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"The Jews in America at 350 Years" to be topic of symposium Nov. 13

October 31, 2004

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-Middlebury College will host a symposium titled "The Jews in America at 350 Years" from 2-5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13.  The event, the seventh Silberman Symposium in Jewish Studies, is part of a celebration for Middlebury's chapter of the Jewish campus organization Hillel, which is marking its 50th anniversary this year.  The symposium is free and open to the public, and will take place in the Robert A. Jones House conference room on Hillcrest Road off College Street (Route 125). 

The symposium will consist of a keynote lecture followed by a panel session, each of which will conclude with an open discussion period.  Samuel C. Heilman, the Harold Proshansky Professor in Jewish Studies and Sociology at the City University of New York, will give the keynote lecture titled "The Vanishing Center: American Judaism Present and Future."

Three speakers and a moderator from the Middlebury faculty will serve on the panel, which will begin at 4 p.m.  Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology Theodore Sasson will begin the panel with a talk on "A Jewish and Democratic State? How American Jews Discuss Israel's Identity Dilemma."  Robert Cohen, associate professor of English and creative writing, will give a lecture on "Living, Loving, Temple-Going" and Robert S. Schine, Curt C. and Else Silberman Professor in Jewish Studies, will discuss "Jewish Thought for American Jews: Rereading Mordechai Kaplan."  Laura Lieber, assistant professor of religion and classics, will serve as moderator of the concluding discussion.

Silberman Symposium

The Silberman Symposium is supported by the fund for the Curt C. and Else Silberman Chair in Jewish Studies.  Establishing the fund in 1994, Curt Silberman said, "Our intention is not to sponsor a chair for Jewish students and Jewish studies per se.  What is intended is the creation of a forum for students of all creeds and religions and even nonbelievers, which would become at the same time a kind of community forum with scholars, professors, lecturers and citizens at large as participants."  Its goal is universal: to contribute "toward better understanding of each other."  Else Silberman passed away in 2001 and her husband Curt Silberman in 2002.  

For more information, contact the Middlebury College Department of Religion at 802-443-5289.

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