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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

 

Robert Seltzer Lunch Lecture Series: [Re]Thinking Jewish Heritage

Robert Seltzer Lunch Lecture Series

[Re]Thinking Jewish Heritage: Opportunities and Limits Amidst Openings and Closings

Holocaust narratives dominate contemporary Jewish heritage tourism, but an exciting New Jewish History offers a new paradigm in which the Jewish Street, and notably the Bund, is at the center of the making of Modern Jewish identity. Illustrated with slides, the lecture illustrates the possibilities, challenges, disappointments and surprises that frame the robust and changing terrain of Jewish Heritage today in cities such as Kiev, Krakow, Berlin, Warsaw, Lviv, Lodz, Bucharest and Belgrade to London and New York and two shtetlekh in eight countries.

Daniel J Walkowitz is a social and cultural historian who in nearly a dozen books, two dozen articles and four films for public television has worked to bring America’s past to both academic and broad public audiences. He is an Emeritus Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and Emeritus Professor of History at New York University. His more recent books are Working With Class: Social Workers and the Politics of Middle-Class Identity (North Carolina, 1999), Contested Histories in Public Space: Memory, Race, and Nation (Duke, 2009), City Folk: English Country Dance and the Politics of the Folk in Modern America, (NYU Press). His most recent book is The Remembered and Forgotten Jewish World: Jewish Heritage in Europe and the United States (Rutgers).

Wednesday, February 26, 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

North Cafeteria (3rd Floor of West Building)

Join us for lunch!
RSVP by February 19th to receive a lunch. Please specify the event, date and if you require a kosher option.

RSVP to HCJS@hunter.cuny.edu

Space is limited, RSVP is required. Add a note in your RSVP letting us know if you are a Hunter student, faculty member, alumni, auditor or part of the NYC community.

ID Required
If you don't have a Hunter ID, bring photo ID and check in at Hunter's Visitors Center located at 904 Lexington Avenue.

 

Lunch Lecture Series: From Grodno to Chicago to Pavlodar

Lunch Lecture Series

From Grodno to Chicago to Pavlodar:
The Life and Death of a Yiddish Revolutionary

Co-hosted with the Russian and Slavic Studies Program

This talk will trace the revolutionary career of Samuil Agursky (1884-1947), a leading figure of the Evsektskiia, the Jewish section of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Generally dismissed today as a political opportunist and traitor to his people, Agursky serves as an important exemplar of many trends that roiled the Jewish world of the early 20th century. His shifting ideological loyalties, geographic mobility, and ultimate betrayal at the hands of the very system he helped to create all speak to the dizzying and fraught nature of the encounter between Jewish radicalism and Soviet state socialism.

SAMUEL CASPER teaches modern Russian, Jewish, and European history at Hunter College. He received a Ph.D. in history from the University of Pennsylvania in 2018; his dissertation explored the Soviet party-state’s campaign to exonerate individuals executed under Stalin. His research interests include Soviet history, Russian-Jewish history, transitional justice, and perpetrator studies.

Wednesday, September 25, 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Presidents Conference Room (E1700)

Join us for lunch!
RSVP by September 18th to receive a lunch. Please specify if you require a kosher option.

RSVP to HCJS@hunter.cuny.edu

Space is limited, RSVP is required. Add a note in your RSVP letting us know if you are a Hunter student, faculty member, alumni, auditor or part of the NYC community.

ID Required
If you don't have a Hunter ID, bring photo ID and check in at Hunter's Visitors Center located at 904 Lexington Avenue.

 

Lunch Lecture Series: Overrepresented Minorities?

Lunch Lecture Series

“Overrepresented Minorities?”
Peculiar Parallels between Asians and Jews in the Modern US

Co-hosted with the Asian American Studies Program

Peculiar Parallels between Asians and Jews in the Modern US Co-hosted with the Asian American Studies Program Jews have often been compared to other ethnic and religious groups in America, including Italians and Irish but especially African Americans. Above all, these comparisons reveal fundamental sociological differences as much as similarities. It is all the more surprising then that the clear parallels between east Asians and Jews have received so little attention. Both groups were victims of discrimination and immigration restrictions, but both have also been stereotyped as “model minorities” defined by upward mobility and success in American capitalist society. This lecture examines how Asians and Jews epitomize the concept of “overrepresented minorities,” groups that are highly vulnerable in part because they are perceived as successful and privileged. Of course, the reality, as outlined in this talk, is far more complex and ambiguous.

JONATHAN KARPJONATHAN KARP is Associate Professor in the departments of Judaic Studies and History at Binghamton University of the State University of New York (SUNY). He is the author of The Politics of Jewish Commerce: Economic Thought and Emancipation in Europe (Cambridge, 2008) and editor with Adam Sutcliffe of Philosemitism in History (Cambridge, 2011), and The Cambridge History of Judaism in the Early Modern World (2017), and with Marsha L. Rozenblit, World War I and the Jews (2017). His forthcoming book is Chosen Surrogates: A Class-Cultural Analysis of Black-Jewish Relations. From 2010-2013 he was the Executive Director of the American Jewish Historical Society.

Wednesday, October 30, 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Presidents Conference Room (E1700)

Join us for lunch!
RSVP by October 23rd to receive a lunch. Please specify if you require a kosher option.

RSVP to HCJS@hunter.cuny.edu

Space is limited, RSVP is required. Add a note in your RSVP letting us know if you are a Hunter student, faculty member, alumni, auditor or part of the NYC community.

ID Required
If you don't have a Hunter ID, bring photo ID and check in at Hunter's Visitors Center located at 904 Lexington Avenue.