Screening of “Farewell to My Country” at the Frankel Memorial Lecture

On April 28, the long-awaited Frankel Memorial Lecture will include a screening of  “Farewell to My Country” a documentary by director Andrzej Krakowski about the 1968 exodus of the Jews from Poland.

"Farewell to my country" a documentary by Andrzej Krakowski about the 1968 exodus of the Jews from Poland 1968 was a turbulent year across the world. But in Poland, it became the last chapter of the centuries-old history of the Jewish community there.  That year, following student demonstrations, the Polish communist government incited anti-Zionist sentiments that led to the expulsion of Poland’s last remaining Jews, effectively ending the history of what was once the largest Jewish settlement in the world. FAREWELL TO MY COUNTRY tells the story of the silent elimination of the remaining Jewish community by the communist regime.  Using rare and never-before-seen footage, the film intimately reveals the experience  of emigrants by way of the communists’ state-sponsored persecution.

Joining us for the evening will be the director of the film Andrzej Krakowski, a filmmaker and a professor of film studies at City College, NY. Andrzej Krakowski is a producer, director, and screenwriters of many films, film series, and documentaries.  Among films with which he was involved in his many capacities are “The Triumph of the Spirit” with William Defoe, and “Eminent Domain” with Donald Sutherland.  He is also a producer of a TV Series “We are New York.”
April 28, The Goldsmith Family Cinema, 8pm

Upcoming Events in Jewish Studies This Semester

Spring 2011 (remaining events):

March 29, Yiddish Cultural Expressions Series: Professor Samuel Kassow, “Jewish Cultural Expression under Nazi Occupation – The Case of the Warsaw Ghetto,” CFA Hall, 7pm

March 31, The Ring Family Israeli Film Festival: a screening of two Israeli TV shows: Serugim (the dating saga of young Religious Israelis) and Arab Labor (An Arab journalist’s hilarious attempts to fit into Israeli society). Speaker: Isaac Zablozki, director of Film Programs at the JCC Manhattan. 8 pm, Goldsmith Family Cinema

April 5, Yiddish Cultural Expressions Series: Professor Olga Litvak, “Getting Tevye Wrong – Sholem-Aleichem’s Astonishing Farce of Misperception,” CFA Hall, 7pm

April 7, The Ring Family Israeli Film Festival: Wrist cutters: A Love Story. This is an adaptation of the internationally renowned writer, Etgar Keret’s novella Kneller’s Happy Campers (interesting translation….). Featured guest speaker, Etgar Keret. 8 pm, Goldsmith Family Cinema

April 13, Professor Shalom Sabar “The Sabbath in Jewish Art and Folklore,” Russell House, 8pm

April 28, The Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Memorial Lecture: Director Andrzej Krakowski will present his 2002 documentary “Farewell to My Country” about Jews forced to leave Poland in 1968, Goldsmith Family Cinema, Film Studies, 8 pm

May 3, Jewish and Israel Studies Student Achievements Showcase, Allbritton 103 at 4:30 PM

Upcoming Events in Jewish and Israel Studies at Wesleyan

The Spring semester has started and it will be busy not only with classes but also with events. Two thematic series: The Ring Family Israel Film Festival and a series of talks and concerts on East European Jewish Culture.

The event that will inaugurate the semester will be the annual Frankel Memorial Lecture. February 1 Director Andrzej Krakowski will present his film Farewell My Country about the 1968 exodus of Jews from Poland. Powell Family Cinema at the Film Studies, 8pm.

The Frankel Lecture will also inaugurate a series on the East European Jewish Culture.

Ring Family Israeli Film Festival at Wesleyan at the Goldstein Family Cinema:

February 10: Five Hours From Paris: the story of a dream, an obstacle and unique friendships between an Israeli taxi driver and a Russian music teacher. Speaker: Haim Tabakman, a film director and Jewish and Israel Visiting scholar in Residence.

February 17, Eyes Wide Open: a forbidden love story between a married Orthodox man and a mysterious young man. Speaker Haim Tabakman, director of the film and Jewish and Israel Visiting scholar in Residence.

February 24, Ajami: Israel Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film combines five stories which take place in Ajami, a religious and ethnically diverse neighborhood of Jaffa. Speaker: Laura Blum, film critic.

March 3, The Beetle. A man’s obsession with his Beetle car brings him to Jordan in a desperate attempt to fix it. Speaker: Anne Peters, Wesleyan Assistant Professor in the Government Department.

March 31, a screening of two Israeli TV shows: Serugim (the dating saga of young Religious Israelis) and Arab Labor (An Arab journalist’s hilarious attempts to fit into Israeli society). Speaker: Isaac Zablozki, director of Film Programs at the JCC Manhattan.

April 7, Wrist cutters: A Love Story. This is an adaptation of the internationally renowned writer, Etgar Keret’s novella Kneller’s Happy Campers (interesting translation….). Featured guest speaker, Etgar Keret.

This film festival is sponsored by the Ring family and the Jewish and Israel Studies.

Eastern European Jewish Culture Series:

February 15, Hankus Netsky will speak on American klezmer, CFA Hall, 7pm

February 22, Michael Winograd’s klezmer performance, CFA Hall, 7pm

March 29, Sam Kassow will speak on Yiddish poetry in the Holocaust era, CFA Hall, 7pm

April 5, Olga Litvak will speak on Sholem Aleichem, CFA Hall, 7pm

And a special event, related to our Service-Learning Class:

April 13, Professor Shalom Sabar from Hebrew University will give a talk “The Sabbath in Jewish Art and Folklore.”

More events will be announced, including our annual showcase of students’ research in Jewish and Israel Studies. Please check back for updates, and become a friend of Wesleyan’s Jewish and Israel Studies Program on Facebook, where you can get the latest updates about the Program: www.facebook.com/WesleyanJIS

Looking back and looking forward

The fall semester is well behind us, grades have been submitted and now we are preparing for the Spring semester.

The fall was full of events and exciting courses.  Jewish and Israel Studies Program offered eleven courses, enrolling a total of 192 students, 107 of whom were taught by our core faculty.  In the Spring we will offer eight courses in History, Music, Art History, Religion, Film Studies, and of course Hebrew language and literature.  JIS sponsored seven events, among them were two in our New Israeli Voices series, which brought to campus Joshua Sobol, the acclaimed Israel playwright and director, and Michal Govrin, a noted Israeli writer.  The series is tightly integrated into our Hebrew curriculum. We also hosted JJ. Goldberg from the Forward who spoke on “The Next American Judaism: Israel, Intermarriage and the Seinfeld Effect” and Professor Susan Einbinder who spoke on “Medieval Jewish Martyrdom, Poetry, and Hysterical Blindness.”  These events were also linked to our curriculum, the American Jewish History class, Medieval Jewish History class, and a class on Medieval Literature.

In November, Professor Magda Teter met with alumni and parents in San Francisco to talk about Jewish and Israel Studies at Wesleyan and brainstorm about what we can do for those who are not on campus. We had some terrific ideas that we plan to work on! Stay tuned.

Spring looks like an exciting semester. Jewish an Israel Studies Program will offer eight courses, including for the first time, a small cluster of courses on East European Jewish History and Culture. Professor Mark Slobin will teach a course a course “Yiddish Cultural Expression: Music, Theater, Literature, Film.” The course “will ground modern Yiddish expressive culture in its 19th-century Eastern European homeland, then follow its dispersion to North America, through the present.” Professor Magda Teter will teach a course on East European Jewish History, from the beginning of Jewish settlement in medieval Poland through the modern day efforts to create vibrant, if small, Jewish communities in Cracow and Warsaw.  This is also our first service learning course.  Students will work with the Congregation Adath Israel in Middletown and study its Judaica collection.  Aside from learning about Jewish history in Eastern Europe, students will be engaged in learning through material culture and curating a small exhibition. Finally, in our small cluster, Professor Annalise Glauz-Todrank will teach a course on “Hasidism: European Origins and American Identities.”

Among other highlights is our Mervin and Gittel Silverberg Distinguished Visiting Scholar. This year the position will be held by the Israeli director and producer, Haim Tabakman, whose most recent film “Eyes Wide Open” has received wide acclaim.  Haim Tabakman will teach a course on “Revival of the Israeli Cinema” and he will also play an active role in our Ring Family Israeli Film Festival organized by Professor Dalit Katz.

Our cultural programming also looks exciting–a more detailed schedule will be announced shortly, so here is just a taste:

On February 1, 2011, as our annual Frankel Lecture Series, Director Andrzej Krakowski will screen his film “Farewell to My Country” about the 1968 exodus of Jews from Poland.

Our Ring Family Israeli Film Festival will include six films screened on Thursdays, beginning on February 10, 2011.

There will be a series of events related to our East European Cluster–talks, concerts, and performances.

On April 13, 2011, Professor Shalom Sabar from Hebrew University will give a talk “The Sabbath in Jewish Art and Folklore.”

There is much to look forward to in the Spring 2011 and we hope you will join us.

Last Event in the Fall

On December 6, Jewish and Israel Studies Program will host its last event in the Fall semester:  J. J. Goldberg will lecture on “The Next American Judaism: Israel, Intermarriage and the Seinfeld Effect.”

J. J. Goldberg is a senior columnist at the Forward, where he had served as the editor-in-chief from 2000-2007, transforming the paper into one of the leading and most respected voices of contemporary Jewish press.  His weekly column “Good Fences” appears on the editorial pages of the The Forward.  He also blogs at http://blogs.forward.com/jj-goldberg/.

The event will be at 108 Usdan (Taylor Meeting room) at 8pm.

Upcoming JIS Events in November and December

The semester is half-way over, but Jewish and Israel Studies still plans to host a number of events:

November 4, Jewish and Israel Studies Open House, 4:30 pm Allbritton 103.

Please come to meet Jewish and Israel Studies students and faculty, and learn about our Program, our courses, and events.

November 4, Film: STEAL A PENCIL FOR ME (2007) by Oscar nominee Michele Ohayon (P’14). A Q&A session will follow the screening. Michele Ohayon recounts the touching story of Jack and Ina, whose love broke the bounds of matrimony and imprisonment. Jack: “I’m a very special Holocaust survivor. I was in the camps with my wife and my girlfriend; and believe me, it wasn’t easy.” For more about the film, see http://www.stealapencil.com/synopsis.php;
Film Studies 100 (Goldsmith Family Cinema), 8pm.

November 17, Hallie Lecture Series (COL): Professor Berel Lang, “Primo Levi, Writer (and Memoirist).” COL Lounge, Wesleyan University. COL Lounge, Butt C, 4:15 pm.

Berel Lang is the author of Philosophical Witnessing: The Holocaust as Presence (2009), Holocaust Representation: Art Within the Limits of History and Ethics (2000), Heidegger’s Silence (1996), Act and Idea in the Nazi Genocide (1990) and many other works bridging philosophy, aesthetics, ethics and history.  Much honored for outstanding scholarship and teaching, he has held fellowships from the N.E.H., ACLS, American Philosophical Association, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and is a member of the American Academy for Jewish Research.  This semester, he is Visiting Professor of Letters at Wesleyan; he has taught at Wesleyan, Trinity College, SUNY at Albany, the University of Colorado, and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

December 6, J. J. Goldberg, “The Next American Judaism: Israel, Intermarriage and the Seinfeld Effect”

J. J. Goldberg is a senior columnist at the Forward, where he had served as the editor-in-chief, transforming the paper into one of the leading and most respected voices of contemporary Jewish press.

Upcoming October Events in Jewish and Israel Studies

October 7, Susan Einbinder: “Seeing the Blind: Medieval Jewish Martyrdom, Poetry, and Hysterical Blindness,” 4:30pm at PAC 004

Susan Einbinder is Professor of Hebrew Literature at Hebrew Union College the author most recently of No Place of Rest: Jewish Expulsion and the Memory of Medieval France, which traces the ways that fourteenth-century texts written by Jews in Spain, Provence, Italy and North Africa recall the trauma of the 1306 expulsion from France.  She is also the author of Beautiful Death: Jewish Poetry and Martyrdom in Medieval France.

October 12, Playwright Joshua Sobol will talk about his new book Cut Throat Dog at Russell House at 8pm.

Joshua Sobol will place his new novel within the context of the “Shylock Syndrome.”  Sobol is an international renowned playwright, writer, and director.  In 2000 he was a visiting scholar at Wesleyan University and directed, with Wesleyan students, the play “Ghetto”, which was translated into more than 20 languages and has been performed by leading theaters in more than 25 countries through the world.  A reception will follow.

October 25, Israeli Author Michal Govrin will talk about her new book Holds on to the Sun at Russell House at 8pm.

“Hold on to the Sun:  Words Facing the Unspeakable”:  Michal Govrin will talk about her new book “Hold on to the Sun:  Stories and Legends”, which addresses through short stories, essay, and poetry the unspeakable through words.  The talk will end with a reading from the book.  Among the pioneers of Jewish experimental theater, Govrin has directed award-winning performances in all major theaters in Israel.  She also has published numerous nonfiction and personal essay, which have appeared in international journals and anthologies in several languages. A reception will follow.

Fall Events in Jewish and Israel Studies

September 16, screening of Israeli film “Beaufort” (2007) and a talk with Ron Leshem, the author and scriptwriter at the Goldsmith Cinema at 8pm.

The film takes place in 2000 during the Israeli withdrawal from Southern Lebanon after 18 years of conflict. It follows IDF soldiers at the medieval Beaufort Castle preparing to leave.

October 7, Susan Einbinder: “Seeing the Blind: Medieval Jewish Martyrdom, Poetry, and Hysterical Blindness,” 4:30pm at PAC 004

Susan Einbinder is Professor of Hebrew Literature at Hebrew Union College the author most recently of No Place of Rest: Jewish Expulsion and the Memory of Medieval France, which traces the ways that fourteenth-century texts written by Jews in Spain, Provence, Italy and North Africa recall the trauma of the 1306 expulsion from France.  She is also the author of Beautiful Death: Jewish Poetry and Martyrdom in Medieval France.

October 12, Playwright Joshua Sobol will talk about his new book Cut Throat Dog at Russell House at 8pm.

October 25, Israeli Author Michal Govrin will talk about her new book Holds on to the Sun at Russell House at 8pm.

November 4, Jewish and Israel Studies – Open House and Reception, 4:15

November 17, Berel Lang will give the annual Hallie Lecture, 4:15 PM, the COL Lounge.

The Hallie Lecture Series was created by David Rhodes ‘68 to honor the late professor of philosophy, Philip Hallie. The series focuses on key ethical questions of our day.

December 6, J.J. Goldberg will speak on “The Next American Judaism: Israel, Intermarriage and the Seinfeld Effect.”

J. J. Goldberg is a senior columnist at the Forward, where he had served as the editor-in-chief, transforming the paper into one of the leading and most respected voices of contemporary Jewish press.

Jewish and Israel Studies Program Hosting Its First Cultural Event

Please join us for our first cultural event, starting an exciting and rich program we have prepared for the whole year.

On September 16, this coming Thursday, there will be a screening of an Israeli film “Beaufort” at the Goldsmith Family Cinema, Film Studies, Wesleyan University, 8 pm. The film tells a story of Israeli soldiers preparing for withdrawal from Southern Lebanon in 2000.

The film’s screenwriter, Ron Leshem, will join us for a discussion after screening.  Please join us there.

Jewish and Israel Studies Program has a Facebook page, http://bit.ly/WesleyanJIS. “Like” us to get updates about our exciting program this year.  Or follow us through this blog: http://jis.blogs.wesleyan.edu/

I look forward to seeing you on Thursday.