Eastern Cultural Exhibition
Professor Rawia Azzahrawi

Please come out and experience the diverse cultures offered by the regions of the Middle East, South East Asia and North Africa from the comfort of your own campus. Come learn and prctice reading and writing in Arabic while also discovering the variety and diversity that this language encompasses. Be prepared for hands-on experience in learning how to write the Arabic alphabet, simple words and phrases, as well as your own name. A variety of Eastern Cultures will present their history, traditions and food.

Performances will be made by Peaceful Village students such as:
Djembe Drumming
Hip Hop Dance
Nepali Dance
Syrian Dabkaa

University of Manitoba - Fort Garry - University Centre
Multipurpose Room, Second Floor
Friday, March 17, 2017
10:00am - 3:00pm

Eastern Cultural Exhibition


Professor Rina Lapidus, Bar-Ilan Unicweaity, Israel - "The Russian-Jewish Female Spirit: Jewish Women Writers in the Soviet Union"

Rina Lapidus is a full teaching Professor at the department of Comparative Literature, Bar-Ilan University, Israel. Her research interests include nineteenth- and twentieth-century Hebrew literature, Jewish-Russian literature, and Russian literature. Her studies have appeared in Hebrew in Israel, in English in England and the United States, and in Russian in Russia. Her most important monographs are The Essay in Hebrew Literature; Between Snow and Desert Heat: Russian Influences on Hebrew Literature, 1870-1970; Passion, Humiliation, Revenge: Hatred in Man-Woman Relationships in the 19th and 20th Century Russian Novel; Jewish Women Writers in the Soviet Union; and Young Jewish Poets Who Fell as Soviet Soldiers in the Second World War. Lapidus has published six edited volumes and dozens of academic articles.

University of Manitoba - Fort Garry - Tier Building
173 Dafoe Road
Winnipeg, MB
Room: 409 - Institute for the Humanities Boardroom
1:00pm - 2:30pm

For a description of the talk, please follow the link below.

Mr. Scott Shay - "The U.S. Mortgage Mess and the Great Recession: a Perspective from Jewish Scriptural and Talmudic Texts"

Mr. Scott Shay is a distinguished speaker this year for the Judaic Studies annual lectureship on March 11, 2016. His achievements, not only in the Jewish community but the larger world is astonishing. He is chairman of the board of directors of Signature Bank (NYC) since its inception. As the bank's founder in 2001, he has overseen its assets grow to $20 billion since then.
He also is the author a fantastic book on saving North American Jewry "Getting Our Groove Back: How to Energize American Jewry". In it, he suggests a "business plan" to re-invigorate American Jewry as a whole, which includes the same kinds of challenges that exist here in Canada.

As both a successful businessman and writer about the survival tactics of Jewish communities in North America, he will be able to speak on both types of issues.

He has also been an outspoken advocate of inter-faith relations and has worked with the Catholic Church of New York City.

Here is a recent video interview on him

and his LinkedIn webpage

Circumcision: The western world's 200 year debate

A talk by Dr. David Koffman, Assistant Professor , Department of History, York University

Date: Friday, September 19, 2014
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 pm
Location: 409 Tier Building 

David S. Koffman is an assistant professor in the Department of History at York University in Toronto where he teaches the modern Jewish experience, and American religious history. His PhD dissertation (NYU, 2011), about encounters between Jews and Native Americans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, won the Salo Wittmayer Baron Award for Best Dissertation in Jewish History in the Americas (2009-2012). He held a SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Toronto. He has published work on Jewish Indian-curio traders, and on the field of Canadian Jewish Studies. He is the co-editor of the journal Canadian Jewish Studies.

Circumcision of infant males in modern Western countries has generated an enormous amount of fiery controversy. Associations of medical professionals, psychologists, public health experts, and a host of citizen groups have organized to both defend and condemn the practice and the medical establishment that has made it routine. It has been studied by physicians, theologians, ethnologists, students of government, sexuality and psychology. Where there are heated social debates, there are simmering cultural anxieties beneath. And wherever broadly shared anxiety is evident, rich history can be told. This talk analyzes the perennial but shifting debates around ethics, public hygiene, religious tolerance, and sexuality that have, in different times and for different reasons, focused on this highly charged and somewhat taboo “site” (more accurately a non-site, the absent foreskin). Unwittingly, Jews appeared in nearly every turn in circumcision’s social history over the last century. What appears to be clear-cut – the surgical removal of the foreskin – is in fact a shifting field of contested meanings.

 Globalised Holocaust: Between universal values and particular memory politics

A talk by Prof. Alejandro Baer, Director, Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, University of Minnesota

Date: Friday, February 28th, 2014
Time: 12:00-1:30 pm
Location: Cross Common Room, St. John’s College Room 108, Fort Garry Campus, University of Manitoba

The Holocaust is now remembered beyond the ethnic boundaries of Jewish communities and the nations that were originally responsible for perpetrating it, in part due to wider shifts from national to cosmopolitan memory cultures. Such shifts raise many questions for the interpretation of the genocide of the Jews, notably concerning its actualization and contextualization in the history of war, oppression and large-scale political violence in different countries. This lecture will present material from an ongoing international study of Holocaust commemoration ceremonies, with a special focus on Spain, a country still confronting the ghosts of its own past. The Spanish case opens the door to more general reflections on ongoing tensions between particular and universal readings of genocidal violence, as well as emerging patterns of social memory no longer bound to specific places, nations or cultures.

Presented by Judaic Studies Program, Department of English, Film, and Theatre, Department of Sociology, and Department of History at the University of Manitoba in cooperation with Limmud Winnipeg

This presentation was made possible with the generous support of the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, University of Manitoba, and the Marion Bookbinder Fund of the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba.

See for Professor Baer’s workshops at Limmud Winnipeg (Jewish Learnfest)

Two Talks on Sexuality in Jewish Texts and Life
by Rabbi Steven Greenberg 
Date:  Friday, March 1, 2013
Time: 10:30-11:20 am
Location: 237 University College

The Smelly Drop: Sexuality in Biblical and Rabbinic Judaism

No religion can begin its work of making sense of being human without addressing the two mysteries of life, sex and death. The rabbis of antiquity instruct us to know from where we have come and to where we are going.  The answer: a smelly drop and decay and worms.  This gritty answer to the twin mysteries of our coming into and out of being set the stage for an exploration of the meanings of sexuality in religion.  Rabbi Greenberg will explore the unique approach to sex and sexuality found in the Bible and particularly in its rabbinic interpreters as a way to opening up the larger question of religion and sexuality.  

Date:  Friday, March 1, 2013
Time: 1:30-3:00 pm
Location: 409 Tier Building

Six Queer Heros and Scoundrels: The Toleration of Deviance in Traditional Culture

Same-sex love, while mostly hidden and formally decried, finds surprising expression in Jewish poetry, prose and case law. The evidence reveals a sliver of life, despite the well known prohibition, that has been all but erased from historical memory. We will look at these expressions of queer love and consider the relationship between accepted sexual mores in the sacred texts and legal cannons on the one hand, and real lives of people on the other.

Rabbi Steven Greenberg received his B.A. in philosophy from Yeshiva University and his rabbinical ordination from Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Since 1985 Steve has served as a senior educator for CLAL, a think tank, leadership training institute and resource center dedicated to building a Jewish life that is spiritually vibrant and engaged with the intellectual and ethical challenges of the wider world.  He has conducted hundreds of leadership training programs for communal lay and professional leaders of Jewish Federations, synagogues and philanthropic institutions in over fifty cities in North America.  Steve is the author of a book entitled, Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition, which was awarded the Koret Jewish Book Award for Philosophy and Thought.   He is the scholar in residence for two cutting edge organizations, Hazon, a Jewish Environmental organization, and Keshet, an organization dedicated to GLBT inclusion in the larger Jewish community.  Rabbi Greenberg is a co-director of Eshel, a North American organization that works to open the Orthodox community to greater understanding and acceptance of their own students, and teachers, parents, siblings and children, who are LGBT people.

These talks were presented by the Judaic Studies Program, the Department of Religion and the Women's & Gender Studies Program at the University of Manitoba, in cooperation with Limmud Winnipeg and with the generous support of the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, University of Manitoba, and the Marion Bookbinder Fund of the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba.

Please see for Rabbi Steven Greenberg’s workshops at Limmud Winnipeg (Jewish Learnfest),  “Adam and Steve, Amy and Eve: Finding a Unique Marital Ritual for Queer Jews,” “Homosexuality and Halakhah,” and “Diaspora Zion,”  March 2-3, 2013, Asper Jewish Community Campus, 123 Doncaster Street.    


Vilne, Vilne: The Image of Vilnius, Lithuania in Yiddish Song and Poetry 
a talk by Dr. Itay Zutra, I. L. Peretz Folk School Yiddish Teaching Fellow, University of Manitoba
Date:  Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Time:  3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Location:  307 Tier Building, Fort Garry Campus 
The city of Vilne, known as the "Jerusalem of Lithuania," was, until the holocaust, a major center for Jewish religious learning and secular culture. This talk will examine two representations of the city in Yiddish poetry: the folksong Vilne, Vilne that was sung in the Vilne ghetto and the long poem Vilne written by Moyshe Kulbak. Both poems were written right before this cultural citadel was annihilated. This discussion will raise questions concerning collective memory, cultural inheritance and creative freedom when facing spiritual and physical destruction. 

Presented by the Judaic Studies Program and the Central and East European Studies (CEES) Program.
A coffee and dessert reception followed the talk and discussion. 

 Moses and Hasidism: Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev on Prophecy and Leadership

A talk by Rabbi Or N. Rose, Hebrew College.

Date:  Friday, March 23, 2012
Time:  1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Location:  The Quiet Room, St. John's College (Room 111) 

Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev (d. 1809) was a leading member of the vanguard of Eastern European Hasidism, helping to create one of the most successful religious and social movements in the history of Judaism.  In honing his vision for Hasidism, the Berditchever (as he is affectionately known among Hasidism), reflected extensively on the role of the Hasidic leader.  Among his most important models was the ancient prophet and leader, Moses--as depicted in the Hebrew Bible and in various post-biblical Jewish sources. To what extent did the biblical prophet serve as a positive role model for  this latter-day mystical sage?  When and why, according to R. Levi Yitzhak, did the ancient Israelite leader falter in his engagement with the Children of Israel?  Join us as we explore how one of the most beloved and influential Hasidic masters interpreted the life and legacy of Moses and thus conceived of Hasidic leadership. 

Rabbi Or N. Rose is the founding Director of the Center for Global Judaism at Hebrew College. Rabbi Rose is the author or editor of several articles and books on Jewish spirituality, inter-religious cooperation, and social justice.  He recently co-edited Jewish Mysticism and the Spiritual Life: Classical Texts, Contemporary Reflections (Jewish Lights), and the forthcoming My Neighbor's Faith: Stories of Inter-Religious Encounter, Growth, and Transformation (Orbis, April 2012).  He was selected as a member of the Shalom Hartman Institute's North American Scholar's Circle (2009). 

Women in Orthodox Judaism: The Struggle between Equality and Role Differentiation
A talk by Rabbi Saul J. Berman, Stern College and Columbia University.

Date:  Monday, February 27, 2012
Time:  10:00 AM
Location:  409 Tier Bldg, Institute for the Humanities 
In this talk, Rabbi Berman examined the tensions between the value of equality and the social virtue of sharp role differentiation in traditional Jewish law and culture. These tensions are currently playing a powerful role in the adaptation and integration of Orthodox Jewry into modernity in Israel and in the Western world.

Rabbi Saul J. Berman is a leading Orthodox teacher and thinker. As a Rabbi, a scholar, and an educator, he has made extensive contributions to the intensification of women's Jewish education, to the role of social ethics in synagogue life, and to the understanding of the applicability of Jewish law to contemporary society.

Rabbi Berman was ordained at Yeshiva University, from which he also received his B.A. and his M.H.L. He completed a degree in law, a J.D., at New York University, and an M.A. in Political Science at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1971, Rabbi Berman was appointed Chairman of the Department of Judaic Studies of Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University. Under his leadership over the next thirteen years, it grew into the largest undergraduate Department of Jewish Studies in the United States. Focused on the study of original texts and the acquisition of independent learning skills by women, the program at Stern College impacted on Yeshiva High School education as well as the surge of Yeshivot in Israel serving American women students.

After serving as Senior Rabbi of Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan from 1984 on, Rabbi Berman returned to academic life in 1990. He holds appointments as Associate Professor of Jewish Studies at Stern College and as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University School of Law.  Rabbi Berman is a contributor to the Encyclopedia Judaica and is the author of numerous articles which have been published in journals such as Tradition, Judaism, Journal of Jewish Studies, Dinei Yisrael, and many others. His writings on the subject of women in halachah and on issues of halachah and comtemporary society have often been reprinted.

This talk was presented by the Judaic Studies Program and the Department of Religion of the University of Manitoba in cooperation with Herzlia-Adas Yeshurun Synagogue and Limmud Winnipeg. It was made possible with the generous support of the the Marion Bookbinder Fund of the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba.

  Rescuing Children from Nazi Germany: New Perspectives on the Kindertransport 

A talk by Dr. Vera Fast, PhD, University of University, Independent Researcher

Date:  Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Time:  1:30 PM
Location:  409 Tier Building
As the Second World War loomed on the horizon, British relief agencies rushed to save as many Jewish children as possible from Nazi occupied territories. Through the unprecedented cooperation of religious and secular organizations, approximately 10,000 children were brought to Britain on the Kindertransports. These children were placed in any homes available, both Jewish and non-Jewish, to the great consternation of the Orthodox Jewish community.  The papers of Rabbi Dr Solomon Schonfeld provide an insight into the Orthodox response, while those of Bishop George Bell of Chichester document the Judeo-Christian experience, a largely unknown aspect of the refugee children's movement.  The Kindertransport story might well have ended with the arrival of the last children from the Netherlands, except for Rabbi Schonfeld who continued to use the term "children's transports" to describe th evacuation to the UK of several hundred children who had survived the Holocaust in hiding or in concentration camps. His controversial and sometimes dramatic methods of locating these youngsters before the arrival of any Zionist or secular organizations, is a fascinating story in itself. Needless to say, his papers are pivotal to an understanding of the friction generated within the larger refugee community and especially between Rabbi Schonfeld and the Central British Fund (now World Jewish Relief) and the Board of British Jews.
Dr. Vera Fast received her PhD from the University of Manitoba with a dissertation in Canadian history.  She lectured briefly at the UofM Department for History and then pursued a career as an archivist at the Provincial Archives of Manitoba from which she since retired.  Dr. Fast has authored, edited and co-authored several books and numerous juried articles, including Companions of the Peace: Diaries  and Letters of Monica Storrs, 1931-1939 (University of Toronto Press) and "The Labor Church in Winnipeg" in D. Butcher et al., Prairie Spirit (University of Manitoba Press). 

Co-sponsored by the Judaic Studies Program and CISA - Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism.

 A talk, and an Awards Ceremony

Date:  Thursday, October 27, 2011
Time:  10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Location:  409 Tier 

10:00 - 11:30 am
A talk by Professor Haskel J. Greenfield, Department of Anthropology
Searching for Goliath: Recent Excavations at Tel Es-Safi (Ancient Gath), Israel
Over the past years, archaeological research in Israel has uncovered dramatic evidence for the Philistines during the time of the ancient Israelites. This talk will present the results of recent excavations at the archaeological site of Tel es-Safi that demonstrate that this is the ancient Philistine city of Gath, hometown of Goliath.

11:30 Judaic Studies Student Awards Ceremony

12:00-1:00 A light lunch served

This event co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology.

 Jewish Studies Day - Winter 2011 

Date:  Monday, April 4, 2011
Time:  10:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Location:  409 Tier Bldg

Two talks on Maimonides and on German-Jewish history presented by the Judaic Studies Program, the Jewish Studies Research Circle, and the Department of History:
10:30 am -12:00 pm
Maimonides: Theology, Philosophy, and Medicine in Medieval Spain and North Africa
by Professor Dr. Gerhard Baader, Institute for the History of Medicine in Berlin. 

Maimonides is known to us mostly as theologian and philosopher.  He gained fame for systematizing Halakhah (Jewish law) in his groundbreaking Mishneh Torah, while he reconciled Jewish religious thought with Aristotelian philosophy in his Moreh Nebukhim (Guide for the Perplexed) and in other philosophical texts.  However, this synthesis of rabbinic Judaism and Aristotelian concepts of God, the universe and the true destiny of mankind found also expression in his medical writings. From 1167 on, Maimonides served as the resident physician of the sultan in Fustat near Cairo, and in his medical texts he expounded on medicine as a practical philosophy. He conceived of illness as an interruption of a natural state rather than divine punishment, and he advocated natural measures to subdue the imbalance. The therapies he promoted aimed at strengthening the patient and thus giving nature the possibility of restoring a person’s health without using radical treatments, such extensive bloodletting.
Maimonides believed that bodily and psychic diseases were related and suggested treating diseases such as asthma, melancholy or hyochondry with dietetic therapies in the broadest sense. He recommended changes in patients’ entire modes of living and in fact suggested the sick study Torah or philosophical tractates as part of their therapy. Such study was designed to strengthen patients’ psychic faculties, to help them overcome psychosomatic diseases and to let them achieve man’s ultimate goal: apprehending God. In general, Maimonides’ therapeutic approach remained bound to the principle of a halakhically oriented Jewish ethics. According to him, the holiness of life obliges the physician to do everything to preserve and to restore a person’s health. Maimonides understood health as the state of psychic and bodily perfection that enables moral completeness. In this sense, the activities of a physician are nothing but acts of religiously framed tiqqun ha-olam (repairing the universe). Thus Maimonides’ approach to therapy integrated medical, halakhic and philosophical dimensions with each other, and he created a framework that until today can offer guidance to Jewish doctors. 

Dr. Baader is professor emeritus at the Institute for the History of Medicine in Berlin, previously Freie Universität Berlin, now affiliated with the Charité University Medicine Berlin. He has worked on the history of medicine in ancient, medieval, and modern times with a current research emphasis on medicine in National Socialism, ethics and medicine, and medicine and Judaism. Professor Baader has also taught at the Hadassah Medical School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 
1:30 - 3:00 pm
Jewishness, Gender, and Embourgeoisement in Nineteenth-Century German-Jewish Family Letters: Social Practice and Symbolic Order
by Dr. Benjamin Baader, History Department, University of Manitoba. 

Dr. Baader presented some of his current research on German-Jewish families’ modes of parenting, courtship, and other practices that men and women used to engineer upward mobility and to refashion their gender and Jewish identities.  He also suggested that applying gender theory methodology opens new avenues for conceiving of the category of Jewish difference.

Dangers of the 'Plain Meaning': Reading the Bible in Medieval Europe

A talk by Professor Martin Lockshin, Department of Humanities,York University. 

Date:  Monday, March 14, 2011
Time:  10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Location:  409 Tier Bldg, UoM Ft. Garry Campus 

From the perspective of the history of Bible interpretation, the twelfth century represents a fascinating anomaly.  Both before and after that century, most of the exegesis of the Bible - written by Jews or by Christians - had overtly religious goals: either to uplift the readers spiritually, to exhort the readers to be better practitioners of their religion, or to prove the truth of the writer’s confession (or the falseness of an opponent’s confession) or some combination of the above.   The interpretive correctness of any commentary was less important than its theological orthodoxy.

In the twelfth century we find a curious development.  A significant number of Jews and a significant number of Christians wrote Bible commentaries whose purpose was simply to comment and to interpret and to explain what the text has to say.   The contemporary reader of such commentaries is sometimes shocked to see what appear to be very “modern” sensibilities of these medieval writers who promoted the “plain” meaning of Scripture, what Jews called peshat and Christians called the sensus littere.

Why did this happen?  And why did it not last?

Dr. Martin Lockshin is Professor at the Department of Humanities of York University.  His primary area of expertise is the history of Jewish biblical interpretation, particularly the interplay between tradition and innovation.  Most of his research has been centred on those medieval biblical commentators who valued tradition intellectually, who lived traditional lives and who still innovated unabashedly in their understanding of the Bible. The largest part of his scholarship has been about Samuel ben Meir (12th century Northern France), a traditionalist Bible commentator with an uncanny knack for offering new understandings of biblical texts—his conclusions are often strikingly similar to the “discoveries” of biblical critics seven or eight hundred years later.  Marty Lockshin has published a 4-volume English annotated translation of Rashbam’s major work and also a 2-volume annotated Hebrew edition.  His interest in biblical interpretation has led him to study Jewish-Christian relations, since Jews and Christians over the ages had both competitive and (at times) cooperative approaches to the study of their sacred Scripture.

Presented by the Judaic Studies Program and the Department of Religion at the University of Manitoba, in  cooperation with Limmud Winnipeg.

For more information on Dr. Lockshin and his publications, see his website here

The Holocaust as Sin: The Ukrainian Archbishop-Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky and the Destruction of the Ukrainian Jews, 1941-43

A talk by John-Paul Himka, Department of History, University of Alberta.

Date:  Thursday, January 27, 2011
Time:  2:30 - 4:00 PM
Location:  409 Tier Bldg. 
Andrei Sheptytsky was the head of the Greek Catholic church in Galicia, a towering figure in twentieth-century Ukrainian history and an ardent supporter of Ukrainian national aspirations. During the German occupation he was horrified by the participation of members of his flock in pogroms and executions of Jews. Particularly shocking to him was that young Ukrainians served the Germans in the Ukrainian auxiliary police, in which capacity they took part in large-scale liquidations of ghettos. Although he had been slow to react to the initial wave of anti-Jewish violence in the summer of 1941, once he fully understood what was afoot, in early 1942, he became almost obsessed with the theme of murder as a sin. His profound thinking on this topic, his outspoken condemnation of participation in the Holocaust, and his measures to change the behavior ofperpetrators form the subject of this presentation.

Presented by the Central and East European Studies and Judaic Studies Programs, the Jewish Studies Research Circle, the UofM Departments of German and Slavic Studies and of History, the Centre for Ukrainian Canadian Studies, and the UofW Department of History.

The Antisemitic Imagination

Date:  January 13, 2011
Time: 2:30 pm
Location: 409 Tier Bldg

In this talk, Dr. Catherine Chatterley presented her postdoctoral research and new book project, entitled A History of the Antisemitic Imagination, which interprets antisemitism as a product of the Christian imagination. Through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the ideology of antisemitism was exported throughout the European imperial world and today we are seeing the global effects of this insidious European export. Dr. Chatterley's talk discussed the unique dynamics that animate antisemitism in its classic and contemporary forms.

A response to Dr. Chatterley's presentation was delivered by
Dr. Lionel Steiman, Senior Scholar, Department of History.

Dr. Catherine Chatterley is a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow at the History Department of the University of Manitoba as well as the Founding Director of the Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism (CISA), based in Winnipeg. A specialist in the history of Antisemitism and the Holocaust, Dr. Chatterley trained as an intellectual historian at the University of Chicago in the fields of modern European and Jewish history. She is author of the monograph Disenchantment: George Steiner and the Meaning of Western Culture After Auschwitz, which will be published this spring by Syracuse University Press in their Religion, Theology, and the Holocaust Series. Currently, Dr. Chatterley is working on her second book, entitled A History of the Antisemitic Imagination.

This event was co-sponsored by Judaic Studies Program, Department of History, and CISA.

Jewish Studies Day - Fall 2010 
Presented by the Jewish Studies Program in cooperation with the Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism and the Institute for the Humanities.

Date: Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Time: 11:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Location: 409 Tier Building, University of Manitoba

11:30-1:00 pm
South Africa, Quebec, and the Rise of Hitler: The Response to Anti-Semitism in Two Different Jewish Communities 
a talk by Samuel Ze'ev Konig, M.A. Carleton University, Director of Hillel Canada

Samuel Ze’ev Konig, Toronto, is the national director of Hillel Canada, which provides resources and support to all Hillels and Jewish Students’ Associations in Canada. Born in Vienna and having grown up in Copenhagen and England, Samuel graduated in 2006 from McGill University with a BA in 2006 in German and Jewish Studies and 2009 from Carleton University with a MA in European and Russian Studies. In his research he specializes on post-WWII European Jewries and on the Jewish political leadership throughout the diaspora in the 20th and 21st century. He is past faculty member of PANIM’s Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values in Washington D.C., and was awarded the Nahum Goldmann Fellowship 2010 by the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture.

2:30-4:00 pm 
Tying the Moon to the Earth: Sacred Teachings in a Mundane Community - The Books and the Followers of the Tosher Rebbe (Boisbriand, Quebec)
a talk by Justin Jaron Lewis, Department of Religion, University of Manitoba

The “Hasidim of the earth” and the “Hasidim of the moon”—these are the witty and evocative terms formulated by Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern to highlight a split within the academic study of Hasidic Judaism: On one side, scholars with a sociological or social-historical perspective, and on the other, intellectual historians working with Hasidic texts. This paper, co-written by textual scholar Justin Jaron Lewis and sociologist William Shaffir, attempts to bridge this gap by exploring the published teachings of the Tosher Rebbe, an important Canadian Hasidic leader today, in the context of his own community’s uses of and responses to his teachings.

A light lunch will be served between the talks 1:00-2:30.

Shaul Magid on Nachman of Bratslav: Charisma and the Holy Man

Date: Thursday, October 14, 2010
Time: 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Location: 409 Tier Building

Professor Shaul Magid will deliver a lecture entitled "Charisma and the Holy Man: Uniqueness, Incarnation, and Sacred Language (Lashon Ha-Kodesh) in Nachman of Bratslav's Self-Fashioning."

Rebbe Nachman
of Bratslav was the founder of the Bratslav movement in Hasidic Judaism and passed away two hundred years ago this fall. A controversial spiritual leader, Rebbe Nachman devoted himself to practical guidance for those struggling with depression, as he himself did. He communed with nature and taught about the aliveness and sanctity of all growing things. He and his disciples created haunting melodies which continue to uplift and inspire. His dreamlike stories are recognized as among the early classics of modern Yiddish literature and are treasured by spiritual seekers today. Rebbe Nachman’s burial place in Uman, Ukraine, has become a place of pilgrimage, where tens of thousands gather each Rosh Hashanah, and Bratslav Hasidism has grown from a small and controversial group to a vital and diverse movement within and beyond traditional Judaism.

Dr. Magid, Chair of Jewish Studies and Religious Studies at Indiana University, is a noted authority on Hasidism and Jewish mysticism, the author of over forty scholarly articles on Jewish thought and many popular essays on Zionism, Israel, and North American Judaism. His books include Hasidism on the Margin and the 2008 American Academy of Religion best book in textual studies, From Theosophy to Midrash: Myth, History, and the Interpretation of Scripture in Lurianic Kabbalah. His forthcoming book is titled Jews and Judaism in Post-Ethnic America: Becoming an American Religion.

Shaul Magid will also speak at Shaarey Zedek synagogue, 561 Willington Crescent, at 7 pm on: "The Life of Rebbe Nachman's Grave: Two Hundred Years of Pilgrimage"

These lectures are co-sponsored by the Dean of Arts and the Arts Endowment Fund, and they are co-organized with Nachmanifest! a community celebration of Rebbe Nachman's life and legacy.

Harlan - In the Shadow of Jew Süss 

Date:  Sunday, March 21, 2010
Time:  7:00 PM
Place:  Berney Theatre, Rady Jewish Community Centre, 123 Doncaster Street, Winnipeg 
Part of the Rady JCC Winnipeg International Jewish Film Festival, March 15-March 27, 2010

This internationally renowned documentary explores Veit Harlan's life and work and shows how his children and grandchildren deal with his legacy.

Presented by: The Judaic Studies Program, UofM; JSA/Hillel; The Jewish Studies Research Circle; The Institute for the Humanities, UofM; The Department for German and Slavic Studies, UofM; The Chair in German-Canadian Studies, UofW; The Winnipeg International Jewish Film Festival

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with:
Benjamin Baader, Department of History and Judaic Studies Program, UofM,
Catherine Chatterley, Department of History, UofM,
Alexander Freund, Department of History and Chair in German-Canadian Studies, UofW. 
Stephan Jaeger, Department of German and Slavic Studies, UofM,
Adam Muller, Department of English, Film, and Theatre, UofM.

The original film, "Jew Süss" by Veit Harlan screened on Sunday March 14, 7:00 pm at U of Winnipeg, Lockhart Hall, Room 1L11, 515 Portage Avenue.


The popular film Jew Süss was commissioned by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels for the express purpose of fuelling German anti-Semitism.  He chose Germany’s most successful film director, Veit Harlan, and gave him carte blanche.  The resulting film delighted Goebbels, who ordered it compulsory viewing for members of the SS and Gestapo.  Viewed by twenty million other Germans as well, and seen by another hundred million viewers elsewhere in Europe - it was shown in occupied countries prior to the mass deportations of their Jews - the film set the tone for the Holocaust.  In 1942 Jew Süss received the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.   After the war it was banned in Germany, and in 1948 its director was charged with crimes against humanity. He insisted that he was neither a Nazi nor an anti-Semite - his first wife, his doctor, and many of his friends were Jews - but that he had no choice but to obey Goebbels. Acquitted twice, Harlan resumed his career making popular romantic films.  He spent his final years in Italy, where he died in 1964.

The documentary Harlan - in the Shadow of Jew Süss, examines the impact of Harlan’s legacy on his children and grandchildren.  Director Felix Moeller uses archival footage and excerpts from Harlan's films and home movies, but his real achievement lies in the artful pacing and interspersing of these with real-time interviews.  Only gradually do all the pieces come together forming a whole picture, that of a fragmented family and a pervasive sense of alienation.  Moeller enhances this sense by including significant but obscure details.  Thus, one of the grandchildren interviewed is thoroughly French and another equally Italian.  Details such as these artfully highlight the fragmentation and alienation that are Harlan’s legacy.

Moeller explores questions of guilt and filial devotion while keeping his focus squarely on Harlan's contributory role in the Holocaust.  Two daughters attempted to atone for their father by marrying Jewish husbands whose families had perished.  One marriage was messy but brief; the other ended upon the early death of the husband, whose widow eventually committed suicide. One son became a producer of children’s films and devoted his spare time to opposing the storage of nuclear waste, which he regards as a “crime against humanity.”  His older half-brother tried in vain to force their father to confront his deeds, while spending his own life trying to atone for them.  His considerable efforts toward exposing Nazi crimes and bringing perpetrators to justice were never approved or appreciated by his siblings.  A cousin, widow of legendary Jewish American film maker Stanley Kubrick, comments that her cousin ruined his life trying to repair what his father had destroyed.  But Kubrick himself, she recalls, wondered how he might have acted had he been in the shoes of his father-in-law.  The other Harlan siblings are clearly troubled by their father’s past and deplore his moral compromises, but offer rationalizations or insist that a family matter like this should not be aired in public.  Three of Harlan’s grandchildren, interviewed during their visit to a museum exhibit on Jew Süss, found the film “cheesy and banal”; they could not understand why there was such a fuss about it or why it was banned for so long.   A cousin in Paris states simply that she knows her German grandparents were Nazis—“period.”  She wanted no explanations; but it hurt, and she felt ashamed.  For her half-Jewish cousin the world had always been divided between perpetrators and victims: she had grown up in the knowledge that one grandfather had grown rich making propaganda for the destruction of the other, a decorated German veteran deported to Minsk and murdered there by the Nazis.  Her take on Harlan is unequivocal: he’d had a problem with Jews and everything Jewish ever since his Jewish first wife left him.  To her uncle such an explanation is too simple: “the truth”, he says, is that “the non-anti-Semite was the best man to sharpen the knives.”

"Between Science and Magic: Practical Kabbalah, Natural Medicine, and Polish Pharmacies"
A talk by Dr. Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, Director of Jewish Studies, Professor of History, Northwestern University

Date: Tuesday, March 9th, 2010
Time: 2:30-4:00 pm
Place: 409 Tier Bldg, UofM

Viewed as mystical-minded early modern shamans, the 17th-18th century ba'alei shem (wandering practical Kabbalists) attended to Ukrainians, Jews, and members of the Polish szlachta. They utilized the names of God and angels and the names of Satan and evil spirits seeking to restore social order or provide personal security. They mediated between empirical reality and divine realms, this world and netherworld, spirits and living beings, employing both magic remedies and mystical devices, popular Kabbalah, local folk herbal remedies and traditional Hebrew acronyms, encrypted Biblical verses and amulets. They also resorted to the cutting edge devices of the contemporary Polish natural medicine based on the alchemy of Paracelsus and centered in the local East European pharmacies. Explore how and why mystics, magicians, and Kabbalists turned out to be the harbingers of the early modern medical knowledge.

Presented by the Judaic Studies Program, Jewish Studies Research Circle, Institute for the Humanities, Histories of the Body Research Group, Department of History, Department of German & Slavic Studies and Department of Religion. 

The Knife Sharpener's Bell
A talk by Professor Rhea Tregebov, Creative Writing Program, University of British Columbia

Date: Thursday, January 28, 2010
Time: 2:30-4:00 pm
Place: 409 Tier Bldg, UofM

Rhea Tregebov discusses her new novel which follows the odyssey of Annette Gershon who is taken as a child on a reverse immigration from Depression-era Winnipeg to Soviet Odessa and then, when war threatens, to Moscow. The story continues in post-war Moscow where Annette as a young woman is caught up in an early dissident movement against Stalinism.

Presented by the Judaic Studies Program, Jewish Studies Research Circle, Institute for the Humanities, Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture, Department of English, Film, and Theatre, and Department of History.

Visit Professor Tregebov's website:
Read The Globe and Mail's book review:  

Winnipeg Jewish Book Fair
December 6-13, 2009
Winnipeg book launch of Imagining Holiness by Justin Jaron Lewis

Date: Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Time: 7:00 pm
Place: Rady Centre - 123 Doncaster Street, Winnipeg, MB

This book grew out of my enchantment with hasidic stories-though it also engages with stories I find harsh and difficult.  It is part of an ongoing conversation about Hasidism and its tales, carried on among scholars, storytellers and hasidim themselves.  Each new study of the topic takes a different approach, deepening our understanding, yet there is always more to be said.

"History of a History:  The Story Behind None Is Too Many"
A talk by Professor Harold Troper, OISE/University of Toronto

Date:  Monday, November 9, 2009
Time:  2:30-4:00 pm
Place: 409 Tier Bldg, UofM

Co-authored by Professor Harold and Irving Abella in 1983, None Is Too Many exposed the callousness of the Canadian government toward Jews fleeing the Nazis.  In his presentation, Professor Troper will talk about the unexpected influence and impact of the book. 

Seminar on "textual reasoning"
by Dr. Peter Ochs, Edgar Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies, University of Virginia

Date:  Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Time:  1:30-3:00 pm
Place:  409 Tier Bldg, UofM

Dr. Peter Ochs is a significant figure in contemporary Jewish thought, a founder of both the Society for Textual Reasoning - a network of Jewish thinkers interested in dialogue rooted in cotemporary philosophy and classical Jewish texts - and the Society for Scriptural Reasoning, which promotes text study as an ecumenical practice.

J.J. Thiessen Lecture Series - Oct. 20-21, 2009
Dr. Peter Ochs
, Edgar Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies, University of Virginia
at Canadian Mennonite University, The Chapel, South Shaftesbury Campus, 600 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB

October 20, 10:30am
"John Howard Yoder's Repair and Not Repair of the Jewish-Christian Schism"

October 20, 7:30pm
"Biblical Israel, Rabbinic Judaism and Sola Scriptura"

October 21, 10:30am
"Abrahamic Scriptural Reasoning and/in the Mennonite World Mission"

October 21, 7:30pm
"The Free Church, Israel, and Islam Today"

"The Jewish Community of Vienna during the Kreisky Era (1970-1983):  Negotiating Identity in the Public Sphere"   
A talk by Samuel Zeev Konig, M.A. Carleton University, Director of National Jewish Campus Life

Date: Thursday, September 24, 2009
Time:  2:30-4:00 pm
Place:  409 Tier Bldg