Past Events



Thursday, October 2, 2014

Lazare Bitoun, University of Paris
From Casablanca to Paris via American/Jewish Literature: A Translator's Multicultural Odyssey
Abernethy Room/Axinn Center
4:30 PM


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Carol Bakhos, UCLA
Sarah and Hagar: Politicizing Abraham's Wives
Venue:  Abernethy Reading Room, Axinn Center
Time:  4:30 PM


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Asaaf Gavron, Israeli author will give a lecture
  The Hilltop Settlement: A Perspective of an Israeli author
Robert A. Jones House, 2nd floor
Time: 4:30 PM


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Jonathan Price, Tel Aviv University
"Time", "Cause" and Meaning in Greek and Jewish Historical Writing
Axinn 229
4:30 PM


Thursday, October 30-Saturday, November 1, 2014

Title: Mendel Inc.
Venue: Seeler theater in Mahaney Center for the Arts
Time: 7:30 PM (all performances)


Friday, October 31, 2014

Tamir Sorek, University of Florida
IGS colloquium, "Why is there no Palestinian flag in the stadium? Soccer and Identity among Arab citizens of Israel"

Robert A. Jones House, 2nd floor
12:15 PM


November 4, 2014

Sammy Smooha, Haifa University
  How Western is Israel?
Venue: Robert A. Jones House, 2nd floor
Time: 4:30 PM


Tuesday, February 24, 2015
David Freidenreich,
Colby college
tle: Muslims Killed Chris?t; A Preposterous Medieval Allegation and its Implications
Venue:  Mccardel  Bicentennial Hall (MBH) 220
Time: 4:30 PM


Thursday, March 12, 2015
Hannah A. Quint lecture
Maud Mandel,
Brown University
Title: Muslims and Jews in France:  History of a Conflict
Venue:  McCardell Bicentennial Hall (MBH) 220
Time: 4:30 PM



Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 7:30 PM

Screening and Discussion: “Little Jerusalem: Burlington’s Jewish Community”

When, in the late 19th century, many Eastern European Jews sought freedom in North America, a core of immigrants from neighboring rural villages, or shtetls, in Lithuania made their way to Burlington, then a bustling lumber port. "Little Jerusalem" became a thriving, traditional Jewish community in Burlington's Old North End from the late 1800s until World War II, and vestiges of its heritage still remain today. Vermont Public Television's Little Jerusalem captures the rich history of this community in archival images and interviews with historians and descendants of the original settlers. Many of the first inhabitants worked as peddlers, eventually populating the neighborhood with a variety of shops that included bakeries, butcher shops, groceries and general stores. They built three synagogues, two of which continue to serve residents today. Here is their story - a story that has left a lasting cultural impact on the city and comprises an important chapter in Burlington's early development.

“Little Jerusalem” has just received the 2013 Richard O. Hathaway Award of the Vermont Historical Society.  The award recognizes original historical research that illuminates an important subject hitherto unexplored.

Discussion to follow with Dorothy Dickie, Senior Producer, Vermont Public Television, and Middlebury faculty.                        

Sunderland Language Center, Room 110

Sponsored by the Program in Jewish Studies and Vermont Public Television


Monday, October 28, 2013 at 4:30 PM

“ Jewish Education in Ottoman Beirut: The Case of the Tif’eret Israel School, Al-Madrasa al-wataniyya al-Isra’iliyya”

The case of Tiferet Israel, a Jewish school that was founded in Beirut in 1874, falls within the broader subject of the modernization of Jewish education (and generally, Jewish life) in the Middle East in the late Ottoman period. Dr. Levi will speak about this unique school, the reasons for its founding, and its relatively short life-span, placing them within context of colonialism in the late 19th century.

Lecture by Tomer Levi, Ph.D.

McCardell Bicentennial Hall 219

Sponsored by the Programs in Jewish Studies and Middle East Studies


Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 7:30 PM

Film Screening, “Fill the Void”

Followed by a discussion with Rabbi Ira Schiffer and Prof. Robert Schine

A devout 18-year-old Israeli is pressured to marry the husband of her late sister. Declaring her independence is not an option in Tel Aviv's ultra-Orthodox Hasidic community, where religious law, tradition and the rabbi's word are absolute.  For more information, see

Twilight Auditorium

Sponsored by the Program in Jewish Studies (Aquinnah Fund) and Hillel


Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, 4:30 PM

On the New American Zionism

Ted Sasson/Middlebury College and Brandeis University

Professor Ted Sasson will speak on his new book The New American Zionism (NYU Press, November 2013). Sasson argues that, at the core, the new relationship between American Jews and Israel is being fundamentally misunderstood. Conflicting viewpoints and strategies regarding the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the Iran deal reflect sharpening polarization in the American Jewish community. But contrary to what many observers have claimed, the fracturing of a unified voice within the Jewish community does not reflect diminished attachment to Israel. Sasson argues that instead we are in the midst of a shift from a "mobilization" approach, which first emerged with the new state and focused on supporting Israel through consensus-oriented, centralized organizations, to an "engagement" approach marked by political pluralism and direct and personal relations with the Jewish state. Ted Sasson is Professor International and Global Studies at Middlebury and Senior Research Scientist, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University.  Sponsored by the Program in Jewish Studies, Dept. of Sociology & Anthropology and the Program in International and Global Studies.

McCardell Bicentennial Hall 219


Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, 8 PM


Middlebury Hillel will sponsor Heartbeat, a musical collective comprised of young Israeli and Palestinian musicians. A Heartbeat performance is much more than simply a concert. In addition to performing original music, the musicians offer personal accounts of their experiences working cooperatively as Israeli and Palestinian teenagers, while also acknowledging the pain and struggles dividing their societies. The group’s music is both high-energy and constructive, appealing to a young audience while also promoting mutual understanding. Here is a video illustrating the enthusiastic atmosphere of a typical Heartbeat performance. 

Heartbeat’s performance is unique opportunity to bring a cooperative tone to the ongoing campus dialogue surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, and the event has already sparked high interest among students.

McCullough Social Space

Co-sponsored by the MCAB Concerts Committee, J Street U, Arabesque, the Islamic Student Society, Wonnacott Commons, the Arabic Department, and Hillel and the program in Jewish Studies (Aquinnah Fund)


Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 4:30 PM

"The Ambiguity of Virtue:  gertrude van Tijn and the Fate of the Dutch Jews"

Bernard Wasserstein/University of Chicago

Professor Bernard Wasserstein, Univeristy of Chicago, will speak on his new book, The Ambiguity of Virtue: Gertrude van Tijn and the Fate of the Dutch Jews.                                                                  

The book touches on some of the central moral-historical issues of the twentieth century. Gertrude van Tijn was a German-born social worker who served from 1933 to 1941 as secretary of the Amsterdam Jewish Refugees Committee. From 1941 to 1943 she headed the emigration department of the Nazi-appointed Jewish Council in Amsterdam. In May 1941, with Nazi approval, she flew from Amsterdam to Lisbon in an attempt to negotiate the departure from occupied Europe of large numbers of German and Dutch Jews. She then courageously returned to Holland where she continued her work until her arrest, with other leaders of the Jewish Council, in September 1943.

The Ambiguity of Virtue tells the story of Van Tijn's efforts to organize Jewish emigration from Nazi territory. The book discusses the methods that she deployed, while facing difficult moral choices, to enable thousands of Jews to escape with their lives. Some called her a heroine; others denounced her as a collaborator. The lecture will raise crucial questions about German policy towards the Jews, about Jewish reactions to the Nazi menace, and about Dutch, American and British responses to the genocide of the Jews.  In part, Wasserstein’s intent is to rebut the simplistic picture of the Jewish councils presented in Hannah Arendt's still-influential Eichmann in Jerusalem, seeking to understand van Tijn’s conduct and objectives in the context of the time, and to reach a balanced view of the 'ambiguity of virtue.'  Sponsored by the Program in Jewish Studies and the Department of History.

McCardell Bicentennial Hall 220


April 27, 2014, 7:30 PM

The Hannah A. Quint Lectureship in Jewish Studies

Neo-Hasidism: Origins and Prospects

Rabbi Art Green/Rector, Hebrew College

Rabbi Art Green, theologian and historian of Jewish religion, is the Irving Brudnick Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Hebrew College in Newton, Massachusetts.  He was also the founding dean of the Rabbinical School there and now serves as its rector. He has taught Jewish mysticism, Hasidism and theology to several generations of students at the University of Pennsylvania; the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, where he served as both dean and president; Brandeis University; and Hebrew College. He remains a leading independent figure in the Jewish renewal movement. He is the author or editor of more than a dozen books; the most recent are Radical Judaism (Yale Univ. Press, 2010) and Speaking Torah: Spiritual Teachings From Around the Maggid's Table (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2013).   This is the 26th Annual Hannah A. Quint Lecture in Jewish Studies, sponsored by the Religion Department and the Program in Jewish Studies. 

Sponsored by the Hannah A. Quint Lectureship in Jewish Studies  and the Department of Religion

McCardell Bicentennial Hall 216




Monday, October 22, 2012 at 4:30 PM

“The Kabbalah of Poetry, The Poetry of Kabbalah”

Reading and lecture by Peter Cole

Peter Cole, poet, translator, scholar and MacArthur Fellow, will speak on and read from his new book, The Poetry of Kabbalah (Yale University Press, 2012), seeking the connection between poetic creation and mystical experience.  Booklist has praised this latest work of Cole's as "a dazzling treasury of verse spanning more than 1,500 years and accompanied by fascinating, illuminating commentary rich in history, biography, and literary expertise."  A book-signing will follow.  For further information:

Abernethy Room

Axinn Center at Starr Library

Sponsored by the Program in Jewish Studies (Aquinnah Fund), the Department of Religion and the Department of English and American Literature


Monday, November 12th, 7:30 p.m.

Screening and discussion with Toby Perl Freilich, director of the documentary

“Inventing Our Life: The Kibbutz Experiment.”

“Inventing Our Life” opened in New York in April 2012. Set against the backdrop of the glorious 100-year history of the Kibbutz, the film reveals the heartbreak and hope of Israel's modern kibbutz movement as a new generation struggles to ensure its survival. Can a radically socialist institution survive a new capitalist reality? How will painful reforms affect those who still believe in the kibbutz experiment, and continue to call it home? For more information see:

Axinn Center at Starr Library

Room 232

Sponsored by the Program in Jewish Studies (Aquinnah Fund) the Rohatyn Center for International Affairs, the Middle East Studies Program, and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology


Thursday, November 29, 2012, 4:30 p.m.

Postponed due to Hurricane Sandy

"Job through the Eyes of Artists"

Professor Choon Leong Seow, Princeton Theological Seminary

Professor Seow is the Henry Snyder Gehman Professor of Old Testament Language and Literature at Princeton Theological Seminary. Among other books and articles, Seow has written commentaries on the biblical books of Daniel, Ecclesiastes, and Kings. His commentary on the book of Job is also due to be published on October 31st, and is distinctive in the attention Seow gives to the interpretation of Job not only in commentaries, but also in literature, the visual arts and music.

 McCardell Bicentennial Hall 220

Sponsored by the First Year Seminar Program, the Program in Jewish Studies, the Religion Department, and the Department of the History of Art and Architecture.


 Sunday, April 14, 2013, 1-6 pm

The Hannah A. Quint Lectureship in Jewish Studies

25th Anniversary Symposium:

“The Jews in America: Past and Future”

McCardell Bicentennial Hall 216

Program in Jewish Studies

Munroe Hall 
427 College St.
Middlebury College

MiddleburyVT 05753