Events by location: Center for Jewish History

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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George Salter (1897-1967) was one of the most prolific and influential book designers of the 20th century whose distinguished career included works for all the major publishing houses in both the United States and Germany.

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Dr. Yael Sela-Teichler discusses the 1791 edition of Moses Mendelssohn’s German translation of Psalms, The Book of the Songs of Israel, exploring maskilic renderings of the music of the Hebrews that reclaim biblical poetry as Jewish musical heritage and challenge traditional notions of exile.

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Join us for a talk by NEH Senior Scholar Naomi Seidman exploring the role played by Yiddish and other Jewish languages in Freud’s writing, from the Yiddish of his parents “behind” his Viennese German to the translations and adaptations of his work in Eastern Europe.

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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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Supported by more than two hundred photographs, the second volume of Andras Koerner’s history, “How They Lived – The Everyday Lives of Hungarian Jews, 1867-1940” shows how the diverse groups of Hungarian Jews lived their everyday lives—how they raised their children, spent their leisure time, practiced their religion, performed their charity work, and more.

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The dream of refuge from antisemitism, freedom from the arbitrary dictates of despots, and a place for Jewish religion and culture to flourish gained in popularity in the context of 19th-century discrimination against Jews. Yet some of the most potent and enduring expressions of the Zionist vision emanated from assimilated Jews in cities like Vienna and Berlin, where Jews enjoyed unprecedented rights and prosperity in this period.

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In the new history, We’ll Always Have Casablanca, film historian Noah Isenberg gives a rich account of this beloved movie’s origins. Through extensive research and interviews with filmmakers, film critics, family members of the cast and crew, and diehard fans, Isenberg reveals the myths and realities behind Casablanca’s production, focusing in particular on the central role of refugees—nearly all the actors were immigrants from Hitler’s Europe.

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Join us for an evening of musical performance exploring the history of Jewish Austrian émigrés who transplanted the music of Viennese cafes to New York City. Esther Wratschko (Prins Foundation Fellow at the Center for Jewish History) will share her discoveries in the archives.

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