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Sophie Halaby in Jerusalem: An Artist’s Life

Robert Seltzer 2021-2022 Lunch Lecture Series Presents:

Sophie Halaby in Jerusalem: An Artist’s Life

Presented by: Laura S. Schor

laura schorThis talk will focus on the life and art of the little-known Jerusalem artist Sophie Halaby. The discussion will consider how researching Sophie Halaby helped Professor Laura Schor reframe her understanding of Jerusalem. The talk will also include details of the many adventures Schor underwent while working on the book, and will include slides of some of Halaby's wonderful art.

This Event Will Be Held Online via Zoom

 

“I Am Now at War Again” Jewish World War I Veterans and Kristallnacht

Robert Seltzer 2021-2022 Lunch Lecture Series Presents:

“I Am Now at War Again” Jewish World War I Veterans and Kristallnacht

Presented by: Michael Geheran

This talk examines the responses of German Jewish World War I veterans to the state-sponsored violence the Nazis unleashed against Jews on 9 November 1938. Like other victims of the Pogrom, Jewish veterans suffered the humiliation of arrest and physical abuse and were confronted with the powerlessness of being unable to defend their homes and families. Yet as they were rounded up, physically and verbally assaulted, and deported to Nazi camps, Jewish veterans not only relied on their military training and memories of the war to overcome the ordeal, they also remained committed to preserving their honor and, with it, a sense of agency, even as the last barriers to genocide were cast aside.

This Event Will Be Held Online via Zoom

 

Tehran Children

Robert Seltzer 2021-2022 Lunch Lecture Series Presents:

Tehran Children: How a Decade Long Search in My Father's Footsteps Became "One of the Greatest Untold Stories of the Second World War"

Presented by: Mikhal Dekel

It is a largely unknown fact most Polish Jews who escaped Nazi extermination - nearly a quarter-million - survived in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Iran and India. Unearthing the past, while tackling memory politics in the present.

Mikhal Dekel, whose then twelve-year-old father was such a refugee, will share her decade-long archival research and global travel to retrace their 13,000-mile route.

This Event Will Be Held Online via Zoom

 

Klezmerica: Jewish Invention and Repackaging of the Instrumental Jam

Robert Seltzer 2021-2022 Lunch Lecture Series Presents:

Klezmerica: Jewish Invention and Repackaging of the Instrumental Jam

Live Performance and Lecture

Klezmer music, an instrumental genre rooted in an Eastern European Jewish cultural milieu deeply stylized by connections with non-Jewish co-ethnics, has been replanted and is thriving in the rich soil of America.

This lecture-performance discusses and presents Klezmerica, a new Jewish music genre borne from the greenhouse of the Lower East Side with offshoots formed by the ricocheting reverberations of the alleyways in the Downtown NYC jazz scene and beyond.

Samuel Torjman Thomas, PhD, ethnomusicologist and multi-instrumentalist (oud, sax/clarinet, and vocals) is the artistic director of AESFA (gathering) and teaches music, interdisciplinary studies, and Sephardic Studies at the City University of New York. He journeys from deep klezmer to jazz and blues-tinged Jewish jams, then through a lush Mediterranean garden of songs in Hebrew, Arabic, and Ladino. Dr. Torjman Thomas is a frequent guest speaker at cultural institutions, universities, and multi-dimensional ecumenical spaces world-wide.

This Event Will Be Held Online via Zoom

 

What Can the New York Syrian Community Teach Us About Sephardim in America?

Robert Seltzer 2021-2022 Lunch Lecture Series Presents:

What Can the New York Syrian Community Teach Us About Sephardim in America?

Cohosted with Hunter Hillel 

Sephardic Jews who immigrated to America from Muslim-majority countries are woefully understudied in the scholarship of American Jews.

In this talk, Dr. Mijal Bitton will share findings from her research on the Syrian Jewish Sephardic community in Brooklyn. Dr. Bitton will demonstrate that a careful study of groups such as this one destabilizes normative assumptions about the relationship between America and its Jews.

Dr. Mijal Bitton is a Scholar in Residence at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. She is a sociologist of American Jews with a research focus on the experiences of contemporary Sephardic American Jews from Muslim-majority countries. Mijal is the co-founder and Rosh Kehillah of the Downtown Minyan and was selected in 2018 for inclusion in New York Jewish Week's '36 under 36'.

This Event Will Be Held Online via Zoom

 

What Did You Do to These People?: History, Memory and the Last Dachau Death March

Robert Seltzer 2021-2022 Lunch Lecture Series Presents:

"What Did You Do to These People?": History, Memory, and the Last Dachau Death March, 1945-1995

In the final days of April 1945, guards at the Dachau Main Camp forced nearly 7,000 prisoners onto the roads of southern Bavaria, headed for the Alps as American troops closed in.

This lecture discusses the course and aftermath of the last of the Dachau death marches, using testimonies by survivors, American soldiers, and German civilians from communities through which the march passed.

How can we use survivor testimony to reconstruct events that happened sometimes decades before those testimonies were recorded? How did those Germans who witnessed these horrific events later come to understand their role in the crimes of the Nazi state?

Adam R. Seipp is a Professor of History at  Texas A&M University, where he also serves as Assistant Provost for Graduate and Professional Studies. His teaching and research focus on German and transatlantic history in the 20th century. He is the author and editor of several books including, Strangers in the Wild Place: Refugees, Americans, and a German Town, 1945-1952. He is currently working on several research projects, including a study of Holocaust-era liberator testimonies.  He recently published Buschenwald Stories: Testimony, Military History, and the American Encounter with the Holocaust in the Journal of Military History.

This event will be held online via Zoom.

 

Concentration-Camp Literature: Gulag and Nazi Camps - by Leona Toker

Robert Seltzer 2020-2021 Lunch Lecture Series Presents:

Concentration-Camp Literature: Gulag and Nazi Camps as Contexts for Each Other with Leona Toker

Co-Sponsored by Russian and Slavic Studies at Hunter College

Join us for a brief history of concentration camps and the literature written about them, followed by a discussion and comparison of Shalamov’s "An Individual Assignment" and an extract from Primo Levi’s If This Is A Man. Followed by virtual audience Q&A.

Leona Toker | English DepartmentLeona Toker is Professor Emerita in the English Department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is the author of numerous books including Nabokov: The Mystery of Literary Structures (1989), Eloquent Reticence: Withholding Information in Fictional Narrative (1993), and Return from the Archipelago: Narratives of Gulag Survivors (2000). Her most recent book is Gulag Literature and the Literature of Nazi Camps: An Intercontextual Reading (2019). Since 2003 she has been the Editor of Partial Answers: Journal of Literature and the History of Ideas.

This event will be held online via Zoom.

 

Unkosher: Organized Crime in the Kosher Food Trades - by Aaron Welt

Robert Seltzer 2020-2021 Lunch Lecture Series Presents:

Unkosher: The Role of Organized Crime in the Kosher Food Trades, 1900-1920

During the era of the mass migration of Jews to the United States over the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the kosher food industry experienced unprecedented expansion. A key, hidden, and under-appreciated force behind this commercial growth was Jewish organized crime. Kosher food businesses often called upon Jewish gangsters to maintain industrial rules, punish commercial actors who challenged existing trade practices and to deal with union affairs.

This talk will compare the role of organized crime in the kosher poultry industry and the trade in Jewish baked goods. Jewish gangsters operated differently in each of these sectors. But their notable influence in the kosher food industry conveys just how important organized crime was in the development of the Jewish ethnic economy over the years of largescale immigration to America.

Aaron Welt is an Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Jewish Studies Department of Hunter College, where he teaches courses on American Jewish History. He received his PhD in Jewish History from NYU and is currently working on a book manuscript that explores the role of organized crime in the development of Jewish immigrant capitalism in early 20th century New York.

This event will be held online via Zoom.

 

Shattered Homes: Jews Hiding During the Holocaust - by Natalia Aleksiun

Robert Seltzer 2020-2021 Lunch Lecture Series Presents:

Shattered Homes: Jews in Hiding in Eastern Europe during the Holocaust

Found in homes, objects are personal and familial. Some are “Jewish” by provenance used in daily lives or family celebrations, while others by virtue of “birth” as they performed religious functions. And if this was the case, then what was the meaning of the term “Jewish home” in the hiding places of Jews in Eastern Europe?

This talk explores the objects that Jews took into hiding with them. Escaping from ghettos and work camps, evading round-ups and man-hunts, Jewish men, women and children temporarily and tangentially reconstructed their homes on the run. Jewish items retained in hiding had a practical role to play, helped keeping Jews warm and fed, but they were also sites of loving memory, longing or anxiety. As such these objects became a prism that refracts Jewish experience in hiding.

Natalia AleksiunNatalia Aleksiun is Professor of Modern Jewish History at Touro College, Graduate School of Jewish Studies, New York. She has received many prestigious fellowships. She published a monograph titled Where to? The Zionist Movement in Poland, 1944-1950 and a critical edition of Gershon Taffet’s Destruction of the Jewish Community of Żółkiew and coedited the 20th volume of Polin, devoted to the memory of the Holocaust and the 29th volume titled Writing Jewish History in Eastern Europe. Her book Conscious History: Polish Jewish Historians before the Holocaust will be published with Littman in early 2020. She is currently working on a new book about the so-called cadaver affair at European Universities in the 1920s and 1930s and on a project dealing with daily lives of Jews in hiding in Galicia during the Holocaust.

This event will be held online via Zoom.

  • Zoom link will be provided upon RSVP
  • Please download the Zoom app before joining the event)
  • Access Hunter College's "Zoom Webinars Best Practices" Guide

RSVP to HCJS@hunter.cuny.edu

 

Creation and Evolution in Traditional Jewish Thought - by Yitzhak Berger

Robert Seltzer 2020-2021 Lunch Lecture Series Presents:

Creation and Evolution in Traditional Jewish Thought

Efforts to reconcile the biblical account of creation with the conclusions of science take many forms. Modern-day efforts of this kind, including those that fully embrace the scientific consensus, find precedent among traditional Jewish authorities in the Middle Ages, who interpreted the biblical story in full accordance with medieval science. This presentation highlights the positions of Maimonides and of other, lesser-known figures, and considers their influence on present-day discussions of the issue.

yitzhak bergerYitzhak Berger is Professor of Biblical Studies at Hunter and Hebrew Administrator. He specializes in medieval biblical interpretation and literary interpretation of the Bible. His most recent book, Jonah in the Shadows of Eden, was published by Indiana University Press in 2016. Yitzhak teaches courses on the Jewish Bible at Hunter College.

This event will be held online via Zoom.

  • Zoom link will be provided upon RSVP
  • Please download the Zoom app before joining the event
  • Access Hunter College's "Zoom Webinars Best Practices" Guide

RSVP to HCJS@hunter.cuny.edu