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Jewish Heritage Around the World

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Join CWB scholar Avi Ben-Hur on a fascinating look at Jewish heritage in six different countries across Europe and North Africa. We will dedicate two weekly sessions to each country in this twelve-week series. Read about each of the countries below.

Jewish Heritage Around the World:

Greece: Greek Jews? Huh? Well, actually yes. One could make the argument that the oldest Jewish community in Europe was established in Greece, already during the Second Temple period. Although decimated by the Holocaust, the present day Jewish community has a vibrant Jewish (and a strong Greek) identity and is struggling to survive (demographically). This seminar will briefly examine the trajectory of Jewish heritage in Greece from antiquity through the Holocaust to the present.

Poland: On the eve of WWII, Polish Jewry numbering over 3 million people was one of the epicenters of Jewish civilization. Today, there are less than 30,000 Poles who self-identify as Jews. We will briefly outline the primary junctures of Jewish history and life in both pre- & post-WWII Poland while also trying to understand where things stand for Jewish life there today.

Germany: The German-Jewish epoch lasted from the 1740s till 1933. Within that period German Jews rose from the margins of society to the very heart of Germany’s economic, cultural, academic and even political activity. This seminar will highlight the highs and lows of the German-Jewish experience up until Hitler’s rise to power. We will also attempt to examine the situation in Germany today.

Spain: “In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue”. In the same year the last Spanish Jew was asked “to turn out the lights and not let the door hit him in his rear-end on his way out”. And so it seemed that a thousand years of Jewish creativity in the Iberian peninsula came to an end. Actually, the story didn’t end then as so called “Conversos” or “Marranos” or “Crypto-Jews” continued to be harassed, condemned, abused and executed for the next 250 years. Our seminar will observe the contributions of Spanish Jewry, their rise and fall and what the future might hold for the renaissance of Jewish
life in Iberia.

Italy: After Greece, Italy might be able to lay claim for Jewish longevity in Europe. The present day Roman Jews claim that they are the only “true” Romans! The term “ghetto” was coined in Italy, but Italian Jewry fared much better than almost all other Jews living either under Nazi Occupation or under a fascist axis regime during WWII. We aim to unwrap the story of Italian Jewry, particularly in modern times.

Morocco: Jews have lived in Morocco for at least 2000 years, although the modern community is composed of descendants from antiquity, Sephardic Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition and local Berbers who converted. The largest Jewish community in the Middle East during the first half of the 20th century, Moroccan Jewry left the country in three directions in the 1950s and 1960s; to Israel (the majority), France and North America. Today Morocco bemoans the loss of this essential addition to its culture. We will investigate the heritage of this particular Jewish civilization from the Middle Ages till today.

Series Schedule (all sessions are Tuesdays at 2 pm Eastern Time):
October 6 and 13: Greece
October 20 and 27: Poland
November 3 and 10: Germany
November 17 and 24: Spain
December 1 and 8: Italy
December 15 and 22: Morocco

Avi Ben-Hur

A Brooklyn native, Avi moved to Israel in 1983. Currently, he is on the faculty of the University of Haifa Tourism School, an examiner for the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, and the Director of Education of Classrooms Without Borders.

An eclectic Israeli educator specializing in Land of Israel studies, the history of Jerusalem, the Arab-Israeli conflict and Holocaust studies, Avi’s expertise is in integrating ideas and knowledge from various disciplines into a comprehensive and coherent narrative.

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Jewish Heritage Around the World series with CWB scholar Avi Ben-Hur

Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 @ 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 2:00 PM on Tuesday, repeating until Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020


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