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.
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. Zionism took on a new importance for Central European Jewry when the rise of the Nazi party encouraged many to consider emigration to Palestine. The exhibition Zionismus calls on books, periodicals, correspondence, and photographs from the collections of Leo Baeck Institute to trace the transformation of Zionism from a utopian dream to matter of survival for German-speaking Jews. After traveling around the US as a poster exhibition, Zionismus will return to the LBI, where the original objects will be placed on display for the first time.
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.
On this evening, George Prochnik presents his bildungsroman on Gershom Scholem, one of the twentieth century’s most important humanist thinkers. Prochnik traces the lifeline of Scholem, and weaves it with an intimate story of his own youth, marriage, and spiritual quest in Jerusalem.