Events by location: Center for Jewish History

einstein-violin

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Albert Einstein is known to have said that “life without playing music is inconceivable…I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music…I get most joy in life out of music.” As part of its exploration of Gravity 350, the Chelsea Music Festival presents a program at the Leo Baeck Institute celebrating Einstein’s contributions to science as well as his lifelong love for his violin and chamber music.

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In this Book Talk, Peter Schrag, author of When Europe Was a Prison Camp, will appear in conversation with Marion Kaplan.

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In the late 1930s, Phi Epsilon Pi, a Jewish collegiate fraternity, undertook an expansive national effort to bring over dozens of Central European Jewish refugees who were previously expelled from universities due to the rise of Nazism. Shira Kohn, CJH Taube/Koret Early Career Scholar Fellow, will present new research.

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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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As German Jews struggled for legal emancipation, they also embarked on a program of cultural renewal, distancing themselves from their fellow Ashkenazim in Poland and giving a special place to the Sephardim of medieval Spain. In an elegantly written new book, John M. Efron (UC Berkeley) explains how German Jews idealized the Sephardim as worldly, morally and intellectually superior, and beautiful, products of the tolerant Muslim environment in which they lived.

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Johann Reuchlin (1455-1522) Augenspiegel Tübingen,  1511.   This small volume contains the famous defense against the attacks of the anti-Jewish agitator Johann Pfefferkorn.

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One of the earliest controversies in Jewish-Christian relations was the 16th-century debate over whether Jews should be allowed to publish books on Jewish theology. Elisheva Carlebach (Columbia University) will speak about Johann Reuchlin, a humanist German scholar who defended Jewish publishing, at the opening of an exhibition of books related to the controversy.

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Pre-war Jewish life in Hungary from the late 19th through the early 20th centuries was astonishingly diverse in language, religious practice, and lifestyle. Join us for a fascinating evening as scholars of social history delve deeply into the thriving daily lives of these Hungarian, Yiddish, and German-speaking Jews along with author Andras Koerner.

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Phoenix Chamber Ensemble performing Haydn’s Trio in E H:XV:28, the second Mozart Quartet in E flat, a Beethoven violin-piano sonata and more.

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Wertheimer, Stef. The Habit of Labor: Lessons from a Life of Struggle and Success. New York: Overlook Press, 2015.

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German-born industrialist Stef Wertheimer discusses his exceptional new biography, “The Habit of Labor” (Overlook Press, 2015) with Jane Eisner, Editor-in-Chief of the Forward.

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