CJS organizes an array of in-depth programs, including learning opportunities with international artists, scholars, and speakers.
These programs provide multiple engaging pathways into Jewish thought and culture, as well as fostering interfaith bridge building and inclusive excellence efforts.
Take a look back on our programming since 2009, and gain perspective on what your support will allow us to accomplish in the future.
Check out our event photos on Flickr.
Center for Judaic Studies Past Events
Sun, Nov. 2
CJS faculty Adam Rovner led JAAMM Fest conversation with Michael Chabon, Pulitzer-Prize winning author
Michael Chabon is an American author and one of the most celebrated writers of his generation. Chabon’s first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, was published when he was 25 and catapulted him to literary celebrity. Chabon has said the "unapologetic Jewish stance" in his writing is only possible because he is what he called a "post-Rothian" writer, not breaking ground the way Roth or others Jewish writers of prior generations had to do. "I benefit from the struggles of my parents and grandparents. They did all the hard work," Chabon said.
Michael Chabon lecture and conversation was part of JCC's annual JAAMM Fest.
Elaine Wolf Theater
MACC at the JCC
350 S. Dahlia St.
Denver, CO 80246
Wed, Nov. 5,
10:15 AM - 12:45 PM
Past, Present, and Future of Jewish Memory:
Reconsidering Holocaust Memory
Seminar and Panel Conversation with Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer
How does a community connect memory & heritage with living in the present & constructing a vibrant purposeful future?
What are the implications for Holocaust memory, memoir & memorialization?
Dr. Kurtzer, JAAMM Fest Scholar in Residence, explored these questions with DU and CU faculty:
- Lydia Gil Keff (DU, Judaic Studies, Languages & Literatures)
- Sarah Pessin (DU, Judaic Studies, Philosophy)
- Adam Rovner (DU, Judaic Studies, English)
- Elias Sacks (CU Boulder, Jewish Studies, Religious Studies)
Wed, Nov. 5
10:15 AM-12:45 PM
Anderson Academic Commons
Special Event Room #290, (Main Floor)
University of Denver
2150 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208
Dr. Kurzter’s other events as part of JAAMM Fest 2014:
- Nov. 4 Book Talk, Info and tickets
- Nov. 6 Text Seminar, “Jewish Identity in a Bondary-less Age," Info and tickets
About Dr. Kurtzer:
President of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, Dr. Kurtzer earned his doctorate in Jewish Studies from Harvard and his MA in Religion from Brown. He is an alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship and the Bronfman Youth Fellowship. Dr. Kurtzer’s book, Shuva: The Future of the Jewish Past, is a work of constructive theology offering new thinking on how contemporary Jews can and should relate to the past while living profoundly in the present.
About the JAAMM Fest Scholar In Residence:
The JAAMM Fest Scholar in Residence is sponsored by the Denver Jewish Learning Collaborative comprised of the Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Denver, the Department of Jewish Life & Learning at the Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center, and Kabbalah Experience. Co-sponsors for this year's program include Beth Evergreen, B'nai Havurah, CAJE, Jewish Family Service of Colorado, Judaism Your Way, Rocky Mountain Rabbinical Council, Rodef Shalom, Temple Emanuel and Temple Sinai.
Sun, Nov. 9
Book launch of CJS faculty Dr. Adam Rovner's In the Shadow of Zion: Promised Lands before Israel
We celebrated the launch of Dr. Rovner’s new book, In the Shadow of Zion: Promised Lands before Israel, which recounts the mostly forgotten history of the Jewish Territorialist Movement and its champions.
Sun, Nov. 9
Phillips Social Hall
MACC at the JCC
350 S. Dahlia St.
Denver, CO 80246
ABOUT IN THE SHADOW OF ZION: PROMISED LANDS BEFORE ISRAEL
IN THE SHADOW OF ZION brings to life the amazing true stories of six exotic visions of a Jewish national home outside the biblical land of Israel. Israel's successful establishment has long obscured the fact that eminent Jewish figures, including Zionism's prophet, Theodor Herzl, seriously considered settling enclaves beyond the Middle East. Christians and Jews, authors and adventurers, politicians and playwrights, and rabbis and revolutionaries all worked to carve out autonomous Jewish territories across the globe in remote and often hostile locations, including Angola, Kenya, Madagascar, Suriname and Tasmania. The would-be founding fathers of these imaginary Zions dispatched scientific expeditions to these far-flung regions and filed reports on the dream states they planned to create. But only Israel emerged from dream to reality.
IN THE SHADOW OF ZION explores this remarkable shadow history of Jewish nationalism, making this an important book for understanding the trajectory of Zionism and the contemporary Middle East. A gripping narrative drawn from the author's own travels and from his meticulous research in archives the world over, IN THE SHADOW OF ZION recovers the mostly forgotten stories of these promised lands and of the fascinating figures who championed them. These individuals included the man credited with reviving Hebrew as a spoken language, a lovelorn Christian adventurer, two famed African explorers, a Yiddish-speaking member of Lenin's first Soviet cabinet, and a cast of author-activists hailing from America, England, and Germany. Provocative, thoroughly researched, and written to appeal to a broad audience, IN THE SHADOW OF ZION offers a timely perspective on Jewish power and powerlessness.
ABOUT DR. ADAM ROVNER
Dr. Adam Rovner is Associate Professor of English and Jewish Literature at the University of Denver. His articles, essays, translations and interviews have appeared in numerous scholarly journals and general interest publications. Rovner's short documentary on Jewish territorialism, No Land Without Heaven, has been screened at exhibitions in New York, Paris, and Tel Aviv.
Sun, Nov. 16
Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society Annual Meeting & Performance by Theatre Or of Kindertransport by Diane Samuels
After Kristallnacht, the Kindertransport rescue mission transported 10,000 children, most of whom were Jewish, to safety in England. The majority never saw their parents again. The play, Kindertransport, is the poignant story of a child of the transport who wants to bury her past, and her relationship with her daughter, who needs to understand her mother’s story in order to forge her own identity.
Sun, Nov. 16
1:15 PM RMJHS Annual Meeting
2:00 PM Kindertransport performance start time
The Pluss Theater
MACC at the JCC
350 S. Dahlia St.
Denver, CO 80246
Download the PDF for this event.
Thurs, Nov. 20
Thursdays - An Experiment in Transdisciplinarity
If you have questions, please contact Michael Hemenway at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mon, Oct. 27 &
Tues, Oct. 28
American Jewish Poet, Peter Cole
DU's Center for Judaic Studies, department of English, the Creative Writing Program, and CU Boulder's Programs in Mediterranean Studies, Creative Writing, and Jewish Studies held two events with Acclaimed American Jewish Poet, Peter Cole.
A public talk by Peter Cole on Monday, October 27, at CU Boulder Humanities Room 150 & a poetry reading at Counter Path Books on October 28. Learn more about Peter Cole.
Sun, Oct 26
12th Annual Fred Marcus Memorial Holocaust Lecture
The 2014 Lecture was the premiere performance for the Denver Jewish Community of Judy Winnick in Meet Miep Gies:Beacon of Hope. Miep Gies (1909-2010), one of the unsung heroes of the Holocaust, helped hide Anne Frank and her family in the Netherlands during WWII. Miep provided them with food and other basic necessities. The care and support of Miep and her husband enabled Anne's inspiring and historically significant diary to survive
The Real Monuments Men and Women: Art Restitution Successes and Challenges
Presented by Prof. Elizabeth Karlsgodt
CJS affiliated faculty Beth Karlsgodt was this year's AHSS Livingston Lecturer. With over 500 reservations, Prof. Karlsgodt spoke to a sold out crowd on May 5, 2014. Who were the curators, architects and other art experts who joined Allied forces during World War II and rescued art that had been looted by the Nazis? Professor Elizabeth Campbell Karlsgodt will shed light on the men and women who inspired George Clooney's recent film, The Monuments Men. The film portrays the key role played by American art experts in the recovery of works that had been stolen by the Nazis across Europe, mainly from Jewish collectors, or sold by owners under duress. The dramatization, however, fails to address a few key aspects of this history: the importance of looting in the broader Nazi effort to eliminate Jews from European society; the crucial contribution of western allies to the art recovery program; and the role played by remarkable women. Come away with a better understanding of these courageous individuals and their work, while gaining a broader perspective of restitution successes in the early postwar years, and the ongoing challenge of returning Nazi-era art to rightful owners.
A Conversation with Comedian Michel Boujenah
CJS cosponsored with the Mizel Museum and Neal Sokol as they presented a North American exclusive: A laugh-out-loud conversation with comedy legend and French screen idol Michel Boujenah; May 4, 2014! Michel Boujenah is one of France's funniest and most talented comedic performing artists. For over 40 years, Boujenah, a Sephardic Jew originally from Tunisia, has delighted standing room only audiences around the world with his powerful and hilarious story-telling. Boujenah is best known to American audiences for his roles in the hit films Les Misérables (1995), Three Men and a Baby (1985) and his poignant award-winning directorial debut Father and Sons (2003). This exclusive one-night-only appearance was arranged with the help of the acclaimed entertainment impresario and writer Charley Marouani.
62nd Annual Holocaust Survivor Memorial "Reflections of the Past and Present"
Holocaust Awareness Institute sponsors this annual community Memorial service in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day. This year, featured guests were 1st generation survivor Julius Diczek-Reich, second generation survivor Dean Rotbart, third generation survivor Talia Zall and Cantor Zachary Kutner. The Keynote Speaker was Rabbi Moshe Heyman, The Denver Kollel Experience.
Exploring Jewish Views of Justice: Religious, Academic, Activist
CJS cosponsored this April 24, 2014 panel conversation featuring three perspectives from a panel of leaders followed by small group conversations. 30 students and community members participated in the event. Panelists: Evan Weissman Warm Cookies of the Revolution, Sarah Pessin Director of the University of Denver's Center for Judaic Studies, Rabbi Steven Booth-Nadav Wisdom House Denver. This free event was made possible by a Limmud Jewish Learning Grant, an initiative of Rose Community Foundation. Co-sponsors: Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, DU's Center for Judaic Studies, Judaism Your Way, Keshet, Hazon, Jewish Voice for Peace, EKAR, Mizel Museum and E3Events.
CJS Co-Sponsored visit with Author/Journalist Masha Gessen
On April 23, 2014, Author/Journalist Masha Gessen spoke about her new book, Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot. Her new book is about the imprisoned Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot (the first book on this subject in English). She's done a lot of reporting from the Pussy Riot trial in August 2011 and also from the penal colonies where two of the women are still held. Masha Gessen is a prominent Russian-American journalist who publishes predominantly in English. She is the author of, most recently, A Man Without a Face - an award-winning and decidedly unauthorized biography of Vladimir Putin. Her other books include a half dozen titles including a number of books and articles about the Russian Jewish Experience, particularly Ester and Ruzya: How My Grandmothers Survived Hitler's War and Stalin's Peace and Blood Matters -- a book on BRCA1 gene and the attendant exploration of Ashkenazi Jewish genetics. Gessen is also Russia's most prominent LGBT activist who has written extensively on LGBT issues in Russia. Gessen immigrated to the US with her family in the early 1980s, started her journalism career in the late 80s covering the AIDS epidemic and ACT-UP activism, moved back to Russia in 1991 - reported from Chechnya and other challenging places, and just recently re-immigrated to the United States after Russia passed a slew of homophobic laws (some thought to be aimed specifically at her and her family). During this recent re-immigration, Gessen has compared her current experience of leaving Russia as a gay person to the experience of leaving the Soviet Union for the first time as a Jew.
Sponsored by the Department of Languages and Literatures.
City of Greeley Holocaust Memorial Observances
Featured guest Speaker, Survivor Estelle Laughlin
HAI cosponsored this event on April 23, 2014, as part of the City of Greeley's Holocaust Memorial Observances. Only ten years old when Hitler invaded Poland, Estelle and her family soon found themselves amidst the hell that was the Warsaw Ghetto. Her frank, personal memoir of this harrowing experience is testament to her indomitable spirit and fierce determination to remain loving and compassionate even in the face of unimaginable evil. Co
Rwanda 20 Years Ago Today: A New Model for Victims in Mass Atrocity Prosecutions
The Holocaust Awareness Institute co-sponsored Rwanda Twenty Years Ago Today, an interdisciplinary endeavor of the Sturm College of Law International Programs, the Department of Anthropology, and the University Libraries on April 2, 2014 in the Anderson Academic Commons. The event featured a presentation by Fergal Gaynor, entitled: "A New Model for Victims in Mass Atrocity Prosecutions."
Fergal Gaynor, an ICC victim's representative, represents 25,000 victims of the election violence in Kenya. Distinct from the prosecutors or defense attorneys, Gaynor posits a new model where the victims' representative is able to advance the interests of the victims as a third and independent participant in the proceedings. Mr. Gaynor discussed this new and exciting innovation at the International Criminal Court and shared the challenges that are inherent in this new role. How would the Rwanda Tribunal have been different had the victims' had their own attorney? What are the disadvantages of this model? Is this a workable model in other types of criminal proceedings?
Looking Beyond Christianity in Colorado
Prof. Jeanne Abrams participated in DU panel on religion as part of the University of Denver's Religious Studies/Religious Life Speaker Series "Colorado's Diverse Religious Legacy: 1864-2014." This Faculty Panel featured Jeanne Abrams-University Libraries/CJS, Bonnie Clark-Anthropology and Christine Sheikh-Sociology, and was a featured event in the University's Sesquicentennial event schedule. The event took place on March 25, 2014.
Revolutionary Medicine: America's Founder in Sickness and in Health
Prof. Jeanne Abrams, Director the the Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society, gave a talk on March 24, 2014 about the lives of George and Martha Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John and Abigail Adams, and Dolley Madison. In contrast to the usual lens of politics, their stories are told from the unique perspective of sickness, health, and disease in their era, opening a window into the practice of medicine in the 18th century. This talk was sponsored by The Center for Bioethics and Medicine at UCD, Anschutz Medical Campus.
Sarah Pessin on Divine Love at The Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (CMEMS)
Prof. Sarah Pessin presented "Divine Love in a Neoplatonic Key: Rethinking God (and the History of Ideas) from Greek, Islamic and Jewish Points of View" at the University of Colorado, Boulder on March 13, 2014. In the history of ideas, there have arisen a number of overly calcified assumptions about monotheisms vs. 'paganisms,' and about the theological distance between the proverbial Jerusalem and Athens. In this presentation, Prof. Sarah Pessin examined a case in point of how these sorts of underlying assumptions have led to centuries of misreadings of divine will and love in a particular Jewish medieval thinker, viz. 11th century Neoplatonist Solomon Ibn Gabirol. More broadly, she used the case of Ibn Gabirol to push us on what we think divine love is, and to push us on the extent to which the history of philosophy—perhaps under the tacit influence of a Christian lens—has presented us with unfairly weak and impious versions of Greek, Islamic, and Jewish Neoplatonic theologies.
Hebrew-Arabic Evening of Culture
On February 13, 2014, Prof. Sari Havis, Director of Hebrew Program, teamed up with Prof. Maha Foster, Arabic Lecturer to offer students an evening of cross-cultural celebration. Hebrew students and Arabic students came together to celebrate diversity and culture with food, music and dancing. This event was for registered DU students enrolled in Hebrew and Arabic.
RMJHS/BECK Archives Lowenstein Exhibit at Anderson Academic Commons
Through Winter Quarter 2014, Anderson Academic Commons displayed two large exhibit cases with text which focused on Henry Lowenstein's escape from Nazi Germany when he was a young teenager and going to England on the Kinderstransport. He lived in England 5 years and was later united with his family in the U.S. He went on to become an icon in Denver theater. His mother, Maria, was a trained artist, and we exhibited 12 of her paintings and drawings, some created during the Holocaust, some after her arrival in the U.S. While this exhibit was displayed, students from CJS affiliated faculty Beth Karlsgodt's course, European Culture in the World Wars, worked with archivist Thyria Wilson to examine documents and materials in the Lowenstein Collection to enhance their knowledge of European culture before and during WWII. Using primary resources of Holocaust survivor and Denver theater pioneer, Henry Lowenstein, the students worked on research projects as part of their final papers.
The Whipping Man at The Curious Theatre Company
The RMJHS theater party at the Curious Theatre on January 26th was a resounding success. The Whipping Man, which received rave reviews from the Denver Post and other media, is a thought-provoking drama, which explores the complexity of American slavery and its relevance for American of all faiths and ethnic groups. It is the story of a Jewish confederate soldier who returns to his home after the Civil War to encounter two of his family's newly freed ex-slaves, and together they navigate the horrors of slavery and the possibilities of a shared future. The performance was entirely sold out and marked the Fifteenth Annual Professor John Livingston Memorial Program. Dr. Livingston was a founder of the RMJHS and Beck Archives and taught American and American Jewish history at DU for over 25 years. Many audience members stayed on after the play for a lively talk-back with the actors. The RMJHS's longtime director, Dr. Jeanne Abrams, served as an historical consultant to Curious Theatre and worked with the actors to provide historical context for the play's theme. She was invited to join the actors in answering questions from the audience. All of the attendees praised The Whipping Man as a very powerful, extremely well-acted play.
"One Person Can Make a Difference", commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day
CJS co-sponsored with DU Never Again "One Person Can Make a Difference" featuring Jeannie Opdyke Smith in honor of International Holocaust Memorial Day. Jeannie Smith is the only daughter of Irene Gut Opdyke. As a teenager, Irene hid 12 Jewish friends in the basement of a Nazi major's house where she served as the major's housekeeper at great personal risk. After Irene died, Jeannie began sharing her mother's story. 75 students and community members came out to hear Jeannie share her mother's story. V
RMJHS Annual Meeting: Tour of Anderson Academic Commons and Colorado Jewish History Exhibits
On November 24, 2013, DU and RMJHS hosted the premiere showing of a series of 15 beautiful and thought-provoking panels From Haven to Home: 350 Years of Jewish Life in America with a reception and Annual Meeting of the Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society. First created in 2004 for the 350th Anniversary of the American Jewish Community, and originally shared city-wide as a special exhibit at the Denver Public Library, these panels have now become an official part of the Beck Archives and DU University Libraries through a partnership with the American Jewish Historical Society, and it will reside here when it is not traveling. These amazing panels were desplayed at DU through the month of December at DU before they headed out on what is expected to be many traveling tours around the U.S.
Writing and Spirituality Panel and Workshop
When is writing a spiritual practice? Is poetry more spiritual than prose? How have different religious and cultural traditions viewed the connection between writing, memory, and identity? On Nov. 4, 2013, over 60 students, community members, staff and faculty joined us for a writing workshop and panel conversation about these and related themes featuring renowned founder of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg in dialogue with DU and Iliff faculty experts: Amy Erickson, Cathie Kelsey, Billy Stratton, Greg Robbins, Selah Saterstrom, M.E. Warlick, Nicole Willock. The panel was followed by a unique writing workshop led by Selah Saterstrom, Director of the University of Denver's Creative Writing Program.
Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg visited DU as part of the MACC at the JCC's JAAMMFest Scholar in Residence series, sponsored by the Denver Jewish Learning Collaborative, of which the Center for Judaic Studies is a member.
11th Annual Fred Marcus Memorial Holocaust Lecture
Over 250 attendees enjoyed this fascinating lecture featuring Dr. Stephen Smith, executive Director of the Shoah Foundation. Dr. Smith spoke about the enormous amount of information the Shoah Foundation has archived with its 55,000 testimonies and the ways in which students, teachers, researchers and community members may locate almost any piece of information related to testimony. Additionally, Dr. Smith exhibited an amazing technology, New Dimensions in Testimony, in which a 3D image of a survivor can interact with a live person! CJS/HAI was proud to partner with the MACC at the JCC to have this lecture as part of the annual JAAMMfest, on Oct. 27, 2013.
Writing as Creation: From Human Being to Divine Desire in Ibn Gabirol
On October 23, 2013, Dr. Sarah Pessin (Philosophy and Judaic Studies, University of Denver) spoke about the unique theology of 11th century Jewish poet and philosopher, Solomon Ibn Gabirol to an engaged audience of 25 at the Kabbalah Experience. Based on her new book, Ibn Gabirol's Theology of Desire (Cambridge University Press, 2013), Sarah helped students consider the link between writing and divinity, and the connection between writing, divinity, and philosophical questions about ethics and existence in Ibn Gabirol's thought. As part of their journey, they learned about Jewish philosophical conceptions of self, the nature of divine love and creativity, and the complex theological interplay of language and silence in the human effort to draw closer to God, the author of cosmic meaning writ large. Dr. Pessin was featured as part of MACC at the JCC's JAAMMFest Author Talks.
Lillian Butler Hoffman: Denver's Pioneer of the Soviet Jewry Movement
On October 21, 2013, more than 40 people came to the special event created by Sheila Hoffman Bialek about her mother Lillian, and an informative exhibit about the CCCSJ from the Beck Archives. This event was presented by Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society and Beck Archives, Special Collections, University Libraries, and Center for Judaic Studies.
Between 1967 and 1991, over two million Jews left for freedom to Israel, the United States, and other western countries. Lillian Hoffman was one of the pioneers of the grass-roots effort that crossed all party lines in America to free Jews to practice their religion without State persecution. She was the longtime chair of the Colorado Committee of Concern for Soviet Jewry (CCCSJ). The campaign for freedom from tyranny, which culminated in the Jackson Vanik Act, became a model for effective activism. The event highlighted daughter Sheila Hoffman Bialek's film, speech and books which present Lillian's vital work as well as other primary sources from the Beck Archives.
As Seen on Israeli TV: Intercultural Encounter and Cultural Landscapes
CJS hosted visiting scholar Dr. Miri Talmon for a screening of Israeli television clips and a discussion of how Israeli culture is portrayed through media on October, 14, 2013. Over 50 students, community members, and faculty attended the screening and reception preceding the show. Here's what a few students had to say about the event: "The most important concept I learned from [Dr. Talmon] was the power of media. She depicted Israeli tv and movies which also portrayed Israeli culture. Media can be an insight to the culture." "[Dr. Talmon] has made me more excited about Hebrew class because the culture is so diverse. I am thinking of continuing the course longer than planned because of this." "Professor Talmon really emphasized the concept that Israeli culture is so misconceived and misunderstood; there isn't one culture present in Israel and that is something that is overlooked."
25 participants from all over the United States, Canada and Israel came to DU to learn the latest developments in teaching methodology and pedagogy, as well as advances in the application of technology to the teaching of language, in general, and of Hebrew, in particular. This year, October 2013, the sessions were offered by Miri Talmon, Israeli film Media Culture scholar and Head of the Communication and Film Studies Program at the Nazareth Academic Institute, Shmuel Bolozky, Associate Director of NMELRC and a Professor of Hebrew at the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and its Hebrew Program Coordinator, Vardit Ringvald, Director of the Hebrew Language Program at Brandeis University, Director of the Middlebury-Hebrew at the Center Institute for the Advancement of the Hebrew Language, and Yaakov Levy, Director of the CIS at the Talmud Torah of Minneapolis. Participants shared these thoughts with us: "the keynote talk was very valuable...and Prof. Ringvald raised relevant and valuable questions." "This is such a productive and important seminar!!"
Nora's Will/Cinco Dias Sin Nora
On October 10, 2013, CJS cosponsored a film screening of Nora's Will, a Mexican film from writer/director Mariana Chenillo, named Mexico's Best Film of 2009. When his ex-wife Nora dies right before Passover, José is forced to stay with her body until she can be properly put to rest. He soon realizes he is part of Nora's plan to bring her family back together for one last Passover feast, leading José to reexamine their relationship and rediscover their undying love for each other. This film screening was part of a larger series of events for Latino Heritage Month.This event marked the 4th consecutive year that the Center for Judaic Studies has worked with DULCCES (The University of Denver Latino Center for Community Engagement and Scholarship) on programming during Latino Heritage Month.
University Church Network Gathering at The Holocaust Memorial Social Action Site
On July 17, 2013, University Park Methodist Church hosted a three-day gathering of the University Church Network to explore ways for campuses and university ministries to work together to cultivate dialogue and learning. The event featured a special interfaith gathering on July 17, 2013 at the Holocaust Memorial Social Action Site.
"The gathering of United Methodists from across the country for an evening service at the Holocaust Memorial Social Action site was truly a blessing. As we embraced each of the four elements sculptured into the site, we found that the symbols also spoke deeply to our Christian traditions: The chai – life; the eternal flame as embodied in living human beings; the Kristallnacht lattice of human pain and struggle; and the Hineni, a commitment to live as the hands and feet of the God of Life. Thank you for having a vision for such a place of gathering!" - Rev. Paul J. Kottke, United Methodist University Church Network
"When we gathered as a group of one particular faith denomination at the Holocaust Memorial Social Action Site, I was deeply moved once again by the pain and suffering that people have endured throughout the ages simply because of religious background. People of all faiths must commit to dialogue with each other, build relationships, eliminate barriers, and increase understanding of one another. Finding sacred spaces such as the Holocaust Memorial to gather together in peace will be critical for all our futures as people of faith."- Rev. Anne Mundt
Philosophy in the Abrahamic Traditions Conference
CJS co-hosted another successful annual gathering of scholars of medieval Islamic, Jewish and Christian Philosophy. Featuring scholars from around the world, this event was co-sponsored by CJS along with DU's Philosophy Department and the Marquette University Philosophy Department (with support from the Joint PhD. Program in Religious and Theological Studies and DU's Office of Graduate Studies).
Who is a Samaritan?
On May 2. 2013, Schusterman Visiting Israeli Professor Dr. Menachem Mor, spoke to a crowd of 60 students and community members about the Samaritans. Graduate Students Amy Balogh and Stuart Gabel offered insights and historical perspective to Dr. Mor's talk, and Dr. Pamela Eisenbaum of Iliff School of Theology participated in the panel as well.
Holocaust Memorial Social Action Site Gathering
On April 28, over 100 survivors, students, faculty, and community leaders gathered together to honor survivors and to honor the memory of the Shoah through DU's Holocaust Memorial Social Action Site. The Holocaust Memorial Social Action Site was Dedicated in 2010 with the placing of the first stone over a time capsule with messages to future generations. In 2011, we commemorated the completion of Phase One of construction, and now, in Spring of 2013, the Site is complete and in use as a University of Denver space dedicated to inclusivity and diversity throguh learning, dialogue and bridge-building.
Award-winning author Nathan Englander joined CJS' Prof. Adam Rovner in a conversation on "Translation and the Art of Fiction" on February 27, 2013. 75 students, faculty and community members joined the conversation, which was also sponsored by the English and Languages and Literatures Committee for Comparative Literature and the Department of English Speakers Fund.
Music of Terezín
On January 15, 2013, a packed audience of 150 students, professors and community members came to see the documentary film "Music of Terezin" followed by a lively Q and A with Robert Elias, President of the OREL Foundation, which was founded by conductor James Conlon. The mission of the OREL Foundation is to encourage interest in and, especially, the performance of works by composers suppressed as a result of Nazi Policies from 1933 to 1945.Also in attendance were honored guests: survivors of the Shoah.
Middle East Round Table
On January 18, 2013, AHSS Assistant Professors Andrea Stanton (Religious Studies), Peter Hanson (Political Science), and Jonathan Sciarcon (History and Judaic Studies) discussed what to expect with regard to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East during President Obama's second term.
"There Was A Fire: Jews, Music, and the American Dream"
The Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society hosted musician, journalist, and educator Ben Sidran at their Annual Meeting on Dec. 9, 2012. Mr. Sidran gave a special musical conversation to an nearly sold out audience at Hamilton Recital Hall at the Newman Center.
CJS sponsored the award winning film "So Long Stooge" at the Denver Starz Film Festival in November 2012, which was scored by the French-Jewish rock star and poet Charlélie Couture. Mr. Couture is a leading figure in the art world as an activist and in the music world where has scored 15 acclaimed films. His music is produced by the same producers for The Black Keys and Franz Ferdinand.
10th Annual Fred Marcus Memorial Holocaust Lecture
On October 28. 2012, Pierre Sauvage presented "And Crown they Good: Varian Fry in Marseille,"his work-in-progress documentary about Varian Fry. Fry was a cu=ourageous American who set up an underground organization in France that rescued many Jews during WWII.
CJS, Gender and Women's Studies Department and the Department of Religious Studies cosponsored a visit to DU campus by Dr. Daniel Matt, one of the world's leading authorities on Kabbalah. On October 22, Dr. Matt led a text study seminar: "Shekhinah: The Feminine Half of God" to a sold out room.
Dr. Bernardo Kononovich visited the University of Denver in October as part of CJS's joint programming with DULCCES for Latino Heritage Month. Around 200 students and community members attended the film screening of "Kadish" with talkback by filmmaker Bernardo Kononovich.
On October 9, 2012, about 75 students came to hear Dr. Nancy Stockdale's lecture: "Fantasies in Florida: Invented Histories of the Middle East at Orlando's Holy Land Experience." Dr. Stockdale's presentation revealed the overarching historical narrative of the Holy Land Experience theme park, analyzed its representations of Jews, Muslims, and Christians in the Middle East, and explained how its portrayal of Middle Eastern history and politics fits in to a larger historical and contemporary tradition of American Orientalism and fantasy about the Holy Land.
Jonathan Sciarcon, debate lecture
Prof. Sciarcon's lecture "Israel and the U.S. Presidential Elections" was featured as a special DU Passport Event in connection with the 2012 Presidential Debate hosted by the University of Denver! Prof. Sciarcon spoke on the various historical and political contexts Israel brings to this year's U.S. Presidential Elections. A sold out crowd of students, faculty and community members attended this lecture followed by an engaging Q and A session.
On Israel Independence Day, April 26, 2012, Professor Sari Havis brought in Israeli actor Roy Horovitz, who performed My First Sony, a one-man show about coming of age in Israel.The performance was part of our annual reception honoring the Vinnik Fellowship recipients and was co-sponsored by the Department of Theatre, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and Rose Community Foundation.
The CJS worked with the AJC, Denver Film Society and Rose Community Foundation to bring in acclaimed filmmaker Ari Folman to screen his first film, St. Clara, in April 2012. Folman is best known for his Academy Award-nominated film, Waltz with Bashir.
"Journey of Vaan Nguyen"
CJS hosted Israeli filmmaker Duki Dror on campus in March 2012 for a screening of his film Journey of Vaan Nguyen and a talk back by the director. The film tells the story of Vietnamese refugees who arrived by boats to Israel in the late '70s. These "boat people" built a temporary home for themselves in Israel and now when they want to return to Vietnam, their children face an identity conflict.
2012 Winter Colloquium in Judaic Studies
This winter, CJS faculty, students and community members joined in a weekly colloquium on various Judaic Studies topics. CJS brought in several guest speakers for the series, including: January 24- Rabbi Jordan Friedman who spoke with Dr. Sarah Pessin on "Jewish Morality: From Maimonidean Virtue to Applied Business Ethics", February 7-Haim Watzman who spoke on "Translating Avraham Halfi: A Personal View of the Underground Poet of the Yeshiva World", and February 21- Amir Peleg spoke on "Holocaust, Politics and Memory in Israel: The Case of the Jewish Military Union". Attendees were treated to an intimate conversation on the topics.
The Thirteenth Annual Professor John C. Livingston Memorial Lecture in American Jewish History
On January 31, 2012, almost 100 people attended Dr. David Luchins' well received lecture: "Election 2012 and The American Jewish Community: Is the Tea Party Kosher?"Dr. Luchins served as the Senior Advisor to the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York for 20 years. As part of his Senate duties, Professor Luchins met with most prominent American political figures, visited Israel numerous times,and has kept up an active role in politics.
"Two Men Talking"
Johannesburg 1974: A teacher asks two rival schoolboys to tell each other a story. Decades later, they meet by chance in New York as Oscar®-nominated filmmaker and psychiatrist and set out to transform the world through their real life storytelling. "Two Men Talking" is a live unscripted performance in which two men weave their life stories into a production that captivates audiences. "Two Men Talking" tries to make sense of growing up white, Jewish, gay and privileged under apartheid in South Africa. CJS cosponsored this show presented by Newman Center Presents, along with DU's Center for Multi-Cultural Excellence, DU's Student Life, and Iliff School of Theology, on January 19, 2012.
Dr. Menachem Mor Lecture
On January 17, 2012, Dr. Menachem Mor, Schusterman Visiting Israeli Professor, gave a talk at the Colloquium in Judaic Studies entitled "What has Tel Shalem to do with the Bar Kokhba Revolt?" This well attended talk investigated a debate between Dr. Mor and Dr. Werner Eck about a recent archaeological discovery, its meaning, and its connection (if any!) to the Bar Kokhba Revolt, and also engaged us in historiographical questions about how we tell history.
RMJHS Annual Meeting
The RMJHS Annual Meeting held on Sunday, December 4th was a resounding success. Despite cold weather and snow, approximately 150 people were treated to a highly informative and entertaining program by Dr. Mick Moloney, Professor of Irish and Ethnic Studies at NYU. Moloney's multi-media presentation, "If It Wasn't for the Irish and the Jews," mesmerized the audience. Using photographs, movie clips, and song, Moloney traced the connection between Irish and Jewish composers and performers on Tin Pan Alley and early Broadway. The program was preceded by a short business meeting and election of RMJHS officers and board members.
The Elusive Interval: an evening of video installation artworks
CJS cosponsored an advanced digital video art class in the Electronic Media Arts and Design (eMAD) program. Prof. Laleh Mehran's class developed their final project as consciousness-raising video artworks which were temporarily installed at the Holocaust Memorial Social Action Site on Nov. 11, 2011. Project contributors were: Kate Drazner, Andrew Elijah Edwards, Jieliang Luo (Rodger), Philippe Moore, EJ Posselius, and Cordelia Taylor.
In Other Words: An International Symposium on Translation
Nearly 50 students, faculty, and community members attended "In Other Words: An International Symposium on Translation" held at the University of Denver on Tuesday October 25th 2011. Following an introduction by AHSS Dean Anne McCall, author-translators Peter Wortsman and Evan Fallenberg spoke about the art of translation in relation to their own creative writing. Wortsman, a critically acclaimed translator from the German, and Fallenberg, an award winning translator from the Hebrew, also participated in a roundtable discussion with DU faculty translators Laird Hunt (English), Jessica Munns (English), and Adam Rovner (English and CJS). "In Other Words" was sponsored by the Center for Judaic Studies (CJS), the Department of English, and the English and Languages and Literatures Committee (ELL).
Jewish art and poetry from Latin America
A collection of fourteen "artist's books," featuring poems and artwork from Jewish communities in Latin America, was brought to DU in celebration of Latino Heritage Month on October 18, 2011. Previously shown at the Jewish Museum of Buenos Aires, the collection was introduced by Professor Stephen Sadow(Northeastern University) who was the driving force behind the project.
"With My Own Two Wheels" Film Screening
About thirty DU students and community members attended a special screening of director Jacob Seigel-Boettner's moving documentary film "With My Own Two Wheels." Seigel-Boettner attended the screening and spoke with students about his experiences making the movie and traveling to promote "bicycles as a vehicle for change." The director came to DU just a week after showing his film to a 1000 person audience in Sao Paolo, and only two weeks before the film's London premier at the Barbican. "With My Own Two Wheels" traces the story of five individuals who use bicycles to change their lives, and the lives of their communities, for the better. The film was shot on location in Ghana, Guatemala, India, Zambia and the United States. For more information, please go to www.withmyowntwowheels.org
Holocaust Memorial Social Action Site "Phase 1" Completion Ceremony
On September 18, 2011, community members, Holocaust Survivors and students gathered to commemorate the completion of "Phase 1" of the Holocaust Memorial Social Action Site. The Site is already an active space on the Univeristy of Denver campus, hosting events related to the theme of social justice initiatives.
Philosophy in the Abrahamic Traditions
In June 2011 Co-sponsored by CJS and the Departments of Philosophy at DU and Marquette University, 'Philosophy in the Abrahamic Traditions' is an annual gathering of scholars of medieval Jewish, Islamic and Christian philosophy that rotates between DU and Marquette University (and that is organized at DU by Prof. Sarah Pessin). In June, scholars from around the world gathered for 3 days of learning and conversation.
Jewish Philosophy scholars in May
In the month of May, we hosted 3 visiting scholars in Jewish Philosophy: Dr. Claire Katz (Texas A&M) delivered our Jewish Perspectives on Social Justice lecture on Levinasian notions of forgiveness; Dr. Leora Batnitzky (Princeton University) spoke with us about Rosenzweigian conceptions of Jewish identity; and Dr. Tzvi Langermann (Bar ilan University) spoke on themes of Jewish piety as part of our bi-annual Philosophy in the Abrahamic Traditions conference.
Israeli film expert visits
CJS hosted two visits with Israeli film expert Dr. Miri Talmon-Bohm; Dr. Talmon-Bohm led students and community members in a number of exciting conversations about Israeli Culture through a cinematic lens, including visiting Prof. Sari Havis' film class Israeli Culture Through Film, and participating in the Judaic Studies Colloquium.
"Killing Kasztner" film screening and talk-back
The Holocaust Awareness Institute, in anticipation of Holocaust Awareness Week, presented an evening of film and conversation at the Denver Film Society Colfax Theater with Director Gaylen Ross in-person for a post-film talk back on April 27, 2011. The film, 'Killing Kasztner', is an award-winning documentary about a Jew who saved 1700 Jews from Nazi Germany by negotiating very closely (some charge: too closely) with the Nazis, and who was assassinated by an Israeli man in the 1950s - an incident which sparked a very controversial Israeli court case.
2nd Annual Hamantasch/Latke Debate!
On March 20, 2011, we held the 2nd annual Hamantasch Latke debate at the Buntport Theater. Team Latke tried to hold their title from last year, but in the end, Team Hamantasch was the winner!
9th Annual Fred Marcus Memorial Holocaust Lecture
We hosted our annual Fred Marcus Memorial Holocaust Lecture with visiting expert Dr. James Young, followed by a 7-person expert panel on the theme of memory and memorials on March 13, 2011. We also worked with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Facing History and Ourselves to host a successful Fred Marcus Teacher Training event with over 50 teachers in attendance.
Panel Conversation with Dr. Daniel Goldhagen
On February 23, 2011, CJS cosponsored a panel conversation with renowned author and Holocaust scholar Daniel Goldhagen-including his thoughts on his recent project on genocide prevention, Worse Than War. Prof. Adam Rovner participated in the panel. See event flier here.
The Twelfth Annual Professor John C. Livingston Memorial Lecture in American Jewish History
The Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society and Beck Archives hosted Dr. Alan Kraut who presented a lecture entitled: Forget Your Past: Advising Jewish Immigrants on Becoming American in the Early Twentieth Century on February 16, 2011. Dr. Kraut's presentation, part of a broader study of the Americanization of immigrants in earlier eras, examines the efforts of voluntary groups to advise Jewish immigrants in the early 20th century about what they needed to do to succeed in their new home.
From Beijing to Jerusalem: The Global Impact of Israel-China Relations.
On January 5, 2011, CJS co-sponsored a lecture by Professor Xu Xin from Nanjing University, China. Professor Xu Xin is director of the Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies at Nanjing University, and is recipient of an honorary doctorate from Bar Ilan University in Israel. See event flier here.
NMELRC Hebrew Conference
As part of our dedication to ensuring a vibrant future for the study and teaching of Hebrew in the region, we organized a Hebrew conference with the National Middle East Language Resource Center on October 29-31, 2011. Under the direction of Prof. Sari Havis, we hosted 45 attendees, including visiting Hebrew teachers from around the country and from local Denver Jewish day schools, as well as language teachers from surrounding universities.
Spaces of Memory:Texts & Contexts of Argentina's Dirty War
In December, 2010, CJS Affiliated Faculty taught this Judaic Studies travel course in Buenos Aires which explored the construction of memory in both texts and physical spaces touched by the violence, repression and disappearance in Argentina during the "Dirty War" from 1976-1983. It further examined anti-Semitism during the military dictatorship. "This course changed my life. It was not the articles we read or the testimonies we heard, but the accumulation of emotions... This type of course is what makes colleges stand out from one another. It is courses like 'Spaces of Memory: Texts and Contexts of the Dirty War' that make students better world citizens."-Sara Snyder See Course flier here.
CJS Dedicates Holocaust Memorial Social Action Site!
The Center for Judaic Studies gathered friends, donors and community members from across campus and Colorado to dedicate the on-campus Holocaust Memorial Social Action Site on Oct. 10, 2010 with the setting of the memorial's first stone near Buchtel Tower. Read the entire DU Today story
Ruth Behar: CJS partners with DULCCES on Latino Heritage month
CJS and DULCCES formed a first-time partnership during Latino Heritage Month October 7, 2010 to bring acclaimed filmmaker and anthropologistRuth Behar to campus. Inspired from Behar's exploration of her Jewish-Cuban roots, CJS and DULCCES were excited to build this bridge and bring their respective communities together for a screening of Adio Kerida, Behar's award-winning 2002 documentary that follows her trip back to Cuba, as she searches for memories from her past and investigates the dwindling Jewish community that remains.
HAI Remembrance and Hope Annual Fundraiser
HAI partnered with the DCPA this year to feature An Afternoon with Fiddler on the Roof, where guests enjoyed a special performance by Harvey Fierstein and a talk back with the cast after the show. Prior to the play, HAI held a silent auction to raise funds for its important work advancing education about the Holocaust in the state of Colorado.
Dr. Carol Newsom: Discussing the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Book of Job
CJS was thrilled to be able to host Dr. Carol Newsom on the DU campus in May for three days of special events showcasing her expertise on the Dead Sea Scrolls, the book of Job, and more! Dr. Newsom was part of the international team that edited and translated the Dead Sea Scrolls in the 1980s. She spoke about this work in a public lecture, and lead a 3-day Seminar on the book of Job.
Schusterman Visiting Artist Alex Epstein
Alex Epstein, an acclaimed Israeli writer of 'Flash Fiction' who has also published works of poetry and translations, was the artist-in-residence at CJS and the Department of English for Spring 2010. This residency was made possible by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. Epstein kicked off his term at DU with a reading on April 1, where he shared excerpts from his most recent publication, the English version of 'Blue Has No South,' a collection of short stories (Clockroot Books). In addition to team-teaching a literature course with CJS's own Prof. Adam Rovner, Epstein attended events across the country, including the prestigious 2010 PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature in New York City, and several in the Denver-Metro region.
Discovering the Meaning of Life for $9.99 with Etgar Keret
CJS and the Denver Film Society partnered to bring the award-winning Israeli writer and filmmaker Etgar Keret to Denver, for a special screening of the animated feature film "$9.99." Based on several of Keret's stories, the film marries the tradition of Jewish humor with absurdity. "$9.99" features the voice work of Anthony LaPaglia and Geoffrey Rush, and won awards and garnered prize nominations at several international film festivals (2008-09). Keret was introduced by our Schusterman Visiting Artist, Alex Epstein, and after the film, gave a talk-back to the audience, emceed by our very own Prof. Adam Rovner.
The 1st Annual Colorado Hamantasch-Latke Debate
On February 28th, CJS and Buntport Theater teamed up to attempt to answer the age-old question: "which is better, the hamantash or the latke?" Concerned citizens listened carefully to each side, and in the end, the Latke was named the winner!
Pioneering Holocaust Education
In February, we teamed up with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum to organize a day-long Holocaust Awareness Institute Teacher Training for local middle and high school teachers on the theme 'Using Images to Teach the Holocaust.' We had over 100 teachers in attendance!
Pioneering Hebrew Rebel Poetry
In January 2010, CJS hosted visiting scholar and poet, Dr. Shahar Bram as part of our "Pioneering Jews" lineup. Dr. Bram led us in a series of memorable learning sessions on "Hebrew Rebel Poetry!" including his own original works of poetry inspired by paintings and photographs, as well his translations of the works of Israel Prize winning poet, Tuvia Rübner.
Pioneering Jewish Food
In early December 2009, visiting scholar Dr. Jenna Joselit helped us to celebrate pioneering adventures in Jewish food (from matzoh balls to delis!) by leading us in two separate days of captivating conversation (one at the East Side Kosher Deli, and one at Temple Emanuel).
The plan for a Jewish homeland in Tasmania
Prof. Adam Rovner made his television debut in December 2009 on Australian prime time! While doing research this winter on what almost became a Jewish homeland in Tasmania during WWII, Adam and author Richard Flanagan (who is writing a book on the topic) were interviewed by the ABC's weekly television news magazine. Read the transcript online.
Blazing the Trail: Denver's Jewish Pioneers
In September 2009, CJS's RMJHS and Beck Archives worked with Rose Community Foundation, Allied Jewish Federation, Singer Gallery at MACC at the JCC, Mizel Museum and others to launch Blazing the Trail: Denver's Jewish Pioneers, a rich and interactive exhibit curated by Prof. Jeanne Abrams celebrating the 150th anniversary of Jewish life in Denver. This exhibit will travel, and is currently on display at DU's Penrose Library. Launching the 'Blazing the Trail' exhibit this Fall to a crowd of over 500 people, we worked with the Jewish Genealogical Society of Colorado to host a day of learning with Arthur Kurzweil, "Father of Jewish Genealogy" including his keynote presentation "From Generation to Generation: How to Trace your Jewish Genealogy and Family History."
Bus Tour of Jewish Denver
In August 2009, CJS and RMJHS worked with Rose Community Foundation and E-3 Events to host a Bus Tour of Jewish Denver for local 20-30somethings. With the expert guidance of Prof. Jeanne Abrams, participants learned about everything from the notorious Bugsy Siegel's Denver hangout, to the old Jewish Consumptive Relief Society campus, to Golda Meir's Denver digs!
Holocaust Awareness Education
In June 2009, CJS's HAI proudly hosted 'Belfer Next Steps,' a regional Holocaust educational program run through the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
In June 2009, the Center's Holocaust Awareness Institute proudly honored Paula Burger, local Holocaust Survivor and artist whose willingness to talk about her experiences through the HAI's Speakers' Bureau touches the lives of local middle and high school students in classrooms across the region.
Western /Midwestern Jewish Studies Association Conference
In April of 2009, Prof. Sander Gilman of Emory University gave the keynote address at the Western /Midwestern Jewish Studies Association Conference, held at DU that year. His speech was titled "Why the H*** is That Funny? A New Debate about the Limits of Representation after 9/11 or an Older Question?