Jewish Studies Program Events

Monday, April 22: "Lost and Found: Forgetting and the Formation of Rabbinic Judaism" at 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. in the UC San Diego Faculty Club, Atikinson Pavilion with Professor Mira Balberg

*Wine and refreshments will be served
*Respond to Program Coordinator Andrianna Martinez at if you plan to attend

The UC San Diego Jewish Studies Program, along with the Division of Arts and Humanities and the Department of History, invite you to the inauguration of Professor Mira Balberg as the UC San Diego Endowed Chair in Ancient Jewish Civilization. 

Professor Balberg will present a talk titled “Lost and Found: Forgetting and the Formation of Rabbinic Judaism.” Professor Balberg specializes in ancient Mediterranean Religions, with a focus on the emergence and development of Judaism in antiquity. She is the author of three books: Gateway to Rabbinic Literature (2013), Purity, Body, and Self in Early Rabbinic Literature (2014), and Blood for Thought: The Reinvention of Sacrifice in Early Rabbinic Literature (2017), which won a 2018 Jordan Schnitzer Book Award. She is currently completing new work on aging in ancient Judaism.

Monday, April 8: "Shakespeare's Shylock and the Legend of the Wandering Jew" (PDF) at 5:00 p.m. in the UC San Diego Ida and Cecil Green Faculty Club with Galit Hasan-Rokem

*Refreshments will be served
*Parking permits will be available at the reception desk

The annual Jewish Studies Katzin Lecture Series is held in memory of Jerome and Miriam Katzin; the Katzins were among the most generous and engaged supporters of UC San Diego in the community. The Jewish Studies Program, in particular, benefited from their generosity, along with the School of Medicine and the Rady School of Business.

This talk presents a new reading of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, using historical evidence to put the play in conversation with the legend of the Wandering Jew. 

Friday, March 8: Translation as a Bridge? Ideological Encounters Between Israeli & American Jewish Cultures (PDF) at 11:30 a.m. in the Humanities & Social Sciences Building (HSS) 3027.

The Hebrew translation and reception of literary works by Jewish-American writers, and the English translation of works by Israeli authors,constitute compelling junctures between the two major Jewish culturesof our time. Each culture was confronted in this way with an often competing concept of Jewish identity, and divergent representation of contemporary Jewish existence, which were harbored by the literary imagination of their Jewish Other. This talk explores the ideological appropriation involved in processes of translation and literaryinterpretation in both directions, in order to shed light on the different ways in which each Jewish culture responded to the challenge—and potential inspiration—represented by its counterpart.

Tuesday, February 26: ArtPower Presents: Looking at Dance with Ephrat Asherie (PDF) at 12:30 - 1:50 p.m. in the Green Table Room, Price Center West

*Free for all UC San Diego Students 

Moderated by Theatre and Dance faculty member Liam Clancy, award-winning choreographer and dancer Ephrat Asherie will discuss her diverse dance history and creative process while showing clips from her favorite dance pieces. Learn about what drives Ephrat to create some of the most innovative works in dance by re-envisioning and remixing how hip-hop, breaking, and house styles play a role in contemporary dance. 

Wednesday, February 6: An Evening with Ariel Burger (PDF) at 6 p.m. in the MET Building, Room 143, UC San Diego School of Medicine

RSVP at 

Burger shares lessons from Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, Nobel Peace Prize Recipient, and Teacher. Burger first met Wiesel at the age of 15. In his inspiring book, WITNESS, chronicles the intimate conversations between these two men over decades as they discussed intellect, spirituality, and faith. 

Sunday, January 27: 23rd Annual Lytle Scholarship Concert at 3 p.m. in the UCSD Conrad Prebys Concert Hall – with UCSD alum, Cantor Mark Childs and his son, David Samuel Childs (see their bios here)

*See the program here

Each year since 1996, audiences have attended these annual scholarship concerts to experience a targeted musical program for a targeted purpose on a targeted date, the Sunday before Super Bowl Sunday. Every Lytle Scholarship Concert features a particular composer or idea in programming repertoire. Proceeds from the annual concerts provides scholarships for graduates of Preuss School attending UC San Diego. 

Now in its twenty-first year, Preuss School is a public college prep charter school (grades 6-12, 852 students) on the UCSD campus serving promising youngsters from low income, first-generation families. This award-winning secondary school has served as a model for excellence in urban education for other universities and the nation. Since graduating its first seniors in 2004, 1,600 Preuss School graduates have been accepted with full scholarships into the leading colleges and universities in the country. The proceeds from the annual Lytle Scholarship Concerts provides scholarships to Preuss graduates attending UC San Diego.

The first year was a solo piano concert of music by the Hungarian composer/pianist, Franz Liszt. Soon there followed annual concerts dedicated to the music of Frederic Chopin, Franz Schubert, Ludwig van Beethoven, Miles Davis, Alexander Scriabin, Duke Ellington, and George Gershwin. Other concerts not specific to a particular composer have centered around an “idea” or genre such as music based on mystical musings of George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, Hymns, Tangos, Ragtime, Gospel tunes, Latin Jazz. Last year’s concert was unusual, featuring five great jazz pianists seated at five equally great concert grand pianos performing together in a circle. It is unlikely that you will ever hear or see a concert like that any time soon!  We hope for the same today.

Today, our focus is on the music of an ancient people sustained by a rich intellectual, religious, literary, political and social tradition practiced around the world. The repertoire this afternoon represents just a small slice of the bittersweet music Jews evolved elsewhere- -particularly in Eastern Europe and Russia- -then brought to the United States to imprint on the American consciousness. Some of today’s music is overtly religious in nature; meaning, a music conspicuously borne from Scripture. Other works bear the stamp of regional Jewish ethnic humor and lifestyles in the face of centuries of forced migration and persecution. All of this has left its mark on Western classical music and vernacular American expression.



The Holocaust Living History Workshop Events

Thursday, January 17: When Biology Became Destiny: How Historians Interpret Gender in the Holocaust – with Marion Kaplan

*Online registration will begin Saturday, December 1

Despite the explosive growth of Holocaust studies, scholars of Nazi Germany and the Shoah long neglected gender as an analytical category. The essay collection When Biology Became Destiny: Women in Weimar and Nazi Germany, published in 1984 and edited by Renate Bridenthal, Atina Grossman, and Marion Kaplan, attempted to raise awareness of women’s experiences under fascism. A pioneering work in every sense, the book explored German-Jewish women’s “double jeopardy” as women and as Jews. In this lecture, Kaplan takes the audience on a historical tour of this research, from the first workshops raising questions, to the first publications providing answers. Since then, the gendered perspective has provided significant insight into our understanding of Jewish life in Nazi Germany and during the Holocaust. Kaplan concludes her talk with a forward look at new areas of research that highlight women’s and gender studies. She is the Skirball Professor of Modern Jewish History at NYU and the three-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award for her books The Making of the Jewish Middle Class: Women, Family and Identity in Imperial Germany (Oxford University Press, 1991); Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany (Oxford University Press, 1998); and Gender and Jewish History, co-edited with Deborah Dash Moore (Indiana University Press, 2011). 
Filmed by UCTV

Wednesday, February 6: 49,172: The Rescue of Bulgaria’s Jews – with Atanas Kolev

*Online registration will begin Saturday, December 1

The fate of Bulgarian Jewry during World War II is one of the few uplifting stories associated with the Holocaust. Because of the intervention of a handful of courageous individuals including King Boris III, exarch Stefan, and metropolitan Kiril, Bulgaria’s Jewish minority escaped extermination on the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators. In this documentary a team of US-based Bulgarian filmmakers combines the perspective of the 49,172 men, women, and children whose life was imperiled by the threat of deportation and death and the people who refused to submit to the genocidal agenda of the Axis powers. Drawing on private and public archives in the US, Israel, and Bulgaria, the film depicts a mosaic of faces and stories woven together by the courage and resourcefulness of individuals in both powerful and powerless positions. The screening will be followed by a conversation with producer Atanas Kolev

Wednesday, February 27: Defiance and Protest: Forgotten Acts of Individual Jewish Resistance in Nazi Germany – with Wolf Gruner

*Online registration will begin TBA

It is a common misconception that Jews submitted passively to Nazi persecution. In reality, a significant number of German Jews defied anti-Jewish laws, restrictions, and violence on the local and national level, some even going as far as to protest in public. In this talk Wolf Gruner challenges the simplistic assumption of Jewish inaction in the face of ever worsening discrimination and oppression. Drawing on various new sources such as the logbooks of Berlin police precincts, trial materials from various German cities, as well as video testimonies held in the Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive, he demonstrates the prevalence of individual acts of resistance by German Jews from 1933 to 1945. Gruner is the Shapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies and Professor of History at USC and the director of the Center for Advanced Genocide Research. His many publications include Jewish Forced Labor under the Nazis: Economic Needs and Racial Aims (Cambridge University Press) and Die Judenverfolgung im Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren. Lokale Initiativen, zentrale Entscheidungen, jüdische Antworten 1939-1945, the winner of the Sybil Halpern Milton Memorial Book Prize of the German Studies Association 2017.

Wednesday, April 10: The Holocaust and the Human Rights Revolution: The Problem of Genocide Recognition Since the 1940s – with Dirk Moses

*Online registration will begin Friday, February 1

The suite of international conventions and declarations about genocide, human rights, and refugees after the Second War is known as the “human rights revolution.” It is regarded widely as humanizing international affairs by implementing the lessons of the Holocaust. In this presentation, Dirk Moses questions this rosy picture by investigating how persecuted peoples have invoked the Holocaust and made analogies with Jews to gain recognition as genocide victims. Such attempts rarely succeed and have been roundly condemned as cheapening the Holocaust memory, but how and why does genocide recognition require groups to draw such comparisons? Does the human rights revolution and image of the Holocaust as the paradigmatic genocide humanize postwar international affairs as commonly supposed? Dirk Moses is Professor of Modern History at the University of Sydney. Between 2011 and 2016, he held the Chair of Global and Colonial History at the European University Institute, Florence. His prizewinning book, German Intellectuals and the Nazi Past (2007) examined how West German intellectuals related the national disastrous to the construction of republican democracy. Moses has also written extensively about genocide, memory, and global history. Recent anthologies include Colonial Counterinsurgency and Mass Violence: The Dutch Empire in Indonesia (2014), Postcolonial Conflict and the Question of Genocide: The Nigeria-Biafra War, 1967–1970 (2018), and The Holocaust in Greece(2018). He is senior editor of the Journal of Genocide Research. This event will be held in the Atkinson Hall Auditorium beginning with a reception at 4:30 p.m. and lecture to follow at 5:30 p.m.
Filmed by UCTV

Wednesday, May 8: I am Lubo: A Hidden Life – with Louis Pechi

*Online registration will begin Monday, April 1

Louis “Lubo” Pechi was born in the Croatian city of Zagreb. He was seven years old when the Germans invaded Yugoslavia. In response to the mounting anti-Semitic repression and strict laws prohibiting Jews from traveling, the Pechis converted to Catholicism so that they could escape to safety in Italy. The move marked a lengthy process of hiding: Lubo had to change his name, religion, and identity. The Pechi family finally managed to escape and make their way to Rome. Decades later, Lubo began the arduous process of recovering the memories of his hidden life by writing his memoir I am Lubo: A Child Survivor from Yugoslavia.

Wednesday, June 5: Nazi Perpetrators: Ordinary Men or Hitler’s Minions? – with Christopher Browning

*Online registration will begin Monday, April 1

Sponsored by Judi Gottschalk

Every once in a while a book comes along that changes the way we think about major issues. More than 25 years ago, the publication of Christopher Browning’s Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland did just that. Meticulously researched and eloquently argued, Ordinary Men asserted that the men who helped commit genocide during World War II were neither fanatical ideologues nor bloodthirsty beasts but simply ordinary men operating within the context of a vicious race war. These findings which draw on insights from social psychology transcend the merely historical and carry disturbing implications for human beings everywhere. In this talk Browning revisits his path-breaking book and discusses the evolution of perpetrator studies up to the present. Professor emeritus at UNC Chapel Hill and an internationally recognized authority on Nazi policy and decision-making, Browning is the author of major studies including Nazi policy, Jewish workers, German killers (Cambridge University Press, 2000): Collected memories : Holocaust History and Postwar Testimony(University of Wisconsin Press, 2003); The Origins of the Final Solution : The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939 – March 1942 (University of Nebraska Press, 2004); and Remembering Survival: Inside a Nazi Slave-Labor Camp ( W.W. Norton & Co., 2010), winner of the Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research.
Filmed by UCTV


Program Coordinator

Andrianna Martinez
Humanities and Social Sciences Building, Room 1105
Phone: 858-534-4551

Walk-in Advising:
10:00-11:00 AM and 2:00-3:00 PM
and by appointment

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