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Center for Judaic Studies

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Center for Judaic Studies

Advancing knowledge of Jewish history, thought and culture through learning, intercultural dialogue, and social action.


Directors of Jewish/Judaic Studies' Joint Statement on Immigration Ban:

In early May 1939, the United States government refused to admit the roughly 900 Jewish refugees on board the SS St. Louis then circling off the coast of Florida. The ship was forced to return to Europe, and while some passengers found refuge in other countries, many died in the Holocaust.

In our roles as the Directors of two regional hubs for the academic study of Jewish life and culture, we are committed to speaking out when history threatens to repeat itself as we believe it does with the January 2017 US ban on refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries. We urge our country not to let the lessons of Jewish history go unheeded—a point emphasized by the fact that the refugee ban was issued on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

-Nan Goodman, Director, Program in Jewish Studies, CU (Boulder, CO)
-Sarah Pessin, Director, Center for Judaic Studies, DU (Denver, CO)

For links to immigrants' rights, information about 'sanctuary campus' initiatives across the country, and related information, visit our campus' Constitution Campus Information Clearinghouse and diversity resource page. Please also read our Chancellor's statement about DU upholding our values in light of the ban.

CJS co-sponsors an important DU response event, Tuesday 1.31.17 @ 12:00-1:30pm in Driscoll Ballroom. Click for more information & links.

On Friday, Jan. 27, President Donald Trump issued a new executive order that bars citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries – Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen – from entering the United States, even if they hold a second citizenship in any third country. He announced that more countries may be added to the list. The executive order also suspends US refugee arrivals for at least four months, bans Syrian refugees, and will likely prioritize Christian refugees if and when the suspension is listed. Finally, the executive order calls for new, "extreme vetting" of immigrants. What does this mean for members of the DU community? What can students, staff, and faculty do to respond to this new situation?

The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, Center for Middle East Studies, Office of International Student Services, Office of Internationalization, the Department of Religious Studies, the Department of Political Science, the Center for Judaic Studies, the Office of human Resources, the Constitutional Campus Working Group (Sturm College of Law), the Social Justice Living & Learning Community, the Latin America Center (Korbel), and the International Student Admission Office, along with other departments and offices around campus, invite members of the DU community to join us on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 12-1:30pm in the Driscoll Gallery for a response event. Faculty and staff will offer brief comments to provide information, explain resources, and frame the discussion, and the floor will be opened for discussion.

For links to immigrants' rights, information about 'sanctuary campus' initiatives across the country, and related information, visit our campus' Constitution Campus Information Clearinghouse .

About cjs

The Center for Judaic Studies (CJS) is a vibrant source of in-depth Jewish learning on campus and across Colorado.

Our faculty are research and teaching experts in a wide range of interdisciplinary areas of Judaic Studies. Their work is internationally recognized, and they offer an impressive annual lineup of undergraduate and graduate courses in fields of Jewish history, religion, language, literature, philosophy, film, and culture.

In addition to being home to our own faculty experts , CJS hosts annual visiting scholars, performing artists, authors, poets and filmmakers from around the world.

We offer a minor in Judaic Studies, and a number of joint MA and PhD degrees with programs across campus. We are home to the Holocaust Awareness Institute , the Holocaust Memorial Social Action Site and The Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society . We also serve the broader community through many annual events and co-sponsored activities across Colorado.



2-Events with Dr. Sara Lipton (Stony Brook University)! Lecture + Panel Discussion (March 2)

Panel Discussion with Dr. Sara Lipton, "Art, Stereotyping & the Politics of Hate: Historical Lessons on Prejudice in the Civic Square" (March 2)

Dr. Lipton's op-ed piece from the New York Times - website

Dr. Lipton's op-ed piece from the New York Times - PDF

Call for Applications: Dr. Irwin E. Vinnik Fellowship for Advanced Study in Israel DEADLINE: MARCH 15, 2017

New Spring Course: "Creation & Humanity" with Dr. Amy Balogh

Spring Course: "Philosophy of Religion" with Dr. Sarah Pessin

Ongoing Projects:

Check the Interfaith Calendar: A How-To

DU Words of Healing Nomination Form (Ongoing); click here for more information.

Self-Guided Walking Tour of CJS, HAI & RMJHS Exhibits & Spaces

Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the American Jewish Experience (call for support) 

[For more information on these and other events, see our full calendar.]


 CJS honoring the memory of Sandy Vinnik...(read more)

 Click on the text to read more about CJS events and happenings! 

Sephardic Cook-In Students
CJS launches a series of intercultural, graduate student cook-ins, beginning with Sephardic food and culture!

On Thursday evening, September 29, CJS hosted the first ever DU Graduate Student Intercultural Cook-In in partnership with DU's Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management, and it was a huge success!

For the pilot version of this new series of cook-ins, graduate students from across campus gathered to cook authentic Sephardic Jewish dishes, which were then served at the Evening of Sephardic Food & Culture, a feast open to the entire DU community. All food was prepared under the supervision of Chef Tim Downs, in DU's very own teaching kitchen, before the students transitioned into an evening filled with good food, good company, and, of course, good coloring and play-dough shaping!

For fantastic photos of the entire evening, check out our Facebook page by clicking here (and a big "thank you" to Patricia Guerra of CJS for taking such great shots)!






New CJS Statement on Diversity, Inclusion, and Inclusive Excellence at the Center for Judaic Studies!

In preparation for our upcoming CJS Diversity Initiative, Dr. Sarah Pessin (Director) and Dr. Amy Balogh (Program Manager) have drafted the CJS Statement on Diversity, Inclusion, and Inclusive Excellence at the Center for Judaic Studies.

Read this exciting new statement by clicking here; for more information on our upcoming CJS Diversity Initiative, check the special-edition of our e-newsletter coming mid-September!

Not subscribed? Email us at to be added to our e-list!




Judy Winnick as Alice Herz-Sommer

The 14th Annual Fred Marcus Memorial Holocaust Lecture marks the lecture's first ever sold-out event!

On Nov. 6, 2016, local educator and performer Judy Winnick performed "Music & Hope: The Life of Alice Herz-Sommer," an original one-woman, one-act play, for the Marcus Lecture's first-ever sold-out crowd. The event was held in partnership with the JAAMM Festival at the Mizel Arts and Cultures Center (MACC) at the JCC.

This year, the Marcus Lecture was attended by students from across the Front Range, including the University of Denver, Metro State University, Regis University, Front Range Community College, Community College of Aurora, and Mullen High School.

Thank you to Judy Winnick for an outstanding and thought-provoking performance, as well as all of the CJS staff and community members who helped make this event such a success.

For photos of the 2016 Marcus Lecture, please click here.






Professor Jonathan Sciarcon (CJS & History) writes op-ed for Denver Post on the current state of US-Israel Relations

CJS is proud to announce that Prof. Jonathan Sciarcon's op-ed The Erosion of Bipartisan Support For Israel was published in the Denver Post on Saturday, Feb.18, 2017 and featured in the DU Newsroom on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

To read more about Prof. Sciarcon and his work at CJS, please click here.

Congratulations to Prof. Sciarcon!





 Sciarcon, Educational Oases in the Desert
Dr. Jonathan Sciarcon's forthcoming book is officially announced!

Congratulations to Dr. Jonathan Sciarcon, Assistant Professor of Jewish History, on the acceptance of his manuscript for publication at SUNY Press! 

Educational Oases in the Desert: The Alliance Israelite Universelle's Girls' Schools in Ottoman Iraq, 1895-1915 is due out in 2017. More information will be added to the publisher's webpage and the CJS webpage in the coming months.

In the meantime, please join us in celebrating this milestone event!



Click here for upcoming CJS events!

Click here for past CJS events!

PAT Video Conference

Philosophy in the Abrahamic Traditions Conference, July 8-10, 2015