Past Events

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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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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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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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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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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Undated (likely pre-WWI) postcard from the Jewish National Fund AR 2536. This postcard depicts the certificate awarded for a donation to support the planting of five or more olive trees in Palestine at a cost of 6 marks per tree.

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LBI President Emeritus and Chancellor Emeritus of the Jewish Theological Seminary Dr. Ismar Schorsch will provide introductory remarks at the opening of this LBI-curated exhibition at the Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany in New York City.

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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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Joseph Roth on a train platform in France, 1926

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Jan Bürger and George Prochnik will discuss one of the most important and enigmatic writers of the modern era, and provide insights into his astonishing body of work with the aid of manuscripts and letters from the Leo Baeck Institute, New York, and the German Literature Archive, Marbach.

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The Leo Baeck Institutes in New York and London sponsored the first international conference on the German-Jewish émigré theater director Kurt Hirschfeld in Zurich in March 2015. Now, LBI will reprise that successful program in New York City.

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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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The first volume of its kind, “Dislocated Memories: Jews, Music, and Postwar German Culture” draws together three significant areas of inquiry: Jewish music, German culture, and the legacy of the Holocaust. The volume makes powerful arguments about the impact of the Holocaust and its aftermath in changing contexts of musical performance and composition.

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Dr. Eric R. Kandel

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Dr. Eric R. Kandel will accept the Leo Baeck Medal during a special evening at the Center for Jewish History in New York. Dr. Kandel is a neuroscientist whose work on the molecular biology of memory opened new methods of inquiry into the study of brain and mind.

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Michael Meyer, Adolph S. Ochs Professor of Jewish History Emeritus at Hebrew Union College, will survey the history of German-speaking Jews and the Leo Baeck Institute’s ˜efforts to document it in celebration of LBI’s 60th year.

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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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vishniac

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The recent discovery of more than 10,000 unknown negatives by renowned photographer Roman Vishniac has revealed a far more versatile, innovative and creative artist than previously thought. Join us for a day-long symposium as scholars, photography curators, and cultural critics reappraise Vishniac’s radically diverse body of work that spans the 1920s through the 1970s.

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