Video of Past Events

In her new book, Kerry Wallach examines the politics of Jewish identity in Weimar Germany and the ways in which Jews concealed or revealed their identities. With moderator Noah Isenberg (The New School) she will explore facets of Jewish visibility reflected in the new German television series, Babylon Berlin.

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A new website and exhibition explore the dramatic events of 1938 from the perspectives of ordinary people. This opening reception will feature Marsha L. Rozenblit, Harvey M. Meyerhoff Professor of Modern Jewish History at the University of Maryland.

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In the 59th Leo Baeck Memorial Lecture lecture, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen will synthesize the themes of LBI’s fall series into a broader narrative about the disruptions and discontents of modernity, the fragility of democracy, and the twin crises of conflict and migration.

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The 2016 film Germans & Jews explores the country’s transformation from silence about the Holocaust to facing it head on. Post-film discussion with Steven Sokol (American Council on Germany), Rabbi Sonja Keren Pilz (Hebrew Union College), and attorney Steve Zehden (Noerr LLP).

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Nearly a century ago in Weimar Germany, a group of physicians and psychologists around Magnus Hirschfeld, many of them Jewish, fought to end the criminalization of homosexuality in Germany with arguments based on a study of human sexuality that was empirical and descriptive rather than normative. Legendary author and educator Ruth Westheimer joins historians Atina Grossmann and Robert Beachy to explore the legacy of German-Jewish gay rights and sex reform pioneers.

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How compatible are faith and reason, religious and civic loyalty, religious commitment and cosmopolitanism? These were the questions that shaped the Enlightenment philosopher Moses Mendelssohn’s biography and occupied his mind. Abraham Socher (Oberlin/Editor, Jewish Review of Books), David Sorkin (Yale), and Michah Gottlieb (NYU) discuss how Mendelssohn’s answers still resonate today.

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Historian Michael Brenner imagines a world in which Walther Rathenau survived to save the republic in the new book What Ifs of Jewish History. He joins the book’s editor, Gavriel Rosenfeld, to discuss what factors and which actors contributed to the disintegration of a fragile pluralism in the 1920s, and what that means for today’s world.

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In a post-election essay for the New Yorker, the critic Alex Ross wrote that the “combination of economic inequality and pop-cultural frivolity” in current American life were precisely the fertile ground for an American catastrophe that the Jewish intellectuals of the Frankfurt School anticipated in their studies of antisemitism, mass culture, and the “authoritarian personality”. Jack Jacobs (CUNY), Jonathon Catlin (Princeton), and Liliane Weissberg (Penn) discuss how the Frankfurt School’s analysis of antisemitism in particular sheds light on the racism undergirding contemporary right-wing populist movements

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A 2013 Pew study alarmed some by showing rising intermarriage, falling birthrates, and dwindling religious affiliation among the non-Orthodox. Samuel Norich, (The Forward), moderates a discussion with Steven Cohen (Hebrew Union College) and Robin Judd (Ohio State University) about the parallels and contrasts between the situations of German Jews a century ago and American Jews today.

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Through a close reading of key paintings and by a discussion of his many cultural networks across Germany and throughout Europe, this new study by Marion Deshmukh illuminates the painter Max Liebermann’s importance as a pioneer of German modernism.

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In his early works, Luther discouraged mistreatment of the Jews and advocated their conversion by proving that the Old Testament could be shown to speak of Jesus Christ. As the Reformation continued, Luther lost hope in large-scale Jewish conversion to Christianity and grew more and more hostile toward the Jews.

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Susannah Heschel will investigate how Abraham Geiger’s and Heinrich Graetz’s accounts of the origins of Christianity and Islam helped forge the cultural climate for German Jews. Through their pioneering studies, they sought not simply an assimilation into German culture and the German academic community for Jews, but something much more radical: a reconfiguration of the map of Western civilization.

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Refugee, smuggler, resistant, intellectual. Even before the age of 21, Professor Justus Rosenberg had lived many lives. Sarah Wildman—author of a major profile of Professor Rosenberg for the New York Times and the celebrated memoir “Paper Love”—will speak to Rosenberg about his life and work.

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Economic historian Harold James (Princeton) will talk about the methods and aftermath of the Nazi expropriation of Jews at a reception for the opening of an exhibition that traces the emblematic stories of five Jewish families in Berlin’s historic center.

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Burning Words is a dramatization of the head-on collision between the humanist scholar Reuchlin and Pfefferkorn, a willing tool of the Dominican Order in their campaign against the Jews. Reuchlin accuses Pfefferkorn of betraying his people. Pfefferkorn accuses Reuchlin of selling his soul for a fistful of silver shekels. While it is a history play, Burning Words has a clear resonance with contemporary issues of a changing media landscape, censorship, fundamentalism, and tolerance.

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