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Jewish Studies


Fall 2023

Thursday, October 5, 3:30 pm, Library 3212. Christopher Gorham, “The Confidante: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Helped Win WWII and Shape Modern America.”  From modest immigrant beginnings, Anna Rosenberg rose to the highest levels of American power, shaping national policies in areas dominated by men -- business, the military, and politics -- for decades. A confidante to both Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, during WW2 Rosenberg became FDR’s special envoy to Europe, and in 1950 was appointed assistant secretary of defense by Truman —the highest position ever held by a woman at that time in the US military.  Gorham holds degrees from the University of Michigan, Tufts University and Syracuse University College of Law. After practicing law for over a decade, he began teaching Modern American History at Westford Academy, outside Boston. His writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Literary Hub, Paper Brigade Daily, and online publications. The Confidante is his first book. This free event is open to the campus and Fresno communities.  

Sunday, October 15, 11 am & 2 pm, Fresno Art Museum. Leonard Marcus, "Let the Wild Rumpus Start: Maurice Sendak and the Making of the Modern Picture Book."  Marcus offers an inside look at the pathbreaking work of Jewish American children's literature's visionary artist and storyteller, Maurice Sendak, with whom he had a 20-year long friendship. Learn about the making of such well-loved classics as Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, and The Nutshell Library; about Sendak's artistic roots in diverse sources from William Blake, the Sunday funny papers, and Sigmund Freud to Jewish mysticism; and his indelible impact on the children's picture book as an art form and on our understanding of childhood.  Tickets are $10, $5 for FAM members, and free for students.  Advance ticket purchase or reservation is encouraged as seating is limited.  Students can reserve their complimentary tickets by calling 559.441.4221 or emailing . To purchase tickets go to .

Wednesday, November 8, 5 pm: Amila Becirbegovic, Ph.D.  (MCLL, Fresno State). “Remembering the WWII Past through Popular Media.” Fresno State Library 2206. Can we represent the Holocaust and the WWII through a contemporary lens? What constitutes appropriate historical representation? This talk explores how current generations frame the history of World War II and the Holocaust through social media, comedies, comics, films, and video games, and addresses how we respond to and represent memories of past events. This talk is given in conjunction with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum traveling exhibition Americans and the Holocaust hosted by the Fresno County Public Library Oct. 26-Jan. 5, 2420 Mariposa St, Fresno, CA 93721.  The campus and Fresno communities are welcome to attend this free event.  

Thursday, November 16, 12:30 pm, Library 2206. Beth Cohen (MA, Harvard, Ph.D., Clark): "Child Holocaust Survivors in the United States: The Stories Behind the Pictures."  Of 1.5 million European Jewish children, only an estimated 150,000 survived the Nazi Holocaust. After the war, several thousand young survivors immigrated to the United States. What happened to them after their arrival in this country? How did their recent traumas affect their adjustment as adoptees in new US families? Using photographs of the children in the early postwar press and interviews when they were adults, their voices address these questions and highlight the gap between rosy newspaper accounts and the reality of the lived experiences of those who were both children and survivors of genocide. Cohen's talk is given in conjunction with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum traveling exhibition Americans and the Holocaust hosted by the Fresno County Public Library Oct. 26-Jan. 5, 2420 Mariposa St, Fresno, CA 93721.  Cohen is the author of two books on Holocaust survivors and is developing a permanent exhibit on the Holocaust for the United Nations Headquarters in NYC.  The campus and Fresno communities are welcome to attend this free event.  

Spring 2023

February 27 – March 3  Watch THE FORGER

The Forger is based on the memoir of a young German Jew living in Berlin, Germany, in 1940, hiding in plain sight by adopting a fake identity to evade deportation.  Drawing on his art school background, he joins a network of underground rescuers and saves the lives of hundreds of Jews who use his masterfully forged IDs to escape the country. Meanwhile, he throws himself into the city's nightlife and even finds a fragile hope for love during the darkest moments of the war.  Based on a true story. In German with English subtitles. 115 minutes. Trailer: to an external site. .

Link and password below to view the film: to an external site.
password: KLWest39!

If you would like to join a zoom discussion Friday, March 3 at 5:15 p.m. with Director Maggie Peren email Dr. Mary Husain by Thursday, March 2 for a zoom discussion link.

Tuesday, April 18, 3:30 p.m.  50th Anniversary of Tom Bradley's Election as Mayor of Los Angeles. Raphael Sonenshein will speak on Zoom about how Black and Jewish Los Angelenos worked together fifty years ago this May to elect Tom Bradley, the first Black mayor of Los Angeles.  Mayor Bradley became the longest serving mayor in LA history, holding office from 1973-1993.  Raphael Sonenshein is Executive Director, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, California State University, Los Angeles and the author of three books on politics and government in Los Angeles.  Zoom registration link:  

Thursday, April 27, 7 p.m. Michael Berenbaum (Jewish Studies, American Jewish University) presents the second of two lectures this year focusing on Raphael Lemkin, the Polish Jewish holocaust survivor who coined the word "genocide" and spent his remaining years working to make that term meaningful in international law.  Michael Berenbaum is Director of the Sigi Ziering Institute: Exploring the Ethical and Religious Implications of the Holocaust. The author and editor of 20 books, he was was Project Director overseeing the creation of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the first Director of its Research Institute and later served as President and CEO of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, which took the testimony of 52,000 Holocaust survivors in 32 languages and 57 countries. Library 2206.

Tuesday, May 9, 6 p.m. Neal Gabler, "How Barbra Streisand Revolutionized Popular Entertainment." Neal Gabler will speak on Zoom (registration link below) about the intertwining cultural and artistic significance of trailblazing entertainer Barbra Streisand.  Neal Gabler is the author of seven books, including Barbra Streisand: Redefining Beauty, Femininity, and PowerAn Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Winchell: Gossip, Power and the Culture of Celebrity, which was named the non-fiction book of the year by Time magazine, Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination, which won him his second LA Times Book Prize and was named biography of the year by USA Today.  He has been a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Shorenstein Fellowship from Harvard University, and a Woodrow Wilson Public Policy Scholarship.  Zoom registration link (you may register in advance): 

Fall 2022

Thursday, October 27, 2 p.m. "Women Rabbis @ 50: Female Religious Leadership and the Reshaping of American Judaism" (Zoom registration link below).  In the fifty years since the ordination of Rabbi Sally Priesand in 1972,  women rabbis and cantors have rewritten many of the scripts that defined Jewish clerical leadership in the United States. Dr. Karla Goldman (Sol Drachler Professor of Social Work and Professor of Judaic Studies, University of Michigan) will discuss the nature and impact of these changes, while also exploring the challenges facing women leaders within a tradition that from ancient times until fifty years was defined almost exclusively by male leadership. Dr. Goldman is the author of Beyond the Synagogue Gallery: Finding a Place for Women in American Judaism. Zoom registration link:  

This year, the Jewish Studies Program will be honoring Raphael Lemkin, who coined the word “genocide” and devoted his life to making that concept meaningful, by sponsoring two guest speakers about his life and legacy.   Honoring Raphael Lemkin aligns with Jewish Studies Program goals to provide education about Jewish champions who dedicated their lives to the pursuit of justice.   Removing the name from the Fresno State Library of someone who promoted anti-Semitic hatred and racism was an important step for our University in clarifying what our community stands against.  This year and moving forward, we can actively assert what we stand for by focusing on individuals and groups who embodied and enabled progress on issues of vital public concern. Tzedek, tzedek, tirdof - Justice, justice you shall pursue. (Deuteronomy 16:20).  

Thursday, October 6, 3:30 pm. "From Antisemitism to Genocide: Raphael Lemkin and the Origins of Global Law" (Zoom registration link below). Raphael Lemkin, the Polish Jew who coined the term “genocide,” is a hero to many contemporary international lawyers and human rights activists. Yet what little is known of his life remains shrouded in myth and misconception. In this lecture, historian James Loeffler (Jay Berkowitz Professor of Jewish History, University of Virginia) explores the unknown origins of Lemkin’s global moral thought in pre-Holocaust Poland and discusses the meaning of this legacy for the cause of global justice today.  His 2018 book Rooted Cosmopolitans: Jews and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century, won the American Historical Association’s 2019 Dorothy Rosenberg Prize for best book in the field of Jewish history and the Association for Jewish Studies 2019 Jordan Schnitzer Prize for best book in the field of modern Jewish history.  Webinar registration link: 

Spring 2022

Wednesday, Feb. 9, 6 pm. "American Universities' Role in Legitimizing the Third Reich" (Zoom registration link below).
Stephen Norwood (History, University of Oklahoma) will discuss the nature and extent of sympathy for Nazi Germany at American universities during the 1930s, when many of the nation’s most prominent university administrators refused to take a principled stand against the Hitler regime. Universities welcomed Nazi officials to campus and participated enthusiastically in student exchange programs with Nazified universities in Germany. American educators helped Nazi Germany improve its image in the West as it intensified its persecution of the Jews and strengthened its armed forces. The presentation contrasts the significant American grass-roots protest against Nazism that emerged as soon as Hitler assumed power with campus quiescence, and administrators’ frequently harsh treatment of those students and professors who challenged their determination to maintain friendly relations with Nazi Germany. Stephen Norwood is author of The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Conflict on American Campuses. WEBINAR REGISTRATION LINK: 

Tuesday, Feb. 22, 6 pm. "Jews of African Descent in America" (Zoom registration link below).
Bruce Haynes (Sociology, UC Davis) will explore the history of Jews of African descent in America and offer insights into how Black Jewish individuals strive to assert their dual identities and find acceptance within their respective communities. Putting to rest the simplistic notion that Jews are white and that Black Jews are therefore a contradiction, Haynes argues that we can no longer pigeonhole Black Hebrews and Israelites as exotic, militant, and nationalistic sects outside the boundaries of mainstream Jewish thought and community life and spurs us to consider the significance of the growing population of self-identified Black Jews and its implications for the future of American Jewry. Bruce Haynes is the author of The Soul of Judaism: Jews of African Descent in America. WEBINAR REGISTRATION LINK: 

Friday, March 4, 5:15 pm discussion of Salt of the Earth (US, 1954) with Raymond Caballero.  Link to the Zoom discussion (Meeting ID: 895 1568 8795. Passcode: 804257).  Or dial in +1 669 900 6833. Co-sponsored by Cineculture. No registration required.
Salt of the Earth is set in a small mining community in New Mexico. Written by Michael Wilson and directed by Jewish American Herbert Biberman, both blacklisted Hollywood filmmakers during the Red Scare for their alleged involvement in communist politics, the film chronicles the true events of a 1951 miners’ strike in the area using local people and non-actors to re-enact their experiences. Banned in the USA for 11 years, the film centers on Esperanza Quintero (Rosaura Revueltas), the wife of a protesting miner, who must combat sexism and racism on both sides of the conflict to build a better future for her family. Completed against all odds, (including the deportation of Revueltas), Salt of the Earth highlights the complexity of gender, labor, and family relationships during a hostile political climate. 94 minutes. Raymond Caballero is the author of McCarthyism vs. Clinton Jencks. Trailer: Links to film: and and Prime Video

Friday, April 8, 5:15 p.m. discussion of Xueta Island (US, 2021) with the film's director, Dani Rotstein. Film link available April 4-8: - password Menemsha. Link to the Zoom discussion with the director: (Meeting ID: 824 4785 0276. Passcode: 409308). Or dial in +1 669 900 6833.  No registration required. Link to the film will be posted earlier in the week.  Co-sponsored by Cineculture Xueta Island explores the fascinating legacy of the Xuetas (pronounced Chuetas), a unique group of families on the Balearic island of Majorca, Spain, who are believed to be descendants of the island’s Inquisition-era Jewish population. Though they were practicing Catholics, the Chuetas were discriminated against until the middle of the 20th century, always forced to marry within their subgroup population. This film follows Rotstein, a Jewish-American expat, who moved to the island recently and quickly became fascinated with the story. Rotstein currently works as a social activist and filmmaker on the island, where he uses discoveries from his ongoing investigation to help build a new community. In Catalan, English and Spanish with English subtitles. 63 minutes. Trailer: 

Fall 2021 

Wednesday, November 17, 6 pm, Fred Astren (Jewish Studies, San Francisco State University), "Where Was Adam Buried? Jewish Tradition and the Changing Location of a Sacred Site.”   Fred Astren holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. His current book project is entitled Before the Geniza: The Shapes of Early Medieval Jewish History, which covers the years 500–950. Astren is the author of Karaite Judaism and Historical Understanding (University of South Carolina Press, 2004), and co-editor of Judaism and Islam: Boundaries, Interaction, and Communication (Brill, 2000).

Spring 2021

Shared Legacies -- Film link available Feb. 9-12. Q&A with film director Shari Rogers Friday, February 12 5:30 pmThe crucial historical lessons of Black-Jewish cooperation are revisited and revived in this utterly fascinating, urgent call to action. This potent, inspiring story of unity, empathy and partnership validates the ubiquity of the human experience, and how freedom and equality for all can be achieved only when people come together. 97 minutes. Co-Sponsors: Jewish Studies Program, the Jewish Studies Association and Center for Creativity and the Arts.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.  To view the film go to: - Password: Menemsha

Tuesday, March 23, 6 p.m. Joyce Antler, "“From Sophie Tucker to Sarah Silverman: The Subversive Tradition of Jewish Women’s Comedy.”  Joyce Antler is Samuel J. Lane Professor Emerita of American Jewish History and Culture and Professor Emerita of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Brandeis University.  

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Who Will Write Our History? Film link available March 22-April 9.  Q&A with director Roberta Grossman Thursday, April 8, 12:30 pm. In November 1940, days after the Nazis sealed 450,000 Jews in the Warsaw ghetto, a secret band of journalists, scholars and community leaders decides to fight back. Led by historian Emanuel Ringelblum and known by the code name Oyneg Shabes, this clandestine group vows to defeat Nazi lies and propaganda, not with guns or fists but with pen and paper. 96 minutes. 
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.  

To watch the film before the Q&A, click: 

Thursday, April 22, 2 p.m. Britt Tevis (University of Pennsylvania), “Jews Not Admitted”: Anti-Semitism, Civil Rights, and Public Accommodation Laws.” Britt Tevis provides new frameworks for thinking about the exclusion of American Jews from public accommodations, such as hotels, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  She considers the civil rights and legal implications both of exclusion and Jewish resistance to it, in addition to drawing parallels to the similar struggles of other minority groups in America seeking equal access to public accommodations.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Fall 2020

Wednesday, October 14, 3-4 pm. Max Baumgarten, "Jews and the Vote: The Jewish Electorate in 2020." Dr. Baumgarten's talk will examine how the past four years have challenged many basic assumptions about Jewish life and American democracy and what's at stake for Jewish voters during the 2020 election. He will provide an in-depth analysis of the Pat Brown Institute's recent survey of Los Angeles County's Jewish voters with a focus on how rising anti-Semitism and disagreements over Israel are reshaping the electorate's priorities. Dr. Max D. Baumgarten currently serves as the public policy program manager at the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State LA, where he helps oversee the Institute’s research and polling work.  He has authored articles in American Jewish history and California history and currently serves as an executive board member for the Western Jewish Studies Association. Zoom webinar co-sponsored with the Department of Political Science.  


Wednesday, October 21, 3-4 pm, Jonathan Sarna, "Lincoln and the Jews." Thousands of books have been written about Lincoln, but almost none of them deal with Lincoln’s extraordinary relationship with Jews and the Jewish community. This lecture, based on Sarna's award-winning book, Lincoln and the Jews: A History (with Benjamin Shapell) illuminates this forgotten chapter in Lincoln’s biography.  It explores the many friends, acquaintances and appointees of Lincoln who were Jewish.  It recounts the two critical occasions when Lincoln  intervened to ensure that Jews would be treated as equals in the United States.  And it suggests that Lincoln even changed his rhetoric to take account of Jewish sensitivities. Jonathan D. Sarna is University Professor and Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University, where he directs the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies.  He also chairs the Academic Advisory and Editorial Board of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati, and serves as Chief Historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. Author or editor of more than thirty books on American Jewish history and life, his American Judaism: A History  (Yale 2004), recently published in a second edition,  won six awards including the 2004 “Everett Jewish Book of the Year Award” from the Jewish Book Council. Zoom webinar co-sponsored by the Department of History.

Spring 2020 


  • Monday, Feb. 3, 10-11:30 am, PB 191. The Dialog ProjectEnvironmental Cooperation in Israel and Palestine.  Arava Institute alumni Shira Fisch and Mohammed Jarrad are visiting universities and communities throughout the United States to speak about their experiences growing up in Israeli and Palestinian families, their decision to study environmental cooperation together at the Arava Institute, and answer any questions raised by members of the community. The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies is a leading environmental study and research institute in the Middle East. It houses accredited academic programs, research centers, and international cooperation initiatives focusing on a range of environmental concerns and challenges.  For more information:


  • Monday, March 2, 6 p.m. A Conversation with Mel Brooks' Biographer Patrick McGilligan.  Jill Fields, Professor of History and Founding Coordinator of Jewish Studies, in conversation with Patrick McGilligan, followed by Q&A with the audience.  In addition to Funny Man: Mel Brooks, Pat is the author of over twenty books, including Oscar Micheaux, The Great and Only: The Life of America ' s First Black Filmmaker, Clint: The Life and Legend; George Cukor: A Double Life; Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light; and Jack Nicholson: The Joker is Wild.   He also edited the acclaimed five-volume Backstory series of interviews with Hollywood screenwriters and (with Paul Buhle), the definitive Tender Comrades: A Backstory of the Hollywood BlacklistLibrary , Room 3212. 

  • Tuesday, March 17, 6 p.m. Jewish Studies Book Club -- On Division by Goldie Goldbloom. Library , Room 3212. Discussion leader TBA.  RESCHEDULED FOR APRIL 28 ON ZOOM

    Join Dean Michelle DenBeste and author Goldie Goldbloom for a Zoom conversation about On Division on Tuesday, April 28, from 6-8 p.m. RSVP at  We look forward to seeing you via Zoom!
  • Thursday, March 19, 6 p.m.  Amy Simon, “Imperfect Humans and Perfect Beasts:  Changing Perceptions of German and Jewish Persecutors in Holocaust Ghetto Diaries.” Dr. Amy Simon holds the William and Audrey Farber Family Chair in Holocaust Studies and European Jewish History at Michigan State University.  Her work on Holocaust fiction, memoir, diaries, and pedagogy has appeared in Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History, Jewish Historical Studies, the Journal of Jewish Identities, and a number of edited volumes. Join us online for Amy's 45 minute presentation followed by Q&A via Chat.  

  • Tuesday, March 24, 2 p.m. Joyce Antler, Jewish Radical Feminism: Voices from the Women's Liberation Movement. Joyce Antler’s exhilarating new book features dozens of compelling biographical narratives that reveal the struggles and achievements of Jewish radical feminists in Chicago, New York and Boston, as well as those who participated in the later, self-consciously identified Jewish feminist movement that fought gender inequities in Jewish religious and secular life. Recovering this deeply hidden history, Jewish Radical Feminism places Jewish women’s activism at the center of feminist and Jewish narratives.  RESCHEDULED FOR SPRING 2021.

  • Tuesday, March 24, 6 p.m. Joyce Antler, ”From Sophie Tucker to Sarah Silverman: The Subversive Tradition of Jewish Women’s Comedy.”  Joyce Antler is Samuel J. Lane Professor Emerita of American Jewish History and Culture and Professor Emerita of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Brandeis University.  She is the author of many books, including You Never Call! You Never Write! A History of the Jewish Mother, The Journey Home: How Jewish Women Shaped Modern America. and most recently, Jewish Radical Feminism: Voices from the Women's Liberation Movement.   RESCHEDULED FOR SPRING 2021.


  • Tuesday, April 14, 6 p.m. Jewish Studies Book Club -- The Yid by Paul Goldman. Library , Room 3212. Discussion leader TBA.  NEW DATE TBA.
  • Thursday, April 23, 7 p.m. Phranc: Stories and Songs. Zoom. RSVP link: Phranc The All-American Jewish Lesbian Folksinger is an internationally acclaimed performer and visual artist whose work uses both humor and anger to interrogate traditional gender perspectives. She writes, records, performs and creates paper sculptures that tell stories, document history, honor Amazons and protest injustice. She has forged her butch identity in cardboard, on stage and on album covers. As a teenager she attended The Feminist Studio Workshop at The Woman's Building where she focused on song writing and silk-screening. In the late 1970s she was a member of bands Nervous Gender and Catholic Discipline in the Los Angeles punk rock scene. She has performed in venues across North America, Great Britain and Europe including The Getty Center, Irving Plaza, Metropol, and Hammersmith Odeon. She is a Teaching Artist at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Phranc is currently working on a multi-media memoir "Phranc Talk."
  • Tuesday, April 28, 6 p.m. Jewish Studies Book Club -- On Division by Goldie Goldbloom. Library , Room 3212.  Join Dean Michelle DenBeste and author Goldie Goldbloom for a Zoom conversation about On Division on Tuesday, April 28, from 6-8 p.m. RSVP at  We look forward to seeing you via Zoom!

Fall 2019

  • Tuesday, August 20, 6:30 pm: Jewish Studies Book Club: The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish.  Library , Rm. 3212The Jewish Studies Book Club is open to readers of all backgrounds from the campus and wider Fresno community. Please join us for a lively discussion led by an expert on the book topic. This discussion will be led by Dean Michelle DenBeste.  Future dates: October 15, January 21, February 18, and March 17th



  • Tuesday, October 15th, 6:30 pm: Jewish Studies Book Club: Immigrant City by David Bezmozgis. Library , Rm. 3212The Jewish Studies Book Club is open to readers of all backgrounds from the campus and wider Fresno community. Please join us for a lively discussion led by Fresno's own Rabbi Laura Winer, Ph.D. 

Past Events

•Monday, February 4, 5:15 pm: Bradley Hart, “Hitler’s American Friends: Unmasking the Third Reich’s Supporters in the United States,” University Student Union 309.  Bradley Hart (Mass Communications & Journalism, Fresno State), will present his research included in his recent book of the same title, which Time magazine selected as a notable book after its fall release. Sponsored by the History Graduate Student Association.

• Tuesday, February 26, 6 pm: Toni Wein, “In the Theatre of Identity: Catholic Jews and the Old Price Riots of 1809,” LibraryRm. 2206.  Toni Wein (Professor Emerita, English, Fresno State) will be speaking about aspects of her new book, Monstrous Fellowship: ‘Pagan, Turk and Jew’ in English Popular Culture, 1780–1845. This book assesses nineteenth-century novels and plays, riots on the streets and stages of London, popular games, artwork, criminal profiles and the spectacle created around “Pagan, Turk and Jew,” a phrase that dates from 1548.

• Friday, March 8, 5:30 pm: Shalom Bollywood, Peters Education Center. Shalom Bollywood (2018, 85 min.) reveals the unlikely story of the 2000-year-old Indian Jewish community and its formative place in shaping the world’s largest film industry. The documentary tells this extraordinary tale through the lives of Indian cinema’s Jewish icons at the heart of Bollywood from the turn of the 20th century to the present day. Discussant: Joseph Hodes (International Studies & Honors College,Texas Tech University), whose first book is entitled From India to Israel: Identity, Immigration and the Struggle for Religious Equality. Co-sponsored with Cineculture.

• Tuesday, March 19, 6 pm: Diane Wolf, “Beyond Anne Frank: Hidden Jewish Children after the War,” LibraryRm. 2206.
Diane Wolf (Sociology, UC Davis) will present her research on childhood memory, family dynamics, trauma, genocide, and inter-generational Holocaust memory transmission. Her talk is based on her book, Beyond Anne Frank: Hidden Children and Postwar Families in Holland.

• Tuesday, April 2, 6 pm: James Russell, “Jewish Magic and Superstition,” Library , Rm. 2206. James Russell (Armenian Studies, Harvard & Jewish Studies, Fresno State) will speak about the history and themes of Jewish magic and superstition. Dr. Russell has published widely in the fields of Armenian Studies and Jewish Studies and currently teaches Jewish Studies 10: Jewish Civilization and Hebrew at Fresno State.

• Friday, April 26, 5 pm: The Zookeeper’s Wife, Peters Education Center. The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017, 127 min.) portrays the real-life story of a Polish couple, the Żabińskas, who ran the Warsaw Zoo in the 1930s. After the 1939 Nazi invasion, the couple must report to the Reich’s chief zoologist. Nonetheless, the Żabińskas covertly begin working with the Resistance and assist Jews confined in the Warsaw Ghetto. Discussant: Ed EmmanuEl (Professor Emeritus, Theater Arts, Fresno State), who has received Fresno State’s Provost Award for Teaching Excellence and Creative Activity and international honors for his writing, and has guest directed in countries across the globe. Co-sponsored with Cineculture.

•September 4-October 31: "Genocides of the Twentieth Century," an exhibit about three genocides: the Armenian, the Holocaust, and the Genocide in Rwanda. The exhibit is designed, created, and distributed by the Mémorial de la Shoah, in Paris, France.   Peters 2nd Floor Ellipse Gallery, Library .  Co-sponsored with Armenian Studies, the College of Arts and Humanities, the College of Social Sciences, the Consulate General of France in San Francisco, the Embassy of France in the US, and SNCF.

•Tues., October 2, 6 pm: Lillian Faderman (Emerita, Fresno State), "Harvey Milk: His Lives and Death." A talk by the author of a new biography of Jewish American Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in San Francisco, who was tragically murdered in a hate crime in 1978.  Residence Dining Hall. Sponsored by the College of Social Sciences.

•Friday, October 5, 5 pm: Persona Non Grata (Japan, 2015).  This film depicts the life of Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat often described as the “Japanese Schindler.” Sugihara was posted in Lithuania from 1939 to 1940, where many Jewish refugees fled in search of transit visas. They turned to Sugihara, who was torn between loyalty to his country and his commitment to humanity.  In Japanese with English subtitles (139 minutes).  Discussant: Ed EmmanuEl.   Peters Education Center Auditorium (West of Save-Mart Center in the Student Recreation Center Building).  Parking is free at the venue. Co-sponsor: Cineculture.

•Friday, October 26, 5:30 pm: RBG (US, 2018). At the age of 85, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed an extraordinary legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. But the unique personal journey of her rise to the nation’s highest court has been largely unknown, even to some of her biggest fans – until now. RBG explores Ginsburg’s amazing life and long legal career. (98 minutes). Discussant: Donna Schuele, J.D. and Ph.D. (History, Cal Poly Pomona).  Peters Education Center Auditorium (West of Save-Mart Center in the Student Recreation Center Building).  Parking is free at the venue. Co-sponsor: Cineculture.

•Thursday, November 15, 6 pm: Bradley Hart (Mass Communication & Journalism, Fresno State), "Hitler's American Friends: The Third Reich's Supporters in the United States." Hart's new book examines the strange terrain of Nazi sympathizers, nonintervention campaigners and other voices in America who advocated on behalf of Nazi Germany in the years before World War II.  Hitler's American Friends is a powerful look at how the forces of evil manipulate ordinary people, how we stepped back from the ledge, and the disturbing ease with which we could return to it.  McKee Fisk 202

•Wed., January 31, 2 pm: Tu B'Shevat - Jewish New Year of the Trees.  Tree dedication followed by refreshments.  Lawn west of the Social Sciences Building.

•Mon., March 5, 7 pm: James Russell  (Armenian Studies, Harvard and Jewish Studies, Fresno State), "The Illustrated Script of the First Drama of Liberation: The Jewish Passover Haggadah."  The talk will discuss the book called Haggadah (the Narrative), which is read during the Passover Seder, a holiday commemorating the liberation of Jews, led by Moses, from slavery in Egypt.  The Second Commandment prohibits images, but many medieval manuscript Haggadahs were richly illuminated with pictures, and the practice continued into printed books. The lecture will consider questions about the manufacture and meaning of Haggadahs, illustrated by examples from medieval Spain and Western Europe. Library 2206.

•Thurs., March 15, 7 pm: Jill Fields  (History and Jewish Studies, Fresno State), "Was Peggy Guggenheim Jewish?: Secular Jewish Identity and the Twentieth-Century Avant Garde." Peggy Guggenheim was a noted if not notorious collector of surrealist and abstract paintings.  The talk will explore her life amidst the avant-garde art scene, which included a significant number of secular Jews.  Fields is the author of An Intimate Affair: Women, Lingerie, and Sexuality and editor of Entering the Picture: Judy Chicago, the Fresno Feminist Art Program, and the Collective Visions of Women Artists. Temple Beth Israel, 6622 N Maroa Ave, Fresno, CA 93704. 

•Thurs., April 12, 5 pm: Steve Ross (History, University of Southern California), will speak about his new book, Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America.  "The chilling, little-known story of the rise of Nazism in Los Angeles, and the Jewish leaders and spies they recruited who stopped it." Steve Ross is an award-winning historian who was the first in his family to attend college.  He is also the director of the Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life.   Library 2206.

•Fri., April 13, 5:30 pm: Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (2017).  Hedy Lamarr was a ravishingly beautiful actress of the 1930s and 1940s and an inventor whose concepts were the basis of cell phone and Bluetooth technology. The glamour icon was the inspiration for Snow White and Cat Woman and a technological trailblazer also perfected a radio system to throw Nazi torpedoes off course during WWII. Weaving interviews and clips with never-before-heard interviews with Lamarr, the film recounts her beginnings as an Austrian Jewish emigre, her scandalous nude scene in the 1933 film Ecstasy and life in Hollywood, and her ground-breaking, but completely uncredited inventions. Discussant: Richard Rhodes (Author of Hedy’s Folly, on which the film is based).   Peters Education Center Auditorium (West of Save-Mart Center in the Student Recreation Center Building).  Parking is free at the venue. (Film runs 88 minutes).

•Wed., October 18, 6 pm: Sven-Erik Rose (German and Comparative Literature, UC Davis), "In Adorno's Blind Spot: Yiddish Poetry from the Warsaw Ghetto." The talk will focus on poems written in Nazi Ghettos (above all Warsaw) that are little known but truly deserve a wide readership. Library 2206.  

•Fri., November 3, 5:30 pm: Menashe (the US, 2017).  Deep in the heart of New York’s ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jewish community, Menashe, a kind, hapless grocery store clerk, struggles to make ends meet and responsibly parent his young son, Rieven, following his wife's death. Tradition prohibits Menashe from raising his son alone, and Rieven’s strict uncle adopts him, leaving Menashe heartbroken. Meanwhile, though Menashe seems to bungle every challenge in his path, his rabbi grants him one special week with Rieven. It is his chance to prove himself a suitable man of faith and a responsible father, and restore respect among his doubters. In Yiddish and English with English subtitles, 82 minutes. Discussant: film director Joshua Weinstein.  Peters Education Center Auditorium (West of Save-Mart Center in the Student Recreation Center Building).  Parking is free at the venue.

•Sunday, November 12, 7 pm: The Women's Balcony (Israel, 2017). Fresno Filmworks presents The Women’s Balcony, Emil Ben-Shimon’s critically acclaimed comedy about the tensions between the women of an Orthodox congregation and an ultra-Orthodox rabbi. After the women’s balcony in a synagogue collapses, leaving the rabbi’s wife in a coma and the rabbi in shock, the congregation falls into crisis. On top of no longer being offered a place to congregate, a new ultra-Orthodox rabbi arrives and begins imposing his more conservative views. The women decide to stand up for themselves as they cause quite a stir within the congregation. The Tower Theatre, 815 E Olive Ave. Fresno, CA 93728.  Tickets: $8 students/senior, $10 general.  Sponsored by Jewish Studies.

•Thurs., November 16, 3:30 pm: Joan Nathan, "King Solomon's Table -- Ancient 'Foodies' and The Origins of Modern Jewish Cooking." Library 3212.  Joan Nathan is the award-winning author of eleven cookbooks.  She also was the host of the PBS series Jewish Cooking in America with Joan Nathan.

•Wed., April 19, 3:30 pm: Alma Heckman (History and Jewish Studies, UC Santa Cruz), "A Republican Betrayal? North African Jews and the Holocaust on the Eve of Independence."  Library 3212.

•Tues., April 25, 6 pm: Denial  (the US, 2016).  Based on the acclaimed book Denial: Holocaust History on Trial, the film recounts Deborah E. Lipstadt’s (Academy Award® winner Rachel Weisz) legal battle for historical truth against David Irving (BAFTA nominee Timothy Spall), who accused her of libel when she declared him a Holocaust denier. In the English legal system, in cases of libel, the burden of proof is on the defendant, therefore it was up to Lipstadt and her legal team, led by Richard Rampton (Academy Award® nominee Tom Wilkinson), to prove the essential truth that the Holocaust occurred. McLane Hall 161. Introduction and Q&A with Fresno State College of Social Sciences Dean Michelle DenBeste and Professor of History Melissa Jordine.

•Fri., Feb. 3, 9:30-11:45 am: Roundtable on Ottoman Minorities. Janet Klein (University of Akron) researches Ottoman Kurds; Devin Naar (University of Washington) researches Sephardic Jews in the Ottoman Empire and the Sephardic diaspora in Europe and the Americas;  Bedross De Matossian (University of Nebraska) researches inter-ethnic politics and the 1915 Armenian Genocide; Stacy Farenthold (Fresno State) researches Syrian and Lebanese emigrants in the Americas during the First World War.  Discussants: Laura Robson (Portland State University) and Sergio La Porta (Fresno State). Peters Business Building, Rm 290.

•Tues., March 28, 3:30 pm: Gloria Orenstein (Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature and Gender Studies, University of Southern California), "Jewish American Women Artists: Intersections of Feminism and Jewish Identity in Contemporary Art."  Industrial Technology 101.

•Wed, April 5, 3:30 pm: Max Baumgarten  (Jack H. Skirball Fellow in Modern Jewish Culture, UCLA),  "What Makes the Neighborhood Jewish?: Contesting and Promoting Gentrification in 1980s Los Angeles." McKee Fisk 208.

•Thurs., Sept. 22, 3:30-4:45 pm: Aron Rodrigue, Professor of History and Charles Michael Professor in Jewish History and Culture, Stanford University, “The Jews of France from the French Revolution to the Present.”  Professor Rodrigue's talk will provide background information and historical context for the Cineculture screening of La Loi taking place the next day.  AG 109.

•Friday, Sept. 23: 5:30 pm: Jewish Studies, the French Program, the Department of Modern & Classical Languages & Literatures and Cineculture Film Seriespresent The Law (La Loi, 2014). Comment: Rose Marie Kuhn (French Studies, Fresno State).  This award-winning docudrama recounts the fight to decriminalize abortion in France led by Simone Veil, a Jew and Holocaust survivor, who was spared nothing: tense political negotiations and anti-Semitic, insults and violence to her family.   In French with English subtitles, 90 minutes.  Peters Education Center Auditorium (West of Save-Mart Center in the Student Recreation Center Building).  Parking is free at the venue.

•Friday, October 21: 5 pm: Jewish Studies and Cineculture Film Series present The Merchant of Venice. Comment: Ed EmmanuEl.  The acclaimed film version starring Al Pacino of Shakespeare's still controversial play. The film is being shown in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish Ghetto in Venice, where the word “ghetto” originated in 1516.  Peters Education Center Auditorium (West of Save-Mart Center in the Student Recreation Center Building).  Parking is free at the venue.

•Sat., Nov. 12, 5:45 pm: Sand Storm (Israel, 2016). Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and Israel’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards, Sand Storm is a family drama that unfolds in a Bedouin village in southern Israel. Fresno Filmworks Film Festival, The Tower Theatre, 815 E Olive Ave., Fresno, CA 93728.  $10.  Screening sponsored by Fresno Jewish Film Series and Jewish Studies Program – Fresno State.

•Thurs., February 4, 11 am David Myers, Sady and Ludwig Kahn Professor of Jewish History (UCLA), "A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Shared Perspective." Engineering East 191. Parking Code: 337613. 

•Thurs., February 4, 12:30 pm: David Myers, Sady and Ludwig Kahn Professor of Jewish History (UCLA), "Seeking the 'Sane' Center: A Different Approach to Israel-Palestine on Campus." Social Sciences 204.  Parking Code: 337613.

•Thurs., February 18, 6 pm: Bridging the Divide: Tom Bradley and the Politics of Race.  Film screening with commentary by Caitlin Parker (History, UCLA).  Co-sponsored by Africana Studies Program and Jewish Studies Certificate Program.  EE 191. Parking Code 342606.

•Friday, February 26: 5:30 pm: Jewish Studies, Psychology, and Cineculture Film Series present The Experimenter. Comment: Robert Levine (Psychology, Fresno State). Peters Education Center Auditorium (West of Save-Mart Center in the Student Recreation Center Building).  Parking is free at the venue.

•Thurs., April 7, 1-5 pm: Jewish Studies Symposium: Constructing Jews.  Speakers: Murray Baumgarten (UC Santa Cruz), "2016: The Venice Ghetto at 500;” Matt Goldish (Ohio State), “The ‘Old Yishuv’: The Jewish Community in the Land of Israel on the Eve of Zionism” and  Hasia Diner (New York University), “The Lower East Side and American Jewish Memory."  Alice Peters Auditorium (Peters Business). Co-sponsored by Modern and Classical Language and Literatures and Jewish Studies.  Concluding Reception.

•Friday, April 29: 5:30 pm: Jewish Studies and Cineculture Film Series present When Voices Meet; One United Choir; One Courageous Journey  (2015). Comment: Marilyn Cohen (Music Therapist), Sharon Katz (Director), and band members.  Peters Education Center Auditorium (West of Save-Mart Center in the Student Recreation Center Building).  Free parking at the venue.

 •Thursday, October 29, 5 pm: Anat Gilboa (Visiting Professor, UCLA), “Representations of Jewish Women in Israeli Film: Gender, Religion, and the State in Israel,” Library 2206. Parking Code: 337605.

•Friday, October 30, 5:30 pm: Jewish Studies and Cineculture Film Series present Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (Israel, 2014) – Peters Education Center Auditorium (West of Save-Mart Center in the Student Recreation Center Building).  Comment by Anat Gilboa.  Parking is free at the venue.


•Thursday, November 12, 5 pm: Bradley Hart, Assistant Professor of Mass Communications & Journalism, Fresno State, talks about his new book, George Pitt-Rivers and the Nazis, Social Sciences 105. Parking Code: 337603.

•Friday, December 4, 5:30 pm: Jewish Studies and Cineculture Film Series present A Nazi Legacy: What Our Fathers Did (UK, 2015) – Peters Education Center Auditorium (West of Save-Mart Center in the Student Recreation Center Building).  Comment TBA. Parking is free at the venue.

Thursday, December 4, 4 pm, FFS 213.  Michelle Denbeste, Ph.D. (Fresno State), “Birobidzhan: The Soviet Zion.” Sponsored by the Jewish Studies Association and Phi Alpha Theta.


Jewish Studies in the News! 

Check out this Fresno State Campus News profile of Program Coordinator Jill Fields and learn about her rockin' musical past,  scholarly publications, and how she landed at Fresno State.

Take a look at the awesome Collegian article about the first ever Tu B'Shevat tree planting at Fresno State, "Jewish Holiday Served as A Day to Plant Trees, Celebrate Studies."

Thanks to the Collegian at Fresno State for a nice piece on the Lecture Series and the new Jewish Studies Minor, "Jewish Studies Minor to Launch in Spring."

Please take a moment to read "Jewish Studies Explores History, Culture, Religionfor some background and context for the new program.

The Collegian has also reported on the Jewish Studies   Lecture Series.  "Warsaw Ghetto Poetry Impacts Us Still" provides key points from UC Davis Professor Sven-Erik Rose's talk.

 "Art Used to Help Understand Holocaust" details the November  talk given by Andrea Pappas (Art History at Santa Clara University) on "Artists Respond to the Holocaust."  Co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Central California, which has provided community funding for the JSCP since the program's founding.  Todah rabah (thank you) JFCC and the Collegian.

In March 2013, Fresno State hosted a well-attended reception for the newly appointed Israeli Consul General of the Pacific Northwest, Andy David.  Andy was welcomed by (former) President Welty, (former) Provost Corvino, and College of Social Sciences Dean Gonzalez. Read about the event in the Collegian.