenbrook

3:45pm EST

Nostra Aetate: Catholic-Jewish Relations' 50th Anniversary
Promulgated in 1965, this brief document of the Second Vatican Council laid the foundation for a revolution in Christian understanding of Jews and 50 years of productive dialogue between the two faiths. During this jubilee year, Catholics and Jews have a golden opportunity to study, celebrate and examine a document which changed the course of Catholic-Jewish relations by rejecting the deicide charge and other root causes of anti-Judaism.

Presenters
NM

Noam Marans

Noam Marans is the national director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations at AJC (the American Jewish Committee). Previously he served as the rabbi of Temple Israel in Ridgewood, NJ. He has participated in multiple private audiences with Pope Francis and leads AJC's battle against... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 3:45pm - 5:00pm EST
Elm

3:45pm EST

Sephardic Vignettes from the Balkans
How was a Sephardi rabbi able to save his town—and possibly the whole region—from a cholera epidemic? And how did another rabbi save the Bulgarian capital from arson? Why did Austrian Emperor Joseph II banish the notable Arieh family, which then went on to establish one of the most successful and influential Jewish dynasties in the Balkans? Come hear about these and other notable moments in the rich history of Jewish life in Ottoman Salonica, Macedonia, and Bulgaria.

Presenters
JB

Joseph Benatov

Joseph Benatov holds a PhD in comparative literature from the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches Hebrew. He has translated fiction, poetry, and drama, including several plays which were staged to wide acclaim in Bulgaria. Benatov lectures regularly on the history of Jewish... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 3:45pm - 5:00pm EST
Springdale

5:15pm EST

Modern Orthodoxy and the Boundaries of Pluralism
Can a denomination that stakes out exclusive theological claims genuinely learn from those who believe differently? In this session we will examine Jewish thought from the 19th century to the present day that attempts to balance exclusive faith claims with an openness to learn the wisdom offered by others who do not share those beliefs and/or practices. Come and explore what Karaites bottling wine and horse riding on Shabbat have to teach us about pluralistic Jewish learning.

Presenters
BG

Ben Greenberg

Ben Greenberg was ordained by Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School and is the Planning Executive for Synergy Manhattan of UJA-Federation of New York as well as the Founding Director of OpenSinai.com. He has worked in a variety of capacities in settings ranging from campus to... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 5:15pm - 6:15pm EST
Willow

9:45pm EST

The Great Jewish Paradox of Our Time: Power and Vulnerability
Jews have never been more powerful, prosperous and influential. At the same time, we have rarely been as vulnerable. Come and explore this great paradox of our time, and discuss the kind of leadership the Jewish People needs at this point in time.

Presenters
GG

Gidi Grinstein

Gidi Grinstein is the founder and president of The Reut Institute and the author of Flexigidity: The Invisible Hand of Jewish Adaptability. He served as secretary and coordinator of the Israeli delegation to the negotiations with the PLO between 1999-2001 under Ehud Barak. Gidi is... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 9:45pm - 11:00pm EST
Elm

9:45pm EST

The Last Jews of Baghdad (Film)
Iraq was once home to 160,000 Jews; today only five remain. This documentary film by Carole Basri takes a personal and historical look at the persecution, torture, escape and exodus of Iraqi Jews between 1940-2003. The film utilizes documentary footage, as well as interviews with Jews who fled their beloved homeland.

Presenters
CB

Carole Basri

Carole Basri is a filmmaker and lawyer of Iraqi Jewish descent. Her films provide a historical and personal view of the persecution, torture, escape and flight of over 160,000 Jews from Iraq between 1940- 2003. A graduate of Barnard College and NYU School of Law, Carole is an... Read More →


Saturday February 14, 2015 9:45pm - 11:30pm EST
Springdale
 
Sunday, February 15
 

10:00am EST

Jewhooing the Sixties
Based on the book of the same title, this session will describe the phenomenon of "Jewhooing"—that is, Jewish celebrity consciousness. Everyone knows Adam Sandler's "Hanukkah Song," but rarely do we think more seriously about "people who are Jewish, just like you and me." Using four case studies of Jewish celebrity—Sandy Koufax, Lenny Bruce, Bob Dylan, and Barbra Streisand—we will further explore the dynamics of Jewish identity, expressed by our persistent desire to identify famous Jews.

Presenters
DK

David Kaufman

David Kaufman is a lifelong Jewish educator, with an MA in Jewish education from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a PhD in American Jewish history from Brandeis. He has taught at the Hebrew Union College and Hofstra University and is the author of Shul with a Pool: The Synagogue-Center... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 10:00am - 11:15am EST
Elm

10:00am EST

Portraits of Jewish Bulgaria
You are invited to a visually breathtaking journey through contemporary Jewish life in Bulgaria. Images by one of the country’s leading photographers and the fascinating new documentary The Ladino Ladies' Club will grant you a tangible sense of the rich past and vibrant present of this unique Jewish community.

Presenters
JB

Joseph Benatov

Joseph Benatov holds a PhD in comparative literature from the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches Hebrew. He has translated fiction, poetry, and drama, including several plays which were staged to wide acclaim in Bulgaria. Benatov lectures regularly on the history of Jewish... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 10:00am - 11:15am EST
Cove

10:00am EST

Jewish Travel in Asia
Whether writing a Lonely Planet guidebook or just exploring on my own, wherever he travels Robinson tries to connect with the local Jewish community, if there is one, or at least find some evidence of a Jewish presence, past or present. This session will mix historical background on the Jewish communities of places such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Mumbai (Bombay) and Tokyo with practical information on establishing contact with local Jewish institutions. 

Presenters
DR

Daniel Robinson

After twenty-five years in Israel, Daniel came back to the US when his wife began Conservative rabbinical studies in Los Angeles. She is now the rabbi of Congregation Beth El in New London, CT. Daniel has been writing travel guidebooks for Lonely Planet for 25 years, including guides... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 10:00am - 11:15am EST
Willow

10:00am EST

Varieties of Modern Orthodoxy 1800-2015
The term "Modern Orthodoxy" was first used in the 1960s to refer to a "small alienated minority" of "no more than several score intellectuals." But by the late 1970s, the term was used by a sociological group of many adherents. Explore the many separate antecedent groups who combined in the last 200 years tradition with modernity. The views of Hertz, Reines, Hertzog, Hirsch and Belkin were all generated by different questions. But more fundamentally, for us now, what is modern?

Presenters
AB

Alan Brill

Alan Brill is the Cooperman/Ross Endowed Chair for Jewish-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University. Brill’s books include Judaism and Other Religions (2010) and Judaism and World Religions (2012). Last year, he was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Varanasi, India. He is currently... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 10:00am - 11:15am EST
High Ridge

12:00pm EST

Jewish Food History
Of the many lenses through which to gain a greater perspective on history, food is too often neglected. The story of Jewish food is the story of the Jewish people told more tastily. If you are hungry to know what manna really was or how cholent saved the Jews of Spain, prepare your palates for a culinary adventure through the space and time of Jewish experience. We will cover what Jewish foods are, where they came from, and why they are important.

Presenters
SC

Shelley Cohney

Shelly Cohney is an Australian lecturer and tour guide with specialities in food, history, Israel, and Jewish customs. She is a tour guide in Australia and Israel and lectures at the Jewish Museum of Australia as well as at culinary colleges and various charities. Her time is split... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 12:00pm - 1:15pm EST
Springdale

12:00pm EST

The Four Founding Stories of Judaism: Why They Matter Separately and Together
This session will explore not only the four founding stories of Judaism—about peoplehood, nationhood, being a light unto the nations, and faith and covenant—but also their crucial role in ensuring Jewish survival, security, prosperity, and leadership.

Presenters
GG

Gidi Grinstein

Gidi Grinstein is the founder and president of The Reut Institute and the author of Flexigidity: The Invisible Hand of Jewish Adaptability. He served as secretary and coordinator of the Israeli delegation to the negotiations with the PLO between 1999-2001 under Ehud Barak. Gidi is... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 12:00pm - 1:15pm EST
High Ridge

12:00pm EST

The Displaced Persons
Over 140,000 bedraggled and penniless Holocaust survivors came to America after World War II, shorn of families and hometowns. Yet they built remarkably successful lives for themselves and their children. How did they do it? What was the subculture they established here? How were their children affected by having parents who were so unfamiliar with American ways and still in mourning for overwhelming losses? Joseph Berger wrote a 2001 memoir about growing up as a son of survivors.

Presenters
JB

Joseph Berger

Joseph Berger has been a reporter with the New York Times for thirty years, writing about religion, education, neighborhoods and issues in the Jewish world. He won the 2011 Peter Kihss Award for a career’s work. He is the author of Displaced Persons: Growing Up American After the... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 12:00pm - 1:15pm EST
Willow

8:15pm EST

Models of Jewish Leadership: Women in America
We will consider questions of avocation and vocation, a sense of calling versus that of profession, by looking into the lives and accomplishments of a number of trailblazing Jewish women. They were performance artists, educators, academics, political figures, and much, much more. What can we learn from these American leaders, each of whom had the courage and conviction to create a more just and equitable world?

Presenters
SG

Sheridan Gayer

Sheridan is the Assistant Director of the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies at Columbia University. She is a graduate of Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. Her love of "hands-on" education stems from a background with USY and Ramah, both organizations for... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 8:15pm - 9:30pm EST
Belltown

8:15pm EST

Finding the Jewish God in the Post-Secular Age
The triumph of secularism used to be assumed; now God is back everywhere in our post-secular age. Yet, we find Biblical transcendence and God's presence to be elusive. People alternately attain and lose religion, seeking some meaning and moral orders in their lives. Some turn to inner spirituality, some to strong beliefs, and others toward a kitchen deity. We will explore the contours of this new terrain and discuss the Jewish God in an age of post-liberalism, after-theism, and post-secularism.

Presenters
AB

Alan Brill

Alan Brill is the Cooperman/Ross Endowed Chair for Jewish-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University. Brill’s books include Judaism and Other Religions (2010) and Judaism and World Religions (2012). Last year, he was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Varanasi, India. He is currently... Read More →


Sunday February 15, 2015 8:15pm - 9:30pm EST
Glenbrook
 
Monday, February 16
 

8:30am EST

Who Was the Ramban?
Ramban, Moshe b. Nachman (Nachmanides) 1194–1270, wrote one of the most famous commentaries on the Torah. But what made his thought so enduring? Together we will explore some of Ramban's key passages in the hopes of understanding his revolutionary worldview.

Presenters
AS

Abe Schacter-Gampel

Abe is a second-year rabbinical school student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. He is a graduate of NYU, where he studied Classics and Comparative Literature, and has studied at Yeshivat Ma’ale Gilboa and Yeshivat Hadar, where he was a Kevah Teaching Fellow. This summer Abe served as... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 8:30am - 9:45am EST
Glenbrook

10:00am EST

A Rabbi on the Ganges: A Jewish-Hindu Encounter
Heschel once asked: What would Judaism have looked like on the Ganges? Jews know little of Hinduism except to ask about its monotheism. This talk will start to answer the question of looking at the two faiths differently after the encounter. Brill recently spent a Fulbright Sabbatical year in India encountering Hinduism from within the Brahmin world. Explore the commonalities in priestly rituals, dietary restrictions, and purity, as well as tantra, meditation, and text study.

Presenters
AB

Alan Brill

Alan Brill is the Cooperman/Ross Endowed Chair for Jewish-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University. Brill’s books include Judaism and Other Religions (2010) and Judaism and World Religions (2012). Last year, he was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Varanasi, India. He is currently... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 10:00am - 11:15am EST
Willow

10:00am EST

Understanding Israel’s Declaration of Independence
Israel’s Declaration of Independence is the most revolutionary document in Jewish history in two millennia. In addition to a close examination of the background of its formulation and of its contents, we shall examine it in comparative context with the American Declaration of Independence, the Palestinian National Covenant, and the Hamas Charter. The commonalities between them and their vast differences are the subject of this session.

Presenters
IT

Ilan Troen

Born in Boston, Ilan Troen was educated at Brandeis, Hebrew University and Chicago. On making aliyah he joined Ben-Gurion University, became Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences and Director of the BGU Research Institute, and pioneered programs in Israel Studies. He returned to... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 10:00am - 11:15am EST
Grove

10:00am EST

The Taboo History of Jews in Arab Countries
After 1948, the Arab League drove out 900,000 indigenous Jews from their countries. The Jews, whose history is not widely known, left after ethnic cleansing, torture, suppression of religion and vandalism. Carole Basri will present a historical overview, along with her own family’s story.

Presenters
CB

Carole Basri

Carole Basri is a filmmaker and lawyer of Iraqi Jewish descent. Her films provide a historical and personal view of the persecution, torture, escape and flight of over 160,000 Jews from Iraq between 1940- 2003. A graduate of Barnard College and NYU School of Law, Carole is an... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 10:00am - 11:15am EST
Waterside

10:00am EST

What's the Use of Jewish History?
Ever wonder where Jews come from and how Judaism came about? Come learn the basics of Jewish history—all 3,000 years of it! At the same time, consider the deeper meaning of history for Jews today. In one session we will survey the entirety of the Jewish historical experience, from its beginnings in ancient Israel to the diverse and multicultural Jewish world we currently inhabit. The overarching question—what is the use of Jewish history to us today?—will be addressed throughout.

Presenters
DK

David Kaufman

David Kaufman is a lifelong Jewish educator, with an MA in Jewish education from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a PhD in American Jewish history from Brandeis. He has taught at the Hebrew Union College and Hofstra University and is the author of Shul with a Pool: The Synagogue-Center... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 10:00am - 11:15am EST
Glenbrook

11:30am EST

Three Summers of Zionist Crisis: 1937, 1947, 1948

1937: a crisis over whether to divide the Land of Israel. 1947: a crisis over the role of Judaism in the State of Israel. 1948: a crisis over who can legitimately fight for the State of Israel. Three summers, three crises, three issues that are as relevant today as back then. We'll roleplay Israel's past to try to understand Israel's present.



Presenters
RM

Robin Moss

Robin Moss is head of Israel Engagement at UJIA, the central agency connecting the British Jewish community to Israel. He works to improve the quality and nuance of Israel-related educational conversations among Jewish youth, primarily within youth movements, day schools, non-Jewish schools... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 11:30am - 12:45pm EST
Long Ridge

11:30am EST

The Talmud Uncensored
Among the most incendiary passages in the Talmud are those that denigrate non-Jews. What do these texts actually say and how have they been read, resisted, and revised? We will explore the Talmud’s role in shaping relationships between Jews and non-Jews since late antiquity and learn how Christian censorship reshaped the Talmud. Can censorship ever be good? Can the Talmud serve as a teaching for all people? What is the role of censorship in preparing the Talmud—and the Jews—for modernity?

Presenters
MW

Mira Wasserman

Mira Wasserman is on the faculty of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where she teaches Talmud. For her, the Talmud is both a great work of literature and a resource for thinking about contemporary ethics, and she seeks to open Talmud up for students and seekers of all ages... Read More →


Monday February 16, 2015 11:30am - 12:45pm EST
Elm