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Fall 2019

  • Tuesday, August 20, 6:30 pm: Jewish Studies Book Club: The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish.  Henry Madden 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. Henry Madden 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

Spring 2019

•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,” Henry Madden Library Rm. 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,” Henry Madden Library Rm. 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,” Henry Madden 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.

Fall 2018

•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, Henry Madden 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

Spring 2018

•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 Follyon 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).

Fall 2017

•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.

Spring 2017

•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 pmGloria 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.

Fall 2016

•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.

Spring 2016

•Thurs., February 4, 11 am David MyersSady 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.

Fall 2015

 •Thursday, October 29, 5 pmAnat 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 pmBradley 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.

Spring 2015

Fall 2014

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.