Past Events

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This is the NY Premiere Screening of the film Cuba’s Forgotten Jewels. It was born of the tales Marion Kreith told her daughter, co-director Judy Kreith. Marion escaped war-torn Europe as a young girl with her family, evading Nazi capture and crossing the Atlantic to a tropical paradise. In this film, her story mingles with the personal accounts of other refugees who recall their escape to Havana and the challenges they faced in the exotic and unfamiliar land.

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In this intensely personal, one-man production Eduard Freudmann uses his family’s archive–which includes poems written by his grandfather while imprisoned in concentration camps–to explore his family’s silence about the Holocaust.

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Emma Lazarus​, the nineteenth-century Sephardic American poet and translator, expressed an identity particularly engaged with the Jewish legacy of medieval Spain. This ASF Young Sephardi Scholars Series Lecture by 2018 Broome & Allen Fellow Leonard Stein will explore Lazarus’s proto-Zionism, sexuality, and advocacy for a compassionate American society, positions informed by her readings of al-Andalus and the Spanish Inquisition as interpellated by contemporary German Jewish scholars. Comparing her poetry with these historical sources reveals how her famous work against anti-Semitism and nationalist chauvinism stem from a commitment to her ancestral past.

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The New York City premiere of this documentary film brings us to the filmmaker’s discovery of her grandparents’ confiscated pre-World War II estate and her own German Jewish heritage, and records the work of a Cornell University architecture team to design creative new uses for the site.

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“Knowledge in Flight” is a conference investigating the migration of scholars from perilous and intellectually oppressive political settings to new environments that allow them to continue their work and thrive. Jeremy Adelman, Professor of History at Princeton University, will deliver the keynote lecture: “Pariahs and Prophets: How Outsiders Help Insiders Think about the World.”

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The German banker and philanthropist Max. M. Warburg will accept the Leo Baeck Medal during a special evening at the Center for Jewish History in New York. Join us when we honor an extraordinary individual who represents an extraordinary family.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Conceived by the artistic duo “Astronautenkost” and supported by the Else Lasker-Schüler-Society (Wuppertal) in cooperation with the Center for Persecuted Arts (Solingen), this is the second international installment of a performance project that aims to collect recordings of one-thousand-and-one voices reading the poems of Else Lasker-Schüler for a planned sound exhibition in Solingen.

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In 1967, Stephen Birmingham published his best-selling social history of New York’s elite German-Jewish banking families and posited a new, Jewish, American aristocracy. A panel of historians and a journalist will evaluate the legend and the reality of “Our Crowd” and the impact of the institutions they created on American life.

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