Join us for another episode of Exclusive Authors Series where Anne Albert discusses her book “Jewish Politics in Spinoza’s Amsterdam.”
About the Book
This book untangles a web of ideas about politics, religion, exile, and community that emerged at a key moment in Jewish history and left a lasting mark on Jewish ideas. In the shadow of their former member Baruch Spinoza’s notoriety, and amid the aftermath of the Sabbatian messianic movement, the Spanish and Portuguese Jews of seventeenth-century Amsterdam underwent a conceptual shift that led them to treat their self-governed diaspora community as a commonwealth. Preoccupied by the question of why and how Jews should rule themselves in the absence of a biblical or messianic sovereign state or king, they forged a creative synthesis of insights from early modern Christian politics and Jewish law and traditions to assess and argue over their formidable communal government. In so doing they shaped a proud new theopolitical self-understanding of their community as analogous to a Christian state.
About the Author
Anne Oravetz Albert is the Klatt Family Director for Public Programs at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
Click here for more about the book.
Ticket Info: Free; RSVP required
"All I owned was my camera, leopard coat, rifle and a grenade in case I’m captured...the pillow was the rifle, the walls were the trees and the sky was the roof,” says Faye Schulman, one of over 25,000 Jewish Partisans, who organized and fought back against the better-trained and better-equipped Nazis and their collaborators from deep within the forests of WWII’s Eastern Europe, Ukraine and Belarus. Against extraordinary odds, these men and women, many barely in their teens, escaped Nazi slaughter – transforming from young innocents raised in closely knit families to courageous resistance fighters. They banded together in partisan brigades; engaging in treacherous acts of sabotage, blowing up trains, burning electric stations, and attacking armed enemy headquarters.
Through first-person interviews, Four Wintersuncovers secrets held for lifetimes, revealing a narrative of heroism, loss, enduring hope, grit, courage and deep humanity. Join YIVO for a screening of this award-winning documentary followed by a Q&A with the Filmmaker Julia Mintz: Director/Writer/Producer of Four Winters.
Four Winters was awarded a grant from Steven Spielberg’s Jewish Story Partners fund; received the “Human Rights Award” at Hamptons Doc Fest; and was named “Best Documentary” at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival; and the “”Audience Award” at Australia's International Jewish Film Festival.
About the Speaker
Julia Mintz is a writer, producer and director whose work focuses on narratives of bravery and resistance against unimaginable odds. She has been on the producing team for films that have been shortlisted for the Academy Awards, have premiered at Cannes, Sundance and TriBeCa, and won Emmy, Peabody and festival awards. Her films can be seen on HBO, PBS, American Masters, NETFLIX and Amazon. Recent projects include Mr. SOUL! which premiered at TriBeCa and was short-listed for an Academy Award®. She co-produced Joe Papp in Five Acts and post-produced Get Me Roger Stone, produced California State of Mind, and post-produced Soundtrack for a Revolution Nanking, Love Free or Die: Story of Bishop Gene Robinson. Additional projects include Muscle Shoals, Bing Crosby Rediscovered; Life and Times of Frida Kahlo, and Cyndi Lauper: Still So Unusual. Julia has also produced programming for Discovery, NASA, National Geographic, NHK and SONY.
Ticket Info: $10, YIVO members: $8; register at yivo.org/Four-Winters
Join us to experience a captivating program about the Civil War from a Jewish perspective that is designed to educate and entertain. Bruce Form and Mira Form are Civil War historians, re-enactors and living historians. Their many years of researching Jewish Civil War veterans and the Jewish community during the Civil War led them to discover two Philadelphians involved in that war: Myer J. Asch, Captain of the 1st New Jersey Cavalry, and Miss Rebecca Moss, Secretary of the Ladies Hebrew Association for the Relief of Sick and Wounded Soldiers. The Forms, who dress in period attire, bring their characters to life using projected images of people and documents from the time of the Civil War, as well as a living history display of original artifacts and reproductions of the period.
About the Speakers
Bruce and Mira Form have spoken on Jews in the Civil War to numerous Jewish organizations throughout the country, including the Gomez Mill House Foundation, Hadassah groups, Women’s American ORT, the Jewish War Veterans, a variety of congregations, as well as in public and private schools. They have also been well received by many Civil War groups throughout New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Bruce received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Athens State University in Alabama and a Master of Arts degree in Behavioral Science from Kean University in New Jersey. His article, "Captain Myer Asch, 1st New Jersey Cavalry and the Quest for His Grave," appeared in the Summer 2022 issue of Dorot, the Journal of the Jewish Genealogical Society. Mira graduated cum laude from New York University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Russian Studies and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Both Bruce and Mira are charter members of Officers for the Union and Ladies for the Union, an elite living history organization, based in Gettysburg, PA, where they now reside.
In person: $5 general admission at the door; free for JGS members; RSVP required for non-JGS members at email@example.com
Zoom: Non-JGS members can register and pay $5 here. You will receive a Zoom link before the meeting date.
A Dying Person (A Goyses) is inspired by Sh. An-sky, the ethnographer and author of The Dybbuk, who prepared a questionnaire of 2,087 detailed questions in the hopes of compiling a comprehensive record of Jewish life in Eastern Europe; however, the questions remained unanswered due to the onset of World War I. The opera engages the continuous—and legitimate—anxiety regarding the loss of Jewish civilization, even before the Holocaust, and ethnography, interviewing, testimony, and oral history as ways of addressing this fear. The libretto also contains elements of interviews done by the composer with his wife’s grandfather, a musician from a family of klezmers who was born in the Pale of Settlement in 1916 and lived there during his childhood.
The plot of the opera is simple: a middle-aged researcher interviews an older woman on her deathbed. In traditional Ashkenazic Jewish culture the person on their deathbed, between two worlds, has a distinct status (a goyses) and A Dying Person (A Goyses) wrestles with the idea that Jewish culture may itself be in a perpetual sort of goyses state, always seemingly on the verge of loss and annihilation, but never crossing over to the other side.
The ensemble for A Dying Person (A Goyses) is seven players, the instrumentation reminiscent of dance band and klezmer configurations at the beginning of the twentieth century. Together with the three singers, the group satisfies the minimum number of ten adults required for Jewish communal prayer.
Join us for a concert premiere of A Dying Person (A Goyses), a new chamber opera by Evan Rapport and Daniel London.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.
About the Artists
Evan Rapport is Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at The New School, saxophonist, and composer. He is the author of Greeted with Smiles: Bukharian Jewish Music and Musicians in New York (Oxford University Press, 2014) and Damaged: Musicality and Race in Early American Punk(University Press of Mississippi, 2020). He is currently working on a book about soprano saxophonist and composer Steve Lacy, and collaborating with Daniel London on two more chamber operas about Jewish life and death, with A Dying Person (A Goyses) as the first of the trilogy.
Daniel London is an actor and screenwriter from Pittsburgh, now living in New Jersey. His acting credits include the films Minority Report, Old Joy, and Synecdoche, New York, and he has appeared in productions with the Atlantic Theater Company, Roundabout Theatre Company, and Vineyard Theater. He is currently developing his screenplay Missing in Your Area with the production company 2AM. This is his first libretto.
Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/A-Goyses
Annexed Austria led the way in the violent and systematic plunder of property owned by Jews. Adolf Eichmann developed a method of administrative pillage of Jewish property, later to be implemented in other Nazi-occupied countries. After the war, Karl Renner, the first president of the reconstituted state, set the tone when he explained that compensation of "every little Jewish merchant or peddler for his loss was inconceivable." Minister of Finance, Reinhard Kamitz, added that any kind of restitution was out of the question, because Austria did not cause any damage. Survivors who reclaimed their property encountered restitution laws that discriminated against Jews and administrators who favored former perpetrators over victims.
Rachel Blumenthal of the Research Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University and LBI Gerald Westheimer Career Development fellow will discuss her research into the Austrian model of postwar restitution with Elizabeth Anthony, Director of Visiting Scholar Programs at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in our program.
If you would like to attend this program virtually, please select the "Virtual Admission" option when reserving tickets on Eventbrite.
About the Speakers
Rachel Blumenthal is a fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Jewry in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She was awarded a Ph.D. degree by the Hebrew University for her thesis on "The Claims Conference, the State of Israel and the Diaspora: 1951-1964." She is also a lawyer and has a second degree (magna cum laude) from Tel Aviv University. In August 2021, Lexington Books published her book, Right to Reparations: The Claims Conference and Holocaust Survivors, 1951-1964. Her second book is a collection of articles that she edited together with Daniel Herskowitz and Kerstin Mayerhofer entitled Constructing and Experiencing Jewish Identity and published by Brill in October 2022. It includes an article by Rachel on Holocaust survivors and Jewish identity in postwar Austria. She is now researching the topic of Austrian restitution and compensation for former Jewish citizens and residents. In 2022, the Leo Baeck Institute in New York awarded her the George Westheimer fellowship for her project on the Austrian model of restorative justice.
Elizabeth Anthony is the Director of Visiting Scholar Programs at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies. Her book, The Compromise of Return: Viennese Jews after the Holocaust, was published by Wayne State University Press in 2021 and was a commended finalist for the Wiener Holocaust Library’s Ernst Fraenkel Book Prize. Anthony was co-editor of and a contributor to Freilegungen: Spiegelungen der NS-Verfolgung und ihrer Konsequenzen, Jahrbuch des International Tracing Service, the 2015 Yearbook of the International Tracing Service. She also has published chapters in Lessons and Legacies Volume XII (2017); The Future of Holocaust Memorialization: Confronting Racism, Antisemitism, and Homophobia through Memory Work (2015); and the Nürnberger Institut für NS-Forschung und jüdische Geschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts Jahrbuch 2010. Anthony received a PhD in history at Clark University in 2016 and also holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Maryland. Among a number of fellowship awards, Anthony was the recipient of a Fulbright research grant (Austria) and a Mandel Center research fellowship.
Ticket Info: Free; register at lbi.org/events/aryanization-and-restitution-of-jewish-property-in-austria/
Max Weinreich spent the entirety of his adult life building YIVO and the field of Yiddish Studies. A 'convert' to the cause of Yiddishism in his adolescence, he pursued a doctorate in German philology in Weimar Germany with the explicit goal of returning to Eastern Europe to contribute to the project of building a modern, secular Yiddish culture. His study visits to Yale University and Vienna in the early 1930s proved transformational in broadening and revising his understanding of the role of the social sciences in Jewish life as a tool for strengthening Jews' psychological and material resources. The destruction of the traditional Yiddish heartland in Eastern Europe and his experiences leading YIVO in post-WWII New York City added yet another dimension to Weinreich's conception of the importance of both Yiddish and Jewish Studies for the future of American and world Jewry. Would Max Weinreich recognize Yiddish studies today?
Moderated by Kalman Weiser and featuring Naomi Seidman, Kenneth Moss, and Jeffrey Shandler, this panel will examine Weinreich's evolving understanding of the meaning of Yidishe visnshaft (Yiddish studies) and the role of Yiddish in Jewish life throughout his career.
Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/Max-Weinreich
While New York's strict vital records laws can stymie genealogy researchers, there are several more obscure record types you can use to find your ancestors in the city. In this lecture, Alec Ferretti, professional genealogist at the Wells Fargo Family & Business History Center, will provide an overview of some NYC historical record sets that are often overlooked by genealogists, such as licensing records, voter registrations, and education records.
Ticket Info: Pay what you wish; register here for a Zoom link
We invite you to a virtual tour of an exhibit currently on display at MEIS – the National Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah.
Curated by Andrea Morpurgo and Amedeo Spagnoletto, this exhibit offers an innovative in-depth approach focusing on the architecture, rituals, and the roles played by both synagogues and Jewish cemeteries in the Jewish community. Visitors will explore the specifically Italian nature of these two places, while understanding the over two thousand years of history of the country’s Jewish community.
The history of cities and of human beings intertwine in the exhibit, through their original architecture, artifacts that are passed down in and between families, and are on display. Among these are prestigious loans such as the Aron ha-Qodesh, the holy Ark, of the Vercelli Jewish Community and many precious documents from both State Archives and Italian Jewish Communities.
About the Curators
Andrea Morpurgo is an architect and architectural historian. He graduated from the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia, then moved to the Netherlands where he earned a Master of Excellence in Architecture at the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam and later a PhD in History of Architecture and Urban Planning at the Polytechnic of Turin. He is author of the book “The Jewish Cemetery in Italy: History and architecture of an identity space” (Quodlibet), professor of the “Synagogal Architecture” course of the three-year University Diploma in Jewish Studies promoted by the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, and member of the board of the “Foundation for Jewish Cultural Heritage in Italy”.
Amedeo Spagnoletto is the Director of the National Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah. He is also a sofer, a Jewish ritual scribe. From 2017 until 2019 he was Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Community of Florence. From 2011 until 2019 he was teacher of Jewish Law Principles, Exegesis and Bible, in the Jewish Studies Degree of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities.
Ticket Info: Free; RSVP required
The Center for Jewish History and the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) are pleased to partner in this event, a panel discussion of the materials created by Jewish and Chinese detainees as they waited for entry into the United States. MOCA will be bringing some items from their Golden Venture Paper Sculptures collection to be viewed during a dessert reception to follow the discussion.
Speakers include Claire R. Thomas (Professor of Law and Director of the Asylum Clinic at New York Law School), Ernie Collette (Supervising Attorney in Mobilization for Justice's Immigration Law Project), Roslyn Bernstein (Professor Emerita, Baruch College, CUNY and Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), and Ayelet Brinn (Philip D. Feltman Assistant Professor of Modern Jewish History, University of Hartford). The discussion will be moderated by Andrew Rebetta, curator of MOCA's 2017 special exhibition FOLD: Golden Venture Paper Sculptures.
This program is supported by a Digitizing Hidden Collections grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), a grant program made possible by funding from the Mellon Foundation, as well as well as by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
In person: $10 general; $5 seniors, students, CJH/MOCA members
Zoom: Pay what you wish
Martin Heidegger’s sympathies for the conservative revolution and National Socialism have long been well known. As the rector of the University of Freiburg in the early 1930s, he worked hard to reshape the university in accordance with National Socialist policies. He also engaged in an all-out struggle to become the movement’s philosophical preceptor, “to lead the leader.” Yet for years, Heidegger’s defenders have tried to separate his political beliefs from his philosophical doctrines. They argued, in effect, that he was good at philosophy but bad at politics. But with the 2014 publication of Heidegger’s Black Notebooks, it has become clear that he embraced a far more radical vision of the conservative revolution than previously suspected. His dissatisfaction with National Socialism, it turns out, was mainly that it did not go far enough. The notebooks show that far from being separated from Nazism, Heidegger’s philosophy was suffused with it.
In Heidegger in Ruins: Between Philosophy and Ideology, Richard Wolin explores what the notebooks mean for our understanding of arguably the most important philosopher of the twentieth century, and of his ideas—and why his legacy remains radically compromised. Join YIVO for a discussion with Wolin about this book led by YIVO's Executive Director Jonathan Brent.
About the Speakers
Richard Wolin is distinguished professor of history, political science, and comparative literature at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is the author of Heidegger’s Children: Hannah Arendt, Karl Löwith, Hans Jonas, and Herbert Marcuseand The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism from Nietzsche to Postmodernism.
Jonathan Brent is the Executive Director of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York City. From 1991 to 2009 he was Editorial Director and Associate Director of Yale Press. He is the founder of the world acclaimed Annals of Communism series, which he established at Yale Press in 1991. Brent is the co-author of Stalin’s Last Crime: The Plot Against the Jewish Doctors, 1948-1953(Harper-Collins, 2003) and Inside the Stalin Archives(Atlas Books, 2008). He is now working on a biography of the Soviet-Jewish writer Isaac Babel. Brent teaches history and literature at Bard College.
Ticket Info: Free; register at yivo.org/Heidegger