Annual Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Memorial Lecture

The Annual Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Memorial Lecture was delivered on April 18 by Roger Cohen, New York Times Paris Bureau Chief, who worked for the Times as a foreign correspondent, foreign editor, and an Opinion columnist between 2009 and 2020. Roger Cohen’s work has been recognized with numerous awards, including a 2023 Pulitzer Prize and George Polk Award as part of The Times teams covering the war in Ukraine. As foreign editor, he oversaw post-9/11 international coverage in a year that The Times won seven Pulitzers. He is the author of five books, including a family memoir entitled “The Girl from Human Street: Ghosts of Memory in a Jewish Family” and the recent “An Affirming Flame: Meditations on Life and Politics.” In 1995, he won the Overseas Press Club of America Burger Human Rights Award for his investigation of torture and murder at a Serb-run Bosnian concentration camp. In 2017, he was awarded the Society of Publishers in Asia prize for Opinion writing for a series on Australian mistreatment of refugees. He won the same award in 2018 for a piece about the Rohingya crisis in Burma. In 2021, Mr. Cohen received the Légion d’Honneur from the French Republic – France’s highest order of merit – for his work over four decades.

Roger Cohen was introduced by Wesleyan president, Michael Roth, who reviewed his memoir The Girl from Human Street. The title of Roger’s presentation was “Over the Edge: A Story of Israeli and Palestinian Failure”. The lecture was fully attended and a lengthy conversation with Roger Cohen followed with several thought-provoking questions presented by a very engaged audience.

The lecture was sponsored by Emil Frankel and the Center for Jewish Studies. It was organized by Dalit Katz, the Center’s Director. I hope you will join us for our annual Frankel lecture next year.

The 21st Annual Contemporary Israeli Voices 2023

On behalf of the Center for Jewish Studies, I would like to give you a heads up about the 21st Annual Contemporary Israeli Voices, 2023 fall series and invite you and guests to join us.

The series this year will feature the internationally renowned Israeli writer, Etgar Keret, as well as other, female, Israeli writers who write in Israel and outside of Israel and explore questions of identity, belonging and personhood.

The series will be inaugurated with a talk by Maya Arad, the author of eleven books of Hebrew fiction, as well as studies in literary criticism and linguistics. Maya is a writer in residence at Stanford University’s Taube Center for Jewish Studies. Maya’s presentation is entitled Happy New Years? Reading Between the Lines. The presentation will focus on Maya’s latest novel The Good Year and the Wesleyan audience will get to be introduced to its English translation before it comes out officially. Happy New Years is an epistolary novel with a twist: it is comprised of fifty annual letters, spread over five decades, each a year apart. The letters are written by Lea, a young immigrant who strives to achieve the American dream.

The event will take place on Thursday, October 5, at 8:00 PM at Daniel Family Commons (45 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown).

The second event will be presented by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen who is one of the most unique and prominent writers in Israel. Ayelet will present her latest novel The Wolf Hunt (The title in Hebrew is Relocation). Her presentation is entitled Relocation: A Clash of Cultures. Her book follows an Israeli family on their transatlantic move to the San Francisco Bay area and explores the fault lines in a community, a school, and a family, as an Israeli mother begins to suspect her teenage son of committing a terrible hate crime.

The event will take place on Thursday, October 19, at 8:00 PM at Daniel Family Commons.

In the third presentation entitled Memoir, Fiction, and What’s In Between acclaimed Israeli author Ayelet Tsabari, will speak of her approach to writing fiction and memoir, about finding the truth in fiction and the artifice in memoir, and about making herself into a literary character in her memoir, The Art of Leaving. Her memoir in essays, The Art of Leaving, won the Canadian Jewish Literary Award.

The event will take place on Thursday, October 26, at 8:00 PM at Daniel Family Commons.

To conclude the series, the internationally renowned writer, and a frequent Wesleyan visitor (and one time professor) Etgar Keret will captivate the audience with his Heroic Stories about (his) Dead Mother. In his presentation Keret will speak about his attempt to come up with the stories that capture his late mother: like Maria in West Side Story and like Thanos from the Avengers. In his very Keret way, he ends up with a series of very short stories, snapshots that are mostly a few paragraphs long, that give glimpses of her heroic life from childhood in the Warsaw Ghetto to raising a Sabra family in Israel. Keret’s new book of stories Fly Already won the prestigious Sapir Prize.

The event will take place on Thursday, November 9 at 8:00 PM at Daniel Family Commons.

All events are free and open to the public. More information can be found at

I hope that you will join us and look forward to welcoming you, Dalit Katz, curator of CIV series, Director of the Center for Jewish Studies.

Talia Cohen is the Winner of the Best Student Paper in Jewish Studies.

On behalf of the Center for Jewish Studies, I am delighted to announce that a committee consisting of Jewish Studies faculty members has chosen Talia Cohen’s Paper, “She Walks in Beauty Like the…Sabbath? A Musical Message of Jewish Pride,” as the winner of the Best Student Paper in Jewish Studies Award. Members of the committee were impressed by the through research, the textual analysis of Byron’s lyrics and Nathan’s music, as well as the originality of the work. Mazal Tov, Talia!

A certificate of achievement will be presented to Talia during the annual Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Memorial lecture on Thursday, April 12 at 8PM at Russell House.

Middletown Appeared in Eshkol Nevo’s Recent Novel Three Floors Up

On October 27, The Center for Jewish Studies at Wesleyan University hosted best-selling Israeli writer, Eshkol Nevo, as part of the 15th Annual Series Contemporary Israeli Voices, 2017. During his presentation Three Floors Up: A Tel Aviv Story, Eshkol Nevo read to the audience excerpts from his most recent novel Three Floors Up. The novel was just translated into English and Wesleyan University was the first stop in Nevo’s tour. The audience was surprised to find out that Middletown and one of his fictitious  characters, a university professor, was part of the story. All copies were sold and signed by the author. Audience members inquired regarding the author’s successful creative writing workshops in Israel and abroad. The following day, Eshkol Nevo visited Hebrew classes and answered creatively students’ creative questions. The successful visit, the second one (the first one was in 2011), left the audience waiting impatiently to his next visit.

Fabulous Event with Etgar Keret at Wesleyan University on September 20

Seven Good Years

On September 20, the Center for Jewish Studies at Wesleyan University will host an evening with the internationally renowned writer Etgar Keret, a past Visiting Distinguished Professor and a frequent guest of Wesleyan University. The event will take place at the Goldsmith Family Cinema at Wesleyan University (301 Washington Terrace, Middletown, CT) at  8 P.M. The evening will start with a screening of the movie Etgar Keret: What Kind of Animal Are You. The movie will be introduced by Etgar Keret. In addition, Etgar Keret will read from his latest memoir The Seven Good Years. Audience will have the opportunity to engage in conversation with Etgar Keret during the question/answer session. The event is free and open to the public and is part of the annual series Contemporary Israeli Voices organized by Professor Katz, Director of the Center for Jewish Studies.


Please check out Etgar Keret’s interview with Terry Gross regarding The Seven Good Years on Fresh air:




The Liberating Lens: Jewish American Photographers Picture the Modern World.

The Center for Jewish Studies invites you to the join us for the 2016 Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Memorial Lecture. Deborah Dash Moore, Huetwell Professor of History and Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan and a leading scholar in American Jewish history, will talk about the “The Liberating Lens: Jewish American Photographers Picture the Modern World”. This presentation will take place on Wednesday, March 30th, 8 p.m., Daniel Family Commons, Usdan University Center. Admission is free and all are welcome.

Frankel 2016 Poster

Ninth Annual Ring Family Wesleyan University Israeli Film Festival

Our Ninth Annual Ring Family  Wesleyan University Israeli Film Festival, which featured five of the best contemporary Israeli films and one hit TV show , has concluded for this year. We had record attendance, stimulating conversations with the audiences, and enjoyed expert guest commentators including the film director and Wesleyan Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Aner Preminger. The films explored important themes such as secularism versus religion, women in the Israeli army, the political situation and aging with dignity. Hebrew students wrote papers in Hebrew and met to converse with speakers in Hebrew.  Interaction between the town and gown as well as the experience of watching together and learning from each other contributed to richness and the educational quality of this festival. The  general mood is waiting with excitement for next year’s Israeli Film Festival.

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Two Events on April 13

Join us for two Jewish Studies and History related events on Monday, April 13:

Lunch Series — History MattersMarianne Szegedy-Maszak: Turning Families into Memoirs: History, Journalism, and Memory:
This talk will offer students a window into the creative process of combining historical documentation with personal letters and larger family stories. How does one approach personal stories with journalistic detachment? How does one use the historians arsenal of archives, documents, and other historical tools to expand the range of sources and create a richer and more authoritative narrative? How does one interview subjects for stories that are often very personal? What are some strategies for organizing material that can occasionally be overwhelming? We will discuss the skills that journalists and historians share, but also where they differ and examine the process of creating personal, literary nonfiction. NOON, PAC 002

And an evening talk: Marianne Szegedy-Maszak, “Charmed Lives: History, Family and Fate During Hungary’s Holocaust” – The Hungarian Holocaust differed in some fundamental ways from the Holocaust in the rest of Europe. In her book, “I Kiss Your Hands Many Times: Hearts, Souls, and Wars in Hungary” Marianne Szegedy-Maszak examines Hungary’s World War II history and the country’s troubled relationship with its Jewish population, through the lives of her extraordinary family. Szegedy-Maszak’s lecture will examine the paradoxes and the tragedies of the Holocaust in Hungary, the history of anti-Semitism in Hungary, and the story of two families that embodied many of the forces that both created and destroyed the country. PAC 001, 8pm



The Center for Jewish Studies

We have exciting news regarding the latest developments in Jewish Studies at Wesleyan. Just a couple of weeks ago the Administration approved our proposal to create a Center for Jewish Studies at Wesleyan.  The Center will administer the current Certificate for Jewish and Israel Studies. It will also be the official home to and sponsor of all the programming we do, including the Ring Family Wesleyan University Israeli Film Festival and the Contemporary Israeli Voices series as well as other lectures. We are delighted with this new chapter of Jewish Studies at Wesleyan and the fact that we have an institutional home. Dalit Katz will be the Center’s first Director, and will be coordinating the transition and keeping the public informed.

The Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Memorial Lecture

Samuel Kassow, the Charles H. Northam Professor of History at Trinity College, will deliver this year’s Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Memorial Lecture.  Professor Kassow will speak on “Time Capsules in the Rubble: The Secret Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto.”

April 28, 8PM RUSSELL HOUSERingelblum archive

Within months of the start of World War II, the historian Emmanuel Ringelblum established a secret archive called Oneg Shabbat, “the Sabbath pleasure.” Over the years, Ringelblum and his associates would document the life and death in the Warsaw ghetto. It was, as Professor Samuel Kassow argues, “the biggest example of cultural resistance during WWII.” Between 1940 and 1943, members of Oneg Shabbat group buried thousands of documents in milk cans and tin boxes. Only some were recovered.

Professor Kassow is the author of many books including, most recently, Who will Write our History: Emanuel Ringelblum and the Oyneg Shabes Archive.  In 2010, he was elected a member of the American Academy of Jewish Research.